Like for me, even though I'm now writing books for teens, most of my foundational artistic experiences were in theatres. It all started back when my high school did a production of Equus. I had never seen anything like that before. I think I sat there for two solid hours with my jaw hanging open. Next thing you know I was up on the stage myself acting for the first time ever in Arthur Kopit's Indians. Soon I discovered the work of Tennessee Williams and Eugene O'Neill and after that the more contemporary theatre of writers like Jose Rivera, Erik Ehn, Caryl Churchill and Mac Wellman and theatre companies like Pig Iron.
All of this feels relevant even today when my dealings with theater are purely as an audience member. Getting immersed in theatre gave my writing a tendency towards the dramatic (ok, maybe too much of one sometimes) and a love for the interplay of characters and bold language. It also informed my interest in writing about change and transformation.
I figure it's a good idea to look for creative fuel anywhere you can find. Who cares if you write books but draw your inspiration from music or paintings or film? Whatever works, right? And maybe bringing influences in from outside your own genre can help keep your work fresh and distinct.
So I'm curious to hear from you guys, where do you all find artistic inspiration outside of books? Does a particular painter do it for you? A poet or musician or film director? Something else? How did they change what you do?
The Eleventh Plague
Coming from Scholastic, Fall 2011