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When award-winning artist, illustrator, and designer Wayne Brezinka delivered the unique collages you see on this issue’s cover and in our special section on inspiration, I asked him to explain the thinking behind his work. “Scientifically speaking, inspire means ‘to breathe in, to inhale,’” he replied. “I began to wonder what it might look like once the breath is taken. How might the belief—the idea or inspiration—look once birthed?”
Right away I responded to the riot of colors and shapes blooming from Brezinka’s pages, which to me denotes an appropriately multihued approach to such a complex subject. In addition to the craft essays and advice that readers have come to expect from the magazine, a number of articles in this year’s Inspiration Issue take a decidedly more scientific approach to the topic of creativity than usual. The inspired writer is capable of feats of imaginative genius, yet we typically don’t think about the cerebral cortex or its inner workings when tracing the connections between a finished piece of writing and the sources of that writer’s inspiration. I tend to glaze over when someone starts talking about limbic takeovers, neurological data ports, or mirror neurons, but while reading these articles—by Frank Bures, Arnie Cooper, J. T. Bushnell, and other contributors—I was moved to action by their descriptions and explanations of what’s happening up in the old noggin when I’m writing and on a roll.
Speaking of being moved to action, it’s worth noting that this issue was put together during a period of upheaval at the New York City office of Poets & Writers. The hurricane that in late October killed more than a hundred people on the East Coast, including forty-three here in the city, caused major flooding in lower Manhattan, where our office is located. Fortunately, no staff members were hurt, although one suffered major property damage as a result of the flooding. The office was shut down for over a month, and during that time our writers, editors, and photographers, as well as our art director, copyeditor, and proofreader came together, in a truly inspiring way, to make sure that the job was done and the files were delivered to the printer on time. I can’t thank them enough, nor can I adequately thank you, dear reader—dear writer—for adding to the wellspring of inspiration from which I, and anyone associated with this magazine, can draw strength. It’s a new year. Breathe in. Breathe out. Ready? Let’s go.