J. D. Wilkes Recommends...

“Staying fresh and inspired as a writer can be as simple as hopping in the car, driving around, and maybe even getting into a little adventure. A meaningful moment can be had anywhere if I surround myself with the inspiring beauty of, say, a Kentucky swamp, or by grabbing an earful from the local color at some corner bar. The idea is to stay fascinated with everything—everything in the world. I even let those quiet, philosophical moments seep in too. Random musings. They provide an unexpected foil to my ‘southern gothic’ writing style. Let a chaotic thought disrupt the conventions of your style. Trust yourself by trying your hand at forcing it to work. Look at what Herman Melville did in Moby-Dick. He went from the opening story right into a chapter written like a play. Then he loaded down the middle part with the nonfiction you’d find in an encyclopedia. A million pages later, he finally concluded his storyline. It’s absolutely bonkers! Gonzo even! But it all added up to a masterpiece. As a musician, I’ve allowed a myriad of odd sources to inform my repertoire of ‘riffs’—from birdcalls to the corny, blues guitar licks of beer commercials. I don’t turn my nose up to much because I trust it will all come out interesting and different once filtered through my id. Travel, adventure, chaos, and music. These are fun ways to shake things up and play around with in your mind. Love life and eat it up.”
—J. D. Wilkes, author of The Vine That Ate the South (Two Dollar Radio, 2017)