“I read recently that if you were to add up the combined lengths of rootlets and root hairs of a single rye plant, the resulting length could stretch almost from the North to the South Pole
In this online exclusive we ask authors to share books, art, music, writing prompts, films—anything and everything—that has inspired them in their writing. We see this as a place for writers to turn to for ideas that will help feed their creative process.
“What inspires me? Running. Because there’s nothing like having nothing except your own two feet, the sight of some far off point, and a hard breath to keep you going.
“Place is important to my writing, and one of my best practices is to get in the car and drive.
“When I’m stumped, I often go to the library stacks and look at old science treatises.
“When I push weights around, I push words around. I usually hit the gym in the afternoon, and when I do, I think about the story or chapter I was working on that morning.
“On a narrow strip of cork board, among news clippings and postcards, is a small vellum-colored paper square, printed by the artist Tom Ashcraft, that has inspired me for many years.
“As a rule of comedy combining something cute with something sinister is good for a laugh, and the logic is the same as the real-life behavior
“Rules. I'm a big believer in structure, and the idea that creativity loosens up when constrained a bit.
“Never start writing in a bad mood—makes it too easy to quit before you get going.
“I’ve been reading the journals of Albert Camus since I was thirteen years old and his words have become my most faithful and intimate companions.