“I find inspiration and solace in the wise proverbs of my ancestors, the great and noble Bulgarians.
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.
“I am thankful to be surrounded by lovely women—my wife, my three daughters not yet grown
“Who knows what prompts a person to write? Thank the gods it’s mostly a mysterious process. When I sit down and confront the yawning white screen
“Music, of course, starting with late-1960s Bob Seger, but also the alt-country-trance music of Jesse Sykes, and Jon Dee Graham
“Here’s what I believe: The perfect writing you might do lies already waiting for you like a sculpture inside. Your job is to subtract
“I swim. I’m a kid from the mountains of Pennsylvania, so I came to swimming the scrappy way: ponds, lakes, creeks.
“A friend sent me a link to this video of several poets reciting their work at the White House. I’d been meaning to look for it myself, and watch it, but I haven’t yet.
“My scoreboard is my muse. When I was starting out—unpublished—and sending my stories and novels far and wide, I kept a list taped to the wall next to my desk
“I see a pigeon dying on my porch the day before Christmas, deer up to their ears in snow, my father in his last bed, heart and lungs and liver failing
“I like to clear my head as much as possible, usually via actual cleaning. My favorite ideas have originated while folding clothes and scooping up litter.