“When reading Bruno Schulz’s The Street of Crocodiles, I get the sense that a very short movie lives inside each sentence.
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.
“Theodore Weesner’s 1987 novel The True Detective is a book I go back to again and again. The story of a child abduction, seen through the eyes of those closest to the case, it’s got the velocity and compulsion of a thriller and the depth and compassion of a great literary novel.
“When I’m at my most creative, I call it being ‘sticky,’ and almost anything at all can help enrich the work. I’ve found a really simple, effective source of inspiration is to just go outside.
“Whenever I feel that I've lost sight of a story I’m working on, I return to one book in particular: Stuart Dybek’s The Coast of Chicago. I can open this book to almost any page, read a few paragraphs, and be reminded of why I wanted to start writing short stories in the first place.
"One of my enthusiasms of the moment is David Shield's great and overlooked book Enough About You: Notes Toward the New Autobiography, just reissued by Soft Skull Press. Shield's insights about the complex back-and-forth of fiction and fact in literature and our larger culture are remarkable. This new edition is introduced by documentary filmmaker Ross McElwee, so I went back and watched his hilarious and amazing film Bright Leaves. Also, I was surprised recently while rereading Langston Hughes's Best of Simple to see how much my new
“Richard Siken’s Crush illuminates the intersection of passion and violence with perfect clarity.