Artists need inspiration and sometimes that inspiration is hard to come by. This is a list of things that have inspired me in some way or another in the past year. My hope is that 1) for artists, even one thing on this list helps move you along your creative path 2) for everyone else, that even one thing on this list was previously unknown to you and that you find you also like it.
I’ve organized it into media types: TV, music, books, and video games. Hopefully I’ll have some new favorites to share in a month or two. Thanks for reading!
Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street
This show was recommended to Ashley. I was immediately skeptical, because of the name and because I’m stubborn about recommendations. After the first episode, which involved a frog, a heatwave, a scary (or not) elderly neighbor, and a blindness-causing curse; I was hooked. The three main characters have a very Harry, Ron, and Hermione-esque relationship. They’re immediately loveable and their friendship feels real.
Despite every episode focusing on an unusual event happening on Normal Street, everything feels grounded. It’s funny and heartbreaking. I’m not a crier, but a couple of episode had me sniffling. Plus, if you’re obsessed with canon, continuity, and recurring characters, this show is very satisfying. The writing and acting is great.
And a bonus: Ashley, Logan, and Eli liked it too. That’s rare. Please, please, please try it. It is three seasons and over—very bingable.
Stringspace has a series of videos on YouTube of a string quartet playing familiar (to me) and some unfamiliar songs. The music is really good, and since it’s instrumental, it’s great for creative time. I actually watch a couple of the videos before I start writing to get my mind where it needs to be.
Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ7GVKqY1q0&list=PL10F75379CC07FBDB
KEXP, a Seattle radio station, has a YouTube channel with live, in-studio performances. This is another go-to for me, and like Stringspace, I will watch a little before writing. I have a few favorites including, The Shins, Broken Bells, and Purity Ring.
Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_cUhTMP3wI
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
I have a ton of books I love and that have inspired me, but my most recent read was Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. I knew from the movie, The Secret of NIMH, which I loved as a kid. There’s a knife fight and a rat says ‘damn,’ which I thought was pretty cool.
Turns out, as expected, the book is much better than the movie. Sometimes classics end up disappointing me, but I burned through it in a couple days. As I wrap up my middle grade novel, I’ve been looking to other middle grade books for inspiration.
If you’re a gamer and also stuck in a rut, Stardew is for you. The game finds the main character stuck in an unfulfilling office job, wishing for a change. After his/her (you choose) grandpa passes away, you inherit his farm and leave the city behind.
I’m not usually one for sim-type games, but in January I found myself struggling to get through winter and in a bad place mentally. I hadn’t played any games in months, but I popped the disc in and became obsessed—for better or worse. It was therapeutic in some ways. A day in the game takes about 17 minutes in the real world. In that time, you can take care of animals, plant crops, explore mines, and most importantly, build relationships with the Stardew Valley townsfolk.
I think what I needed from the game was the sense of accomplishment I got at the end of every virtual day. You set out on a task, finish it, go to bed. My ability to finish a task in one real life day needs improvement.
PS. The soundtrack is perfect for writing, studying, thinking, drawing, etc. I actually discovered the game, because the soundtrack popped up in my YouTube feed.
I’ve tried to get into the habit of looking for inspiration no matter where I am or what I am doing, so I have more to share. That being said, it takes a pretty solid attention span to get this far. I’ll save the rest for another post. Happy writing, reading, drawing, painting, studying, etc!