Just heard a bit of the great writer Stephen King being interviewed on CBC and it reminded me of a book of his that I found very inspirational.
Here it is:
Here's the blurb about it:
In 1999, Stephen King began to write about his craft--and his life. By midyear, a widely reported accident jeopardized the survival of both. And in his months of recovery, the link between writing and living became more crucial than ever.
Rarely has a book on writing been so clear, so useful, and so revealing. On Writing begins with a mesmerizing account of King's childhood and his uncannily early focus on writing to tell a story. A series of vivid memories from adolescence, college, and the struggling years that led up to his first novel, Carrie, will afford readers a fresh and often very funny perspective on the formation of a writer. King next turns to the basic tools of his trade--how to sharpen and multiply them through use, and how the writer must always have them close at hand. He takes the reader through crucial aspects of the writer's art and life, offering practical and inspiring advice on everything from plot and character development to work habits and rejection.
Right, so what does this have to do with music? Well, once you check it out, everything.
For instance, here's a quote from the book, regarding getting input for inspiration.
"If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write."
If we substitute the words "listen" for "read" and "play" for "write" you'll see what I'm getting at. One of the things you realize from reading this book is what a voracious reader King was and is.He's getting input all the time. Same goes for us. If you want to learn how to trade 4s, play Ska, or anything else, you need to listen to someone do it well.
King also talks about inspiration from both sides. He mentions reading stuff that wasn't particularly well written and thinking to himself "I can write as well as that". That's also important for us to realize. There are some people playing that aren't that strong, and that may give us the courage to get out there and start doing it. He also talks about reading great writers like Steinbeck and thinking in that case, "I'll never be able to be able to write anything that great." Same for us musicians. Listening to Coltrane's 60s quartet make us realize how high the bar is, and what we should strive for, even if we don't make it there.
Read this book and you'll realize how the process of imitation and assimilation transcends all art forms. Highly recommended!