Waking up to a joke…a song…a story — Bruce Springsteen and Jon Stewart’s take

Sometimes when I am performing, an idea for a new story pokes at me. Sometimes it comes to me in a dream as I sleep and I have to rush to write it down in the notebook beside my bed before it fades. And sometimes the story wakes me up at 4:00 am.

I know I’m not alone in this, but it still is gratifying when the real master folk I admire talk about the same creative process I experience. In Jon Stewart‘s interview of Bruce Springsteen in Rolling Stone, March 29, 2012, Springsteen talks about how when he’s writing an album the urge is like a “visitation”: “the guitar sits at the foot of the bed, you’re up at 4 a.m., you have the book nearby, the tape recorder…” and Stewart responds: “I used to love that feeling, nothing better than waking up to a joke. You wake up and go, “Shit, it’s right there.” It’s great.”

I agree with part of that. I love the compunction, the waking up in the middle of the night with the urge to write—but I don’t usually get that “Shit, it’s right there” feeling. The middle of the night inspiration is the first step of a journey.  It’s pretty rare that the story springs forth fully formed like Athena.

Springsteen again: “If I have an idea, it will come back. What’s happened is it’s percolated up in you and become concrete. Once it’s grown, it’s there.” (“percolating”—that word works for me to, stories percolating)

Coming here soon: Watanabe Tsuna Battles the Ibaraki Demon, the tale that fractured my sleep in the middle of the night and then turned into a body painting design for the upcoming IMATS New York makeup show.

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