The Tom Waits Highway

Every morning, I write for a couple of hours, working on various projects: stories, essays, a novel.  I don’ t have a particular good reason why I choose one over the other on any given day, but usually, I stick with one thing for a few weeks (or, with a novel, a few months) and then, for no clear reason, I turn to something different, re-reading with a bit of surprise,  like seeing an old friend in an unexpected place.

The wonder of what I’m working on, or why I’m working on it, doesn’t concern me a great deal.  The important thing to me is that I do it everyday.  On weekdays, I have less time, of course, because I need to head over to The Missouri Review offices and get to work.  Weekends provide me more time, but I don’t have different plans for Saturdays or Sundays.  I just write.  There are many, many pieces of advice on how to write, whole books, (thousands of books, actually) but for me it’s just a matter of writing everyda.  No big mystery.

This doesn’t work for everyone.  Other needs something to get them going, a way of contextualizing the work so that it makes sense.  A way to nurture creativity.

So, here’s this interesting video of Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, discussing creativity and  Tom Waits (the title of this post does have some relevance), among other things.   At the beginning of this short talk, Elizabeth acknowledges something a bit scary: she’s probably already had the biggest success she’s going to ever have as a writer.  So, now what?

It’s definitely worth your time to watch and found out.

Michael Nye is the managing editor of The Missouri Review