A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...

Posts tagged "process"

Aug 31, 2014

David Lynch painting in his studio

From a nice NYTimes profile, “David Lynch, Who Began as a Visual Artist, Gets a Museum Show.”

Jun 11, 2014

Frank O’Hara and Laurence Ferlinghetti’s Lunch Poems correspondence

From The Paris Review:

the two poets hash out the details of the book’s publication: which poems to consider, their order, the dedication, and even the title. “Do you still like the title Lunch Poems?” O’Hara asks Ferlinghetti. “I wonder if it doesn’t sound too much like an echo of Reality Sandwiches or Meat Science Essays.” “What the hell,” Ferlinghetti replies, “so we’ll have to change the name of City Lights to Lunch Counter Press.”

These are so much fun to read. I love how he’s suggesting additions to the manuscript, and casually describes one of my favorite poems: as “a little poem about Lana Turner collapsing at a party which I don’t have with me. I will ask a friend of mine to find and send [it to you]…”

Also the contract:

“I like the contract a lot and am very cheered by the movie clause — if Terry Southern gets interested tell him he doesn’t have to stick to the plot at all, just send green”

Link: Lunch Poems: The 50th Anniversary Edition

May 08, 2014

May 06, 2014

Wayne White’s Instagram might be the ultimate Show Your Work! example. So great.

Apr 27, 2014

Stories of how songs were written

I tweeted this a few days ago and got some excellent responses, so I wanted to share them here:

Paul Zollo’s Songwriters on Songwriting seems to be the classic text on the subject

Bill Flanagan’s Written in My Soul: Conversations with Rock’s Great Songwriters (Flanagan went on to create VH1’s Storytellers)

American Songwriter has regular stories about songs, of course (here’s one on Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane”)

The NYTimes’ “Measure for Measure” blog, where “Songwriters pull back the curtain on their creative process”

The Guardian’s “How We Made” series where “two collaborators on a seminal art work talk us through their original creative process.” Several of the columns are about songs: the Four Tops’ “Reach Out,” Ben E. King and Mike Stoller on “Stand By Me,” The Kinks on “You Really Got Me,” etc.

The blog Songwriters on Process (here’s an interview with Kurt Wagner of Lambchop)

The podcast Song Exploder, though not necessarily about songwriting, is great for recording nerds

What am I missing?

Apr 11, 2014
There’s about a million miles between saying ‘I have no idea what I’m doing,’ and ‘I’m making it up as I go.’

Apr 05, 2014
Feedback is great for telling you what you did wrong. It’s terrible at telling you what you should do next.


The Ultimate Fan Extras Collection



Demo of Beat It composed using only Michael Jackson’s voice

As Jackson couldn’t fluently play any instruments, he would sing and beatbox out how he wanted his songs to sound by himself on tape, layering the vocals, harmonies and rhythm before having instrumentalists come in to complete the songs.

One of his engineers Robmix on how Jackson worked: “One morning MJ came in with a new song he had written overnight. We called in a guitar player, and Michael sang every note of every chord to him. “here’s the first chord first note, second note, third note. Here’s the second chord first note, second note, third note”, etc., etc. We then witnessed him giving the most heartfelt and profound vocal performance, live in the control room through an SM57. He would sing us an entire string arrangement, every part. Steve Porcaro once told me he witnessed MJ doing that with the string section in the room. Had it all in his head, harmony and everything. Not just little eight bar loop ideas. he would actually sing the entire arrangement into a micro-cassette recorder complete with stops and fills.”

Reasons why I laugh when people say he wasn’t a real musician.

Dang. Dude was good.


(Source: harrattanparhar)

Feb 22, 2014

If I remember correctly, my editor and I were on the phone talking about format ideas and trim sizes for Steal Like An Artist, and the problem was that my slides for the original talk were landscape format but books are usually portrait format. So I think Bruce suggested meeting in the middle and making it square.

So I went hunting for square books, and it turned out that James Kochalka’s The Cute Manifesto, one of my favorite little square books, is in the exact trim size we were talking about using, 6x6. So I drew up a cover, printed it out, and wrapped it around my copy to make a dummy book:

dummy book

I took that up to Workman and left it with them, and the story goes that they mocked up a bunch of other covers and laid them all out, but the late Peter Workman pointed to my dummy book and said, “That one.” (I regret so much that we never got to meet.)

It’s very, very rare that an author gets to do the covers for his books, but much to the credit of the Workman design team, they’ve let me in on every part of the process. I think part of what made that cover work is that it’s too stupidly simple—I’m not sure any real book cover designer would dare suggest something so simple.

Anyways, when it came time for Show Your Work!, I really conceived of both books as a kind of “Robin Hood” box set — you steal, and then you share — so it made sense to make them the same trim size. (We’ll see about the box set…)

Feb 03, 2014

Kathy Sierra on how she writes books:


I write (books, non-fiction) starting w/ a storyboard. Each “cell” on the paper maps loosely to 1 page in book. I don’t “write” start-to-finish; I iterate over the “cells” adding details. The [table of contents] emerges last.

This makes me so happy. Show Your Work! in full effect.

via @seriouspony

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