Patti Smith and David Lynch Talk About the Source of Their Ideas & Creative Inspiration

Where do artistic ideas come from?

The collective unconscious?

Cheesy covers of 50s pop tunes?

The ghost of Jerry Garcia?

Perhaps rather than trying to identify the source, we should work toward being open to inspiration in whatever guise it presents itself.  It’s an approach that certainly seems to be working for Patti Smith and David Lynch, aka the Godmother of Punk and Jimmy Stewart from Mars, both a shockingly youthful 69.



One of the most exciting things about their recent segment for the BBC’s Newsnight “Encounters” series is watching how appreciative these veterans are of each other’s process.

“I want a copy of what you just said,” Smith gasps, after Lynch likens the beginnings of a creative process to being in possession of a single, intriguing puzzle piece, knowing that a completed version exists in the adjacent room.

Lynch, a longtime advocate of transcendental meditation, smiles benignly as Smith waxes poetic about the formation of her ideas.

As artists, they’re committed to peeking beneath the veneer. “What’s more horrifying than normalcy?” Smith asks.

It does seem important to note how both of these longtime practitioners mention jotting their ideas down immediately following the muse’s visit.

Also what I wouldn’t give for a ringtone of Lynch saying, “I want to talk to you about Pussy Riot,” as sincerely and earnestly as Mr. Rogers!

Related Content:

Patti Smith Documentary Dream of Life Beautifully Captures the Author’s Life and Long Career (2008)

David Lynch Explains How Meditation Enhances Our Creativity

David Lynch Lists His Favorite Films & Directors, Including Fellini, Wilder, Tati & Hitchcock

Ayun Halliday is an author, homeschooler, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday


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