Q: What inspires you?
A: I am as susceptible as the next writer to reading about some fun factoid, interesting place, or unlikely historical character and thinking, ‘That’s so cool, I need to write something about this!’ I almost never follow through, however. If my writing often focuses on places where I’ve lived for years, their history, my own family history… it is because I’ve had years to process these into something that, hopefully, could make sense to somebody else than me.
Over the years, I’ve also found that the natural world was a better source of inspiration for me than people or cities. Much of our culture consists in making sense of human lives, and I’m not that good at making sense of things. Nature doesn’t make sense; it just exists, and will keep existing, however we try to harness it or shoehorn it into our worldview. There is so much to explore in our relationship with that meaninglessness around us, enjoying its beauty and navigating our lives as best we can, that this has become my most productive way to write.