Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sources of Inspiration 3/5: Found Phrases

This is part of a series on my sources of inspirations. There is an index here. These posts are greatly expanded from my 8 minute talk for the Conceptually Bound show.

Sometimes the text taken from books and titles of articles will spark the idea for a book. I find it pays to keep a collection of these phrases, both as inspiration and possible book titles.

Comet Found, ©1987, 2-3/8 x 3-1/2 x 1-7/8 inches
The title, and the text inside this book came from an article in the science section of the San Jose Mercury News titled "Comet Found to Have Heart of Darkness." I envisioned space as a river of stars, flowing from the mouth of a fish, the source of all life.

Comet Found
This was a very early book. I lightly scratched the text in the border and stars on the formica pages.

Astronomers Say, © 1998, 7 x 4 x 1/2 inches (closed).
This book came from an article in the paper titled "Astronomers Say They Saw Space Mirage."

Astronomers Say
I am fascinated by star charts. All the star names were made up by cutting up text from the article and putting words back together. The ones that sounded appropriate became the star names.

The Distance of the Moon, ©1990, 2 x 3-3/4 x 1-3/4 inches.
This book illustrates a story in my all-time favorite book, Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino.

The Distance of the Moon
I used phrases from the book on each pair of pages. This one says "She was the color of the moon." I have read this book 6 or 7 times. The imagery is very spacey, cosmic, and poetic.

My favorite unused quote is from Farok, a character in "Dune Messiah" by Frank Herbert. I'm hugely paraphrasing here: Farok sees the ocean for the first time. He says he went into that water one man, and emerged another one. Then he says "the universe is unfinished, you know." Somehow this quote has been in my head for years, but hasn't become part of anything.

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