“That Obscure Object of Inspiration”
by Lisa M. Stasse, author of The Forsaken—coming July 10 from Simon & Schuster
So first of all, thanks for having me here, Nafiza! I really appreciate the opportunity to colonize your blog like a virus (but a happy virus)! Anyway, today I thought I’d write a piece about some things that have inspired me. They’re not the typical things. I mean, obviously, my debut apocalyptic YA novel The Forsaken is influenced by all the great dystopian/apocalyptic/sci-fi books that I love, from 1984 to The Handmaid’s Tale to The Maze Runner and beyond. But here’s a handful of more obscure pieces of art and culture that I draw my inspiration from:
1. ART: Matthew Barney
For those of you who don’t know about this amazing artist and filmmaker, Matthew Barney is a former college football player turned insane abstract photographer and sculptor. His best work is a massive installation (and five-film collection) called Cremaster, which is about all sorts of creepy Masonic rituals and the formation of identity and sexuality. His work is definitely strange, and I admit I don’t really understand a lot of it (that would probably take an obsessive art scholar or professor) but it’s really great, and full of raw imagery. His hypnotic and disturbing tone is something that I strive toward in some of my own writing. You can check out his unconventional website at: www.cremaster.net. Oh yeah, and he’s also married to the singer Bjork, for added coolness (and weirdness) points.
2. MUSIC: The Pixies
Hands down one of my favorite bands. I didn’t always used to like them. The first time I heard them they just sounded like a big, ugly wall of noise (my tastes run more towards Feist, Cat Power, Elliott Smith, Nick Drake and those kinds of artists). But eventually I just gave in because my husband kept playing them over and over in our house. I discovered that beneath the walls of distortion are some awesome indie-rock pop songs, including my favorites “Here Comes Your Man” and “Planet of Sound.” If you’re not already a fan, check ‘em out at www.pixiesmusic.com.
3. MOVIES: David Lynch & Pedro Almodovar (directors)
I’m generally a pretty big fan of strange movies. One of the best parts of living in Los Angeles is getting to see tons of movies (and snagging free advance DVD screeners from friends who are lucky enough to work in the movie industry). I’ve been obsessed with David Lynch since my cousin gave me a Twin Peaks box set a couple years ago for Christmas. And his movies Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive are both incredible. They’re pretty slow moving, but really good and very scary in places as well. Lynch pulls you into his world and then freaks you out! In addition, I’m just getting into the amazing movies of the Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. His most recent movie, The Skin I Live In (which stars Antonio Banderas) was one of the best horror/mysteries I’ve seen in a while, about a troubled scientist and his love interest. I suppose it was a sort of a 21st century update of the Frankenstein story. Although my work is nothing like Almodovar’s, there are so many great ideas and so much energy in his movies, I always finish watching them and feel inspired to do and try new things when it comes to my own writing and art.
Anyway, there are probably tons more cool artists, musicians and filmmakers that I could write about here. But those are just a few who are on my mind right now. So, thanks again for hosting me, and to the readers—thanks for reading this post. Come say hi to me anytime. All my contact info is below:
Lisa M. Stasse, author of The Forsaken (coming July 10 from Simon & Schuster)