Suzan-Lori Parks, Author of the play Topdog/Underdog
All I wanted was to write and to be good at it.
Writers talking about writing. There are hundreds of those books, and they are all really interesting to me. Maybe because I never got an MFA, or because I have a few really good friends but not that many. Or maybe when I was a little kid and had no friends I used to go to the library all the time. So when I'm lost I go find a book.
When I buy these books, people say, "Oh, are you an aspiring writer?" And I say, "Yes, I am." I want to be a writer. Every day I want to be a writer. Just because you get a play done or something, or a play published, I still want to be a writer. I still feel like an aspiring writer. Or maybe I'm not using that term correctly. But people think that once you make it you don't have to want anymore. But I'm still wanting. I just want to be good at it. That's what I wanted when I was starting out. I just want to write a good story or a good play.
Karim Rashid, Designer at Karim Rashid, Inc.
Well, the world I would like to exist in—I would like to have an implant in my eye so I can zoom around and I can see night vision. I would love that. Number two is, I would like to develop some really beautiful jewelry that's intelligent. So it's not just decorative but it also has a microchip in it. I love technology my feeling is, is that when I'm 60 or 70, I don't care if half my body's replaced with plastic parts, because I think that that's the way as human beings that we're destined to move. And I think also the challenge and the idea of evolution and progress is phenomenal that we can do that. And the whole movement of the kind of anti-nature movement is absurd in a way because we are nature and we are creating our destiny, right?
If I have a choice, I would like to live in a smart space where light moves with me, heat moves with me, and there's this—there's this technology called radiant heat where they project onto your body a sensor so when you walk around a freezing cold space, you stay warm all the time. It's the most efficient form of heat possible. I want to live in a world that we are capable now of creating. I don't want to live in a world that someone created for me from the past.
Billie Tsien, Architect at Tod Williams Billie Tsien and Associates
We work in one big room; we don't have separate offices, so that's really the way we work best. In a way we're like a family, so you have absolutely no privacy. So if anything bad happens to you, everybody knows. But that's good because people are there in a very supportive way. And I think that's the way I feel most comfortable. I can't imagine sitting in a room by myself. I love to read. I live, in many ways, to read. That's another way I get my inspiration.
Things that are immediate, like reading M.F.K. Fisher when she writes about food. I love the way she writes about small experiences but makes them so powerful. She wrote this wonderful thing about when she was in France and she was very, very poor, what she would do was spread a newspaper over a radiator, then put oranges on the clean newspaper, and wait. And the orange skin would turn tight and dry from the radiator, and she would take each section and put it in her mouth and crunch through the skin, and then have the juice of the orange. In a certain way, it's very important to the way I think about architecture. That sense of tactility, and that's why we're so interested in materials, and the sense of the immediate sensual, and through the sensual, achieving an emotional experience.
Tracey Ullman, Actor and Comedienne
I love documentaries, I like observing real people. The thing that got me going when I was a child was there's a film director called Ken Loach and he does sort of documentaries, improvised type films. And there was a film called Cathy Come Home starring the actress Carol White. It was very, very fly-on-the-wall and realistic looking. And I watched as a child and really believed it was true. I saw this scene where she was a woman on welfare whose husband was in prison who was having her children taken away from her because she couldn't support them. I really believed it was happening. And when I heard that it was acting, I just couldn't believe it.
I would sit in front of my mirror for hours just pretending I was being interviewed for a documentary and I was living on welfare and my husband's in jail and—and I'd smoke a cigarette and—well, you know, it's really hard with the kids and I'm tired some days, you know. I just want to have a nice time and go to the pub and have a drink and—I would just do it for hours and hours. And my mother would knock on the door and go, "Shut up and go to bed. Stop thinking you're a welfare woman who's getting beaten by her husband."
Lucinda Williams, Singer and Songwriter (latest CD: Essence)
I've always had a hard time being in a relationship with someone, living with someone, and writing. I've had so much of my stuff come from that sort of dreamlike state of longing and desire. It's something that I eventually want to grow out of or learn how to work around because I can't—I don't want to live in this constant state of longing. Some people just stay there because that's the only way they can create. When I get into a relationship I have a tendency to lose part of myself and that was my main impetus for breaking off this last relationship I had, cause I hadn't written anything. I remember when I first moved to L.A. in late '84 and I had this big spurt of creativity. I had just come out of a relationship that I wasn't happy in, so I'd broken free from that. Plus I was in a new city, so I had all this new stimuli around me. New people, new city. Just came out of a relationship, I'm free, I'm independent, I had my own apartment. All of those things kind of provided the climate for me to write.