Artists, by Dani


Guest Post by Dani at Orange Salad and Pecan Dressing.

Andrew and I aren’t really car talkers.  On most of our trips, I have a book, a camera and a nap and Andrew has his talk radio.  We’re pretty boring like that.
But this last road trip to Columbus was different.  I didn’t have a book and he didn’t turn on talk radio.  We were about 10 minutes outside of Champaign and Madonna comes on the radio.  And inquiring minds want to know: who is the most influential music artist of our time?  I said Michael.  Andrew thinks U2, Madonna and Michael Jackson.  And the conversation lives on through Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.  I mean we can’t forget Stevie Wonder, Aerosmith, Whitney Houston and Barry Manilow.

What we did agree on is that every artist (visual, musical and literary) is influenced by someone before them.  I really think that all artists have at least one person that inspires them.  I don’t think Michael Jackson just listened to Michael Jackson music all the time.  Maybe he did, I don’t know.  But I’ll bet that he, especially as a young artist, had someone who made him see things in a different way than he had before.  The way that our world has become in our time, it’s hard not to be influenced here and there.  And I believe that the artists who have stood out are the ones who have taken those sparks of ideas in their heads and brought them to a new level. They are the ones that are not only talented, but take their art to another, unexpected level.  They are fresh, new, insightful.  They make us think and feel and want to grow.  Artists like this stand out.

Now, you may be asking why I am writing about Michael Jackson on Lynn’s website.  Well, when Lynn asked me to write a guest post on her blog about whatever I wanted, my first thought was how friendship from the time we were junior high kids to now.  I believe that it is so important to work hard to bridge those gaps of distance and lifestyles and nurture those childhood friendships.  Maybe that’s another post for another day.
This post isn’t really about Michael Jackson, but more about inspiring artists.  When Andrew and I were talking about this subject, I was thinking about the impact Lynn has had on me over the last couple of years.  Yes, I miss our days playing softball, mixing fingernail polish colors together and floating down the creek in between our houses.  I miss having Lynn close to me.
Lynn has always been someone that is extraordinary to me.  She sees the world so much differently than I do.  She is a traveler, soaking up the world outside of hers.  She stops to notice balloons in trees or the chilies in her recipe.  She often goes off the beaten path in her music choices.  She is an avid reader, a picture taker, a recipe trier, an explorer.  Lynn is someone who knows how to relish a book, take joy in walking her dog in the park, sit on the couch on a rainy day and give up her time for a local cause.  Sure. She has her idle days and heartaches, we all do.  But Lynn chooses to live and to share.
Every morning Lynn’s site is the first that I check.  She’s not an everyday blogger, but I know that when I check her site or her flickr pictures, I am going to see the world in a different way.  A way that inspires me to think outside the box, to put another foot forward in my own artistic way.  She has inspired me to savor this life in ways that I can’t put into words.  Just by being herself, she brings out good things in me. Lynn and I aren’t Michael Jackson, but in some small way we are connected in this creative world.
And so, I can’t wait for this weekend.  My yearly trip to Omaha to visit family.  To walk around the Omaha farmer’s market for the first time with Lynn and to eat Sunday breakfast with her .  To rehash our years together, to catch up on our lives apart…and for me to be inspired by the amazing soul I get to call my friend.

Who is it that inspires you creatively?  And why?

3 thoughts on “Artists, by Dani

  1. I agree Michael was influential in the 80’s (maybe through the early 90’s), Madonna yes……but there was the grunge movement that gave way to the alternative movement when music gave way to something more than just the pop of Jackson. U2 has certainly stood the test of time (they’re my favorite) but I would also add Nirvana.

  2. great post, dani. i agree with your thoughts about influence and inspiration.

    i am constantly inspired by my friends—especially a couple of them. as far as well-known people as inspirations, i would have to say designers like vera wang or nate berkus inspire me. singers like alison krause or diana krall inspire me. actors like kate blanchet or edward norton inspire me. hmmmmm . . . now that i think about it, there are many. i just saw bob dylan last night {and willie nelson}. they both amaze me how they have spanned decades with great talent and music and kept there art alive. one is 68ish and the other 76 and they are both still amazingly talented and kickin’! i’m in awe of that and inspired, as well.

  3. Depending on the day, can’t anyone be inspiring in some way? I love it when I pick up a random magazine (say, Psychology Today) and learn something amazing about something I never knew I should care about (like what is deja vu, really).

    Last Friday I saw Conor Oberst in concert… I just wanted to hop a train and make up songs under the stars. My complete lack of musical talent hasn’t killed my urge to buy a guitar just yet…

    Can’t wait to see you!

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