What Inspires a Writer

While Mirza Ghalib had attributed the source of his poetical writings to mystical inspirations (“aate hain ghaib sey ye mazaamin khayal main…”), Dara Horn writes how the inspirations may come from newspaper headlines. A wonderful essay by the author of The World to Come.

An excerpt from the essay:

In 1919, there was a wave of pogroms in Russia in which over 100,000 people were killed — so many people that it was necessary to create orphanages for all the children who had lost their families. One of Chagall’s first jobs when he was a young man was as an art teacher at one of these orphanages, and he writes in his memoirs about how astonished he was by how these children, as he put it, “threw themselves at colors like wild beasts at meat.”

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