Tom Waits On … Truth vs Imagination

I feed off [my neighbourhood]. But at one point, you really have to stop and go away and sit down and collect all of the things you’ve been through. You have to be away to let your imagination work along with your memory.

Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.106)

I think that you can continue to write about certain things without staying overnight there – it’s safer. Hubert Selby Jr. has a nice family and he writes about the dark side. It all depends on how you handle it, I guess.

The creative process is imagination, memories, nightmares, and dismantling certain aspects of this world and putting them back together in the dark. Songs aren’t necessarily verbatim chronicles or necessarily journal entries, they’re made out of smoke.

Usually you hide what everything represents, you’re the only one who really knows.

Interviews And Encounters (p.147, 201)

More Tom Waits wisdom here

(you can find a lot of the interviews online at

About mattblick

Songwriter & Musical Educator from Nottingham, UK. New album Fifty Five Stories Down is out now. Blogging through the entire Beatles catalogue at Beatles Songwriting Academy.
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