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.
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)
(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).