"I don't know where a poem comes from until after I've lived with it a long time. I've a notion that a poem comes from absolutely everything that every happened to you."
Do you know where you creative work comes from? Have you ever been surprised by something that you created? Everything that happens to us and everything that we do ultimately influences what we create. That quarrel you had with your spouse this morning may one day make it into your painting, or story or poem. Watching the sunset today with your lover may someday find its way into a novel or a play that you write. That stranger you saw at your local coffee shop this evening may have a walk on role in that short story you are writing. I once wrote a story called Bath Day about an old woman who lived in a nursing home. I had a walk-on part in the story as a young man who times how long it takes to give the woman a bath. This bit of action is based on a time when I was doing a time study of how long it takes to give a bath. In one of my story poems, Mary Lou, the fact that my father showed Grand Champion hogs at state fairs showed up in a poem about young love and the loss of virginity.
Here is a poem by Donald Hall.
when my father had been dead a week
with his voice in my ear
I sat up in bed
and held my breath
and stared at the pale closed door
white apples and the taste of stone
if he called again
I would put on my coat and galoshes.
Here is Donald Hall reading his poem, Affirmation.