An Oral History of Creativity

The Beatles at a press conference while on tour in the 60s

A few months ago we introduced you to a new project that we’re calling Please Quote Me—a curated database of quotes by artists about other artists. Our goal is to build a high-quality library of quotes about the creative process—an “oral history of creativity.” We want to hear what artists have to say about other artists. Nothing else.

The site is now open to the public and anyone can contribute. There are only 2 rules:

  1. Only quotes by artists about other artists are allowed.
  2. You must cite your source with a link.

Our goal is to build a high-quality library of quotes about the creative process—an “oral history of creativity.” We want to hear what artists have to say about other artists. Nothing else.

As Steven Pressfield put it in The War of Art:

“The professional senses who has served his time and who hasn't. Like Alan Ladd and Jack Palance circling each other in Shane, a gun recognizes another gun.”

Inspiration for this project

The seeds for this project came from reading the classic oral history of punk by Legs McNeil—Please Kill Me—and from watching the documentary about Jay Reatard, Better Than Something. Please Kill Me turned us on to how oral history is a compelling way to tell the story of creative pursuits.

And with Better Than Something, there's a scene in which Jay Reatard talks about how he discovered The Clean. He shares how growing up he would just read music magazines and anytime a band he liked mentioned another band he would go check them out. When you start doing that, it opens up a wormhole of rock and roll.

We realized that this is exactly how we discovered most of our favorite bands too, but there’s no place on the internet that organizes these artists in this way. So we got to thinking, “I wish there was a place where you could read a quote by an artist and click on their name and see all of the quotes related to that artist.” A k-hole of rock and roll quotes. So we built it.

To honor our inspiration for this project, we’re launching with a round-up our favorite Jay Reatard quotes. Check it out.

Please Contribute

The site is open to the public, so if you’d like to contribute, sign up and share your favorite quotes from your favorite artists. We’ll be moderating it to ensure there is no spam and every quote is cited, but we’d love to have you help build this database of creative wisdom.

It’s very much a work-in-progress, so please share your feedback. This is just our initial version and we’ll be iterating on it and adding features, but the underlying structure of how the quotes and artists connect is solid.

Also, if you’re into this type of content, please subscribe to our magazine. Subscribing gets you a weekly email about leveling-up your creativity. All fun. No filler. Our magazine is our way of exploring the creative process with artists we admire. Through interviews, our podcast, Please Quote Me round-ups, and more, we go behind-the-scenes with our favorite artists to learn how they work.


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