The Ezra Klein Show: Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy Wants You to Be Bad at Something. It’s for Your Own Good.

New York Times Opinion New York Times Opinion 7/2/21 - Episode Page

Recently, I picked up Jeff Tweedy’s “How to Write One Song.” It was a bit of a lark. Tweedy is the frontman for Wilco, one of my favorite bands, but I’m not a songwriter, and I don’t plan to... become one. But, unexpectedly, I loved the book. It’s the most generous and approachable guide to the creative process I’ve read.

It’s also relentlessly practical: To Tweedy, this really is a process, replete with practices that you can enjoy doing daily. As a writer of a very different sort, I’ve had a blast with them.

So I asked Tweedy to come on the show to talk about creativity, ands his approach to it. He debunks the idea that suffering is necessary (or even useful) for the creative process, talks through his relentless search for inspiration, sings and analyzes a few of my favorite songs, analyzes his relationship with his mother, shares some of his tricks for finding fresh language for old ideas and even convinces me to write some poetry.

This is a fun one.

Book recommendations:

Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes

A Temple of Texts by William H. Gass

The MacGuffin by Stanley Elkin

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