...You are, in effect, dropping stones down a well. Every time you hear an echo from your subconscious, you know yourself a little better. A small echo may start an idea. A big echo may result in a story... (Ray Bradbury, from The Writer's Archive 4/2008)
You just never know, do you? A scrap of dialogue that floats over from the next table in the restaurant where you're eating lunch. A quick glance that catches the sun glistening on the ripples of a lake where a duck just flew away. The sharp chemical scent that assaults you as you walk past the nail salon in the mall.
Two writers, two artists, will catch that same conversation, will see that sunlight, will smell the nail salon but maybe only one of them will hear that echo, will heed it and turn it into a poem. Or maybe they both will hear that echo but where one will turn it into a modern sculpture, the other will write a children's book.
It's about learning to listen for that echo, for what speaks directly to us, and how to give it shape and form and meaning for the rest of the world.