To see Jeff Koterba's cartoon on soulpancake.com, click here.
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For a writer, a painter or a sculptor, inspiration can come from a word, a phrase or an image.
Right now, on soulpancake.com, writers are using a drawing by World-Herald editorial cartoonist Jeff Koterba to inspire them.
The website was founded in 2008 by actor Rainn Wilson (NBC's “The Office”) and two of his friends. It developed out of their desire to create a space where people from all walks of life could discuss and question what it means to be human — a place to wrestle with the spiritual, philosophical and creative journey that is life.
Wilson's wife, fiction writer Holiday Reinhorn, told the World-Herald by phone that the site has no agenda or spiritual face.
“It's more about life's big questions, built especially for a social network and a visual world.”
Each day, the site's moderators pose questions and ask visitors to respond via activities such as Koterba's writing prompt. Every month has a theme, and they choose a monthly winner from submissions to the prompt. Saturday is the deadline for submissions inspired by Koterba's drawing.
This is the first time the site has used an image as a prompt, Reinhorn said.
Although writing groups often use the writing prompt exercise, you don't often find the opportunity online, she said. “We thought it would be fun to have a studio where people could do free writing inspired by creativity,” Reinhorn said. “It gets everyone talking about an aspect of writing that writers don't often get to talk about.”
Wilson, responding via email, said art is one of the things that helps him get ideas and in the “right creative space.”
“Looking at beautiful works of art and listening to some Radiohead will really get me going,” he said.
Reinhorn first heard about Koterba when he was on satellite radio station Laugh USA talking about his memoir, “Inklings.” Reinhorn said she and Wilson and their friends have been passing Koterba's book and his cartoons around Los Angeles. A mutual acquaintance, editorial consultant Erin Reel, suggested putting some of Koterba's artwork on the website.
“He does so many things with his art,” Reinhorn said. “He's able to bridge his art with an entrepreneurial spirit and remain balanced in his career.”
Wilson learned about Koterba from his wife, calling him “super funny and smart and creative in many different ways. Plus his cartoons have been in space and he was even hit by lightning. What's not to like?”
Koterba said he was interested in the project because it was such a departure from his daily cartoons, which are more political and news-driven.
“It was the furthest thing from politics, timeless,” he said about the drawing of the large cat in a wooded setting. “I could have drawn that five years ago or five years from now.”
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