What I love most about creativity is how often it takes me by surprise. I have often gone through phases (or rather, bursts)where I made a lot of collages and then other times when I didn't make them at all. It's not something I can force and there are many other things I make or I write or take photographs so when I am not making collages I still am following creative pursuits. But something about collages, creating things from bits and pieces of paper that are arranged without plan or thought, that is especially satisfying. So often the inspiration takes me by surprise. Like the new work I have been doing for the past several weeks. Most have them have been made from books I have had for years but didn't really know why: An old collection of short stories translated into German, a book about Nabokov and folk singers in Russian. The German book I picked up years ago at a flea market here in Berlin, but only because I liked something about it. Generally I don't read literature translated into German, especially if the original was in English, but I still bought the book and kept it around for some reason. The same was true of the Russian books. I bought them when I was in Moscow and then somehow never got rid of them though I have long given up on the rigors of Russian grammar. I am not a person who has a hard time throwing things out. I have moved several times since I first got them and each time I gave away boxes of things, but somehow those books always stayed. Then, three weeks ago or so I took the German book off the bookshelf on a whim. After thumbing through it for a few minutes I suddenly had the impulse to get a razor blade and cut things out of it. I followed that whim and have been making collages from its pages ever since. Now it seems clear why I kept the books around all this time: Someday I was meant to make art with them.