The Story Behind The Noise Beneath the Apple by Heather Jacks

When I was first asked about what inspired me to write this book, I thought about all of the amazing street musicians who I have encountered across the country; from bucket drummers to Chinese Harpists; operatic voices to rappers. I look no further than The Noise Beneath the Applemy street corner to find inspiration floating down the alleys. But, what about those times when you are sitting in front of your blinking screen, and your fingers don’t fly over the keyboard; the cursor flicking on a blank page. In times, like these— (and as writers, we all have them), what can we do for inspiration? Here are five things I do to get inspired.

  • Write in longhand.Many of us grew up before the internet, maybe before typewriters! Remember the excitement of learning to write? Draw letter? Maybe you were of the generation that learned penmanship. I was. There’s an alchemy that exists, when you bring beautiful paper and pen together and write longhand. It opens another door or dimension; unleashes a childlike freedom within us, that sometimes seems lost or forgotten. Inspiration may just be a pen stroke away.
  • Listen to music. It’s been proven time and time again, that music inspires; musicians are some of the most creatively inspired people around. There are several good books and many studies on the subject. I particularly like David Byrne’s books; This is Your Brain on Music and How Music Works. That being said, I find that listening to certain types of music can definitely inspire and get the creativity flowing.
  • Word association.Another great way I ‘jumpstart’ my imagination is via word association. There are a lot of ways to play these sorts of games, randomly open a dictionary and write down all the words that come to mind from a particular word; or open a book to a random page and grab a line from it, and then draw/write word clouds, from them. I love doing these word visualizations with various colors of pens or pencils and letting my imagination loose.
  • Take a walk outside. This is my form of meditation. It’s important to step away from the blinking screen, re-charge and renew. For me, those walks happen in the beautiful City by the Bay, San Francisco. I love ambling down her streets and discovering something new or rediscovering some lost treasure; whether it be beautiful architecture, parks, dive bars, the ocean, staircases, hilltops, ATT Park, Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco is porn for the senses, and it is important to take time and engage all of the senses, so we can capture them all in the written word.
  • Talk With Others. Everyone has someone who you can bounce ideas off, brainstorm, use as a sounding board and if you don’t, you should. I find that chatting to certain, special people, working through the barren spots with someone else, is one of the most inspirational things I can do; I find that connecting with a good friend, always brings out the best in me.

Your idea might not be formed at the moment, but soon—with some extra attention on your part, it will soon be standing on its own two feet, grinning from ear to ear.


Heather JacksHeather Jacks was raised on Indian reservation in southeastern Oregon, until age fifteen, at which time; she was chosen to be an ‘experimental exchange student’ to Australia. She went down under, with an organization called YFU, Youth for Understanding, and spent 10.5 months turning16 in the Outback. When she returned, she attended college, and received an FCC license, followed by completing a B.A. from USF and two years of study at UC Davis.

During her twenties, she traveled extensively, worked in the music industry in various capacities; radio, production, A&R, booking and eventually, landed at a new and young company, called Starbucks, where she worked on a Star Team and opened new stores in remote markets.

Music has always been her passion and during her tenure at Starbucks, she helped launch Hear Music, which today is Starbucks Music Label. Eventually, she returned to the business side of music at a major indie label, where she had a number of roles, from concert production to glorified babysitter.

An avid TV Junkie, die-hard SF Giants fiend and unapologetic Twitter practitioner, she recently won a Book of the Year Award for her multi-media project, The Noise Beneath the Apple®; A Celebration of Busking in New York City, which was inspired by her love for street music, busking and the people who make it.

She currently hangs her hat in San Francisco and am is working on the Bay Area version of the TNBTA® busker project.

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