Listen to full interviews with Isabel Allende, Chuck Close, and Tony Kushner.

Think you could make a masterpiece if you could just force yourself to get to work? You're probably right. "Inspiration is for amateurs, and the rest of us just show up and get to work," says the painter Chuck Close. This week, Kurt and Julie Burstein talk about how artists overcome doubt, insecurity, and good old fashioned procrastination to start (and finish) great work. Isabel Allende makes starting a new novel an annual ritual; Tony Kushner decides to stop collaborating and start writing.


Isabel Allende, novelist

Today, no one would say that a woman can't be a writer. But when the Chilean-born novelist Isabel Allende was growing up, "writer" was not on the career menu. Kurt asks Allende about the path that led her to write fiction. Her most recent novel is Island Beneath the Sea.

(Originally broadcast: December 8, 2006)

Chuck Close, painter

For over 30 years, Chuck Close has been making huge, meticulous paintings of faces --- 9 foot, looming images of himself, and of friends such as the composer Philip Glass and the late painter Robert Rauschenberg. He is one of today's most admired portraitists. Kurt visits with Close at his New York studio.

(Originally broadcast January 19, 2002)

Tony Kushner, playwright

Tony Kushner is one of the greatest living American playwrights. Angels In America, Homebody/Kabul, and Caroline, Or Change, have earned him numerous accolades including a Pulitzer and multiple Tony nominations and awards. HBO's 6-hour version of Angels in America, directed by Mike Nichols, won 11 Emmy awards. Tony Kushner has also published several books including Brundibar, a book for children which he wrote with Maurice Sendak. Kurt talks with Tony Kushner as part of a special episode about knowing when a work of art is finished.

(Originally broadcast: January 15, 2005)

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