You have to love zeitgeist. Last night I was reading Alphabetica, which has a great section on the creative process of the artists in the book. One of the categories is "influence." As in, who influences your art? I love that question. I think it carries more weight than asking who inspires your work. Influence puts action behind the inspiration. So I started chewing on the question.
Then Crystal had this post on mentoring. I love that we can be mentored by people we've never met. And I love how the book she refers to says that the mentee has responsibilities as well. We need to allow people to influence us. It's how our work is shaped, given depth and texture.
The artists in the book I was reading listed all kinds of people as influencers. Musicians are influenced by more than just other musicians, and writers are influenced by more than just other writers. Talk about layers of depth and texture! Just think about what can happen to the creative process if we open ourselves to the possibility of being mentored and influenced by people outside our own areas of interest and expertise.