He believes that if a song “really wants to be written down, it’ll stick in my head. If it wasn’t interesting enough for me to remember it, well, it can just move along and go get in someone else’s song.” “Some songs,” he has learned, “don’t want to be recorded.” You can’t wrestle with them or you’ll only scare them off more. Trying to capture them sometimes “is trying to trap birds.” Fortunately, he says, other songs come easy, like “digging potatoes out of the ground.” Others are sticky and weird, like “gum found under an old table.” Clumsy and uncooperative songs may only be useful “to cut up as bait and use ‘em to catch other songs.” Of course, the best songs of all are those that enter you “like dreams taken through a straw.’ In those moments, all you can be, Waits says, is grateful.
The above quote is from a kick-ass 2002 profile of Tom Waits by Elizabeth Gilbert called "Play it Like Your Hair's On Fire" for GQ. Waits discusses, among other topics, where ideas for his songs come from. Read the quote above again and sub in the word play for song and you get a notion of how I get ideas for plays.
Read the article... HERE.