What's inspired Nikki Lindman?

In the next edition of our 'What's inspired you?' column, BBH London's Nikki Lindman describes how one particular American writer's depiction of real life, "with all its colour and ability to move people", is her source of enduring inspiration.

Don’t look shocked. I’m tweaking the brief. It’s the prerogative of any creative.

I understand what’s required - a personal testimony about an object or piece that inspired me. Sadly, there’s not one single artefact that I could say has done that. Creative people should see things on a daily basis that make us go “ooh”, or give us that pang of downright envy in our guts.

And push us to want to do as good, and hopefully better.

At this stage, I should mention that I enjoyed my awkward teenage years in Singapore during the 80s and 90s. At the time it was a politically and socially restrictive city state that actively edited out any access to true, honest accounts of sex, relationships, or puberty.*

Blockbuster films were cut to pieces, rendering any proper understanding of narrative, utterly futile. The pages of Cosmopolitan regularly featured the heavy felt tip markings of some joyful fellow from the censorship board, blacking out anything they deemed too salacious or graphic for women - or curious teenage girls - to know about. In short, we were starved of truth.  

And then I discovered the New York writer Judy Blume. I greedily consumed all of her books, from Blubber, Deenie and Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret.

Somehow, these teen-focussed truth bombs had escaped the beady eye and eager felt tip of the censorship board. They stealth bombed our tiny, curious minds. Finally, here was someone who wanted to talk to me. Who wasn’t afraid of what a little honesty and real life would do to my brain.

But above all, Judy Blume proved to me that truth, real life with all its colour and ability to move people, is a powerful weapon when it comes to creating anything.

And that should be the most inspiring thing of all.

*It still is.

Nikki Lindman is Creative Director at BBH London