I find a lot of inspiration for my writing in song lyrics. I don't listen while I'm writing--music is way too much of a distraction! But lyrical fragments will get in my head and stay there for years, and eventually have an impact on what I write.
For The Ballad of Dani and Eli this verse, from Cracker's I See the Light, was often floating around in my head:
Do you sometimes lust
after the grace that others have inside
they simple peace they make of life
they love they show on summer's nights
Well I want it too
(By the way, this is what the words sound like to me. If this is wrong and you actually know the correct lyrics, don't bother letting me know because I prefer this!)
Not that Cracker's song directly influenced the plot or anything, but hearing those words sort of puts me in the right mood for writing. The character of Eli in the book especially was informed by the spirit of the lyrics. The way the singer wants the uncomplicated, loving way other people have, but isn't quite sure how to acquire it for himself is very much reflected in Eli. And you know he probably never will find that "simple peace"--it's not something you can lust after, the very act of lusting after it precludes its achievement.
What songs or lyrics have inspired your writing or other artistic endeavors?