Books have been a place of escape and education all my life. In recent years I have become quite an avid reader, consisting mostly books on creativity and art life. This November I am turning the big 3-0 and have decided to take this arbitrary monument and make it an excuse to solidify habits and hobbies that are fulfilling me to me. I have two 30 For 30 goals; Read 30 inspiring books and hike 30 trails in Colorado. It has been a soggy spring, holding off my hiking adventures for now, but allowing me to dive deep into the pages of some fun books. This challenge has books that explore the creative process conceptually, how the process worked for specific projects, how creativity works and business practicals. Here is a list of some books I have been indulging in so far on this challenge.
Big Magic was one of my first books on this literary journey and it stands as the most inspiring one I have come across. Big Magic is told by the writer Elizabeth Gilbert as she explains her relationship with creativity and how she approaches her projects. One of the most lovely takeaways for me was the separation of self and inspiration. She talks about showing up, creating a practice and communing with your genius when it is ready. I loved the way this book was written, how she paints the picture of working with a genius outside yourself, and bring tangible stories from her own experiences and those of other creators.
2. As You Wish
As with most people about my age, I grew up on The Princess Bride. It is a timeless tale of love, adventure, castles, magic and happy endings. So to hear the backstory of its creation read by Cary Elwes himself was nothing short of magical. This book I would recommend as an audiobook before a paper book because not only do you have the soothing voice of Cary anchoring the story telling, but Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, Carol Cane, Rob Reiner, and other from the cast members chime in to tell their perspective of certain scenes. Hearing all the tales of behind the scenes antics, heartfelt remmonicing of Andre the Giant, and the anxieties each of them felt throughout the process. It made me fall in love with the story all over again. This book was entertaining, exciting, heartwarming and inspiring. Any creative who wants to hear about the making of an epic tale will love this book.
3. Art, Money, Success
This book is down and dirty art business written by Maria Brophy, wife and manager of the talented Drew Brophy. Maria has been instrumental in Drew’s success as a gallery artist, live painter and muralist. These are art titles that I have been striving to carve for myself as well. Her no nonsense, business perspective was refreshing for an art book. It motivated me to value my live painting in a much higher sense and make practical shits in approaching these services. Since reading this book and implementing its practices to fit my work I have found myself in a much more lucrative and confident place.
4. Creative Quest
If you don’t know the brilliant musician, comedian, mixologist, journalist Questlove, you are certainly missing out. He is a high achiever mixing with all types of creatives and dissecting their creative approaches. He is wildly curious, which alone is inspiring, but using that curiosity as a vehicle to explore the creative process, what can hinder it, and how to refine it. This book is funny, insightful, and delivered with a practical approach. He gives legitimate and relatable approaches to finding and building ideas based on his own experiences and those of other chefs, comedians, painters and filmmakers he has encountered. His process rooted in curiosity is infectious.