Monday, September 5, 2011

Belated Book Report

It's not that I haven't been reading... it's that I haven't been reading fiction.

Now and then I go on a non-fiction jag, usually with a theme.  This  one was on creativity, which explains rereading Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit (I need to buy this book), Annie Dillard's The Writing Life, Creativity for Life by Eric Maisel PhD, and The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People by another PhD, Carol Eikleberry.  Doesn't explain  Cinderella Ate My Daughter... but we'll get to that later.

Tharp's book, The Creative Habit,  is a must-read.  I first found it in June (post) and re-reading confirms its good advice.  Creative types need to establish routines and habits that support their work... a problem I'm struggling with myself.  Stomping-today's-fire keeps getting in the way of progress on my long term projects.  Gotta fix that.  Tharp, on the other hand, seems unflinchingly disciplined.  A little intimidating.

Dillard's The Writing Life is a book I've read about for years.  I finally grabbed a copy at Half Price Books (our jewel of a used bookstore chain).  Parts are pretty writer-specific, others are universal-creative... I liked her explanation of why writers usually ought to throw away their first few hundred pages, while painters have already painted over earlier, wrong-headed versions of their painting.

Eikleberry's Career Guide seems like useful book for anyone trying to figure out what to do with their creative impulses and whether there's a career in them somewhere.  It's supportive and realistic all at the same time.  Maisel's Creativity for Life, on the other hand, is deeply depressing.  (Mostly because so clearly true.)  Reading it, you want to self-medicate this antisocial and depressing "creative" condition...   Gee whiz.  Van Gogh might have found it useful though.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter, by Peggy Orenstein is an exploration of the pinkification of girlhood (read my take on Architect Barbie here and here.)  Maybe I can throw it into this "creativity" book group because of its discussion of pink Legos TM?  (An abomination: pink girlie sets mean you might as well label all the non-pink ones "Not For Girls.")  An interesting book.

I'd love to hear suggestions of other good design and creativity books.  I'm doing a lot of research on the subject...

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