We have the grand honor of being conduits for divine imagination. Thus not only do we embrace all that's freely given to us - the very definition of gratefulness - we also magnanimously participate in developing and fulfilling this gift. To that end we offer this list of books to help us connect with and cultivate our creative gifts.
The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion (2015)
by Elle Luna
Who hasn’t asked the question “How can I find and follow my true calling?” Elle Luna frames this moment as “standing at the crossroads of Should and Must.” “Should” is what we feel we ought to be doing, or what is expected of us. “Must” is the thing we dream of doing, our heart’s desire. And it was her own personal journey that inspired Elle Luna to write a brief online manifesto that, in a few short months, has touched hundreds of thousands of people who’ve read it or heard Elle speak on the topic. Now Ms. Luna expands her ideas into an inspirational, highly visual gift book for every recent graduate, every artist, every seeker, every career changer.
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Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts-For Actors, Performers, Writers, and Artists of Every Kind (2006)
by by Anna Deavere Smith
From the most exciting individual in American theater” (Newsweek), here is Anna Deavere Smith’s brass tacks advice to aspiring artists of all stripes. In vividly anecdotal letters to the young BZ, she addresses the full spectrum of issues that people starting out will face: from questions of confidence, discipline, and self-esteem, to fame, failure, and fear, to staying healthy, presenting yourself effectively, building a diverse social and professional network, and using your art to promote social change. At once inspiring and no-nonsense, Letters to a Young Artist will challenge you, motivate you, and set you on a course to pursue your art without compromise.
Practicing: A Musician’s Return to Music (2008)
by Glenn Kurtz
In a remarkable memoir written with insight and humor, Glenn Kurtz takes us from his first lessons at the age of eight to his acceptance at the elite New England Conservatory of Music. After graduation, he attempts a solo career in Vienna but soon realizes that he has neither the ego nor the talent required to succeed and gives up the instrument, and his dream, entirely. But not forever: Returning to the guitar, Kurtz weaves into the narrative the rich experience of a single practice session. Practicing takes us on a revelatory, inspiring journey: a love affair with
My Favorite Things (2014)
by Maira Kalman
From the author of the bestsellers The Principles of Uncertainty and The Elements of Style, comes this beautiful pictorial and narrative exploration of the significance of objects in our lives, drawn from her personal artifacts, recollections, and selections from the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. With more than fifty original paintings and featuring bestselling author and illustrator Maira Kalman’s signature handwritten prose, My Favorite Things is a poignant and witty meditation on the importance of both quotidian and unusual objects in our culture and private worlds.
The Desire Map (2014)
by Danielle LaPorte
With The Desire Map, Danielle LaPorte brings you a holistic life-planning tool that will revolutionize the way you go after what you want in life. Unapologetically passionate and with plenty of warm wit, LaPorte turns the concept of ambition inside out and offers an inspired, refreshingly practical workbook for using the Desire Map process.
The Inspired Heart: An Artist’s Journey of Transformation (2002)
by Jerry Wennstrom
Jerry Wennstrom was a rising star in the New York art world when he decided that the ultimate creative leap was to destroy his large body of art, give away all of his possessions, and spend the next 10 years wandering, seeking, listening, and trusting God to take care of him.
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (2012)
by Betty Edwards
Translated into more than seventeen languages, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is the world’s most widely used drawing instruction book. Whether you are drawing as a professional artist, as an artist in training, or as a hobby, this book will give you greater confidence in your ability and deepen your artistic perception, as well as foster a new appreciation of the world around you.
The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery (2015)
by Sarah Lewis
From celebrated art historian, curator, and teacher Sarah Lewis, a fascinating examination of how our most iconic creative endeavors—from innovation to the arts—are not achievements but conversions, corrections after failed attempts. The gift of failure is a riddle: it will always be both the void and the start of infinite possibility. The Rise—part investigation into a psychological mystery, part an argument about creativity and art, and part a soulful celebration of the determination and courage of the human spirit—makes the case that many of the world’s greatest achievements have come from understanding the central importance of failure.
Writing Down the Bones; Freeing the Writer Within (2005)
by Natalie Goldberg
Whether you’re an experienced writer or a novice, Goldberg’s book offers seasoned guidance for letting your ideas flow.
The Artist’s Way (2002)
by Julia Cameron
A program “to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity.
Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life (2014)
by Dani Shapiro
From Dani Shapiro, bestselling author of Devotion and Slow Motion, comes a witty, heartfelt, and practical look at the exhilarating and challenging process of storytelling. At once a memoir, a meditation on the artistic process, and advice on craft, Still Writing is an intimate companion to living a creative life. Writers—and anyone with an artistic temperament—will find inspiration and comfort in these pages. Offering lessons learned over twenty years of teaching and writing, Shapiro shares her own revealing insights to weave an indispensable almanac for modern writers.
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