My main takeaway from this talk is that I need to just DO the things I think & dream about. Bridget Watson Payne is an editor at Chronicle Books here in SF; she is also an author, a mom, an artist, and a retail store owner. Although she begins and ends her talk speaking about the impact of her mother's death and how that has compromised her ability to get as much done, Bridget is a force of creativity! I had missed the live version of this talk and am so glad that CreativeMornings shared the video — I was incredibly inspired by how Bridget simply goes and does and makes and creates. ⭐️
There were times while reading this book (and the three others in the series), that I found myself grinning. It's a charming mystery set in the Regency period (my fave — it's the time period when Jane Austen was writing) with a shy spinster as the main character. She comes upon a murder, finds her voice, solves a mystery, and flirts with a duke along the way. Absolute sparkling joy in book form.
Having spent most of this last year in a place of uncertainty with my career and what exactly I want to do next, I am drawn to articles, books, and advice on how to get through times like these. Although this article is about the design process and the Constructivist method of learning ("we are natural learners, constantly processing the world in order to create our own understanding"), it is also true for times of uncertainty. You research and plan as best you can, but then you always encounter a period of time where you're not certain how the future will unfold. As a designer, I've been part of this creative process my entire career — now I see how I can use this as a framework of understanding to apply to my career as a whole.
The host of this podcast, Tom Bilyeu, is pragmatic and practical and sees achievement as the result of determination, effort, and hard work. Bilyeu describes himself as "logical" and guest Kute Blackson as "poetic." But starting at 37:10(ish), Blackson — the son of a preacher who stepped off his father's planned path to find his own life's purpose — clarifies that being "poetic" is not living with a gauzy sense of time and simply going with the flow, it's taking radical responsibility, living deeply in the moment, and recognizing that if we don't limit ourselves, we may achieve more than we had even dreamed.
Purchase on Amazon (only place I could find it for sale online).
This novel is magical. In simple language (it was originally written in Swedish), the author paints scenes of a summer on a small island in the Gulf of Finland. There is a grandmother, old and ailing but kind, cranky, and still interested in small adventures, and her granddaughter, young, obstinate, and determined. The young girl's father is around too but only as the merest of supporting characters. There is no plot, simply the passage of time following these two characters through a hot summer in a setting teeming with nature. It's magical, real, philosophical, and wise.
I first became aware of Mark Ronson with the sudden and stunning appearance of Amy Winehouse on the music scene. After that, I followed his solo career as a producer and have generally enjoyed his music. However, things I learned in this doc that I didn't know: he was a NY hip hop kid, he was engaged to Rashida Jones in the early 2000s, and he is a genuine behind-the-scenes music star who seemingly has worked with both old-school greats along with whoever's up-and-coming now.
I have so much respect for Jonathan Van Ness. Originally, it was founded in his charmingly kooky presentation and unbelievable way with words. Then, as I watched more episodes of Queer Eye, I came to see that at the root, he is an intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate human with a lot of grit. Having read the New York Times article (an interview timed with the publication of JVN's memoir), I can see where his foundation comes from — he built it himself.
After making big changes in my work life over the last year, I've had to deal with the many, small, repercussive changes that followed. I made the decision to make one big change, but I don't think I was fully prepared for how many smaller changes would also result. I wish I'd read this post by Leo Babauta months ago! Instead, I've done it all on my own (with my partner and friends to support me), and a lot of times I've felt like I'm stumbling around without forward motion to show for it. The last part of the post, Key Skills in Creating Shift, reinforced what I have slowly (and painfully) come to figure out on my own — small steps are better than none at all and self compassion is key. 🔑
I inhaled the first season of Abstract — a series of short docs about a graphic designer, an interior designer, an illustrator, a photographer, and four more creative professionals. It's so right up my alley — learning all about how artists work and grow and became who they are. I am late to the game in appreciating Ruth Carter — I learned about her only after I saw Black Pantherand fell in love with its characters' cool looks. In season 2 of Abstract, I immediately skipped to her episodeandloved it. She's a reader and researcher who loves libraries and writes stories with costumes. I'd really love for someone to do a full-length documentary on her life because it felt like this one could barely fit in her lengthy career, and there was only time for a little bit about her childhood and personal life. It was great, but more, please! 😁
Keep Going is the third book in Austin Kleon's series that started with Steal Like an Artist and was followed by Show Your Work! I love his style in general — handwriting, collages, blackout poems, great quotes — and this book is the best of the three IMHO. I originally got it from the library and then bought my own copy because I could tell that reading it once wasn't going to be enough. I'm at a new point in my creative life and career, and the messages of this book are just what I need to hear — about hope, perseverance, and art as a fun and meaningful part of your everyday life.
BONUS PODCAST LINK: A great conversation between Austin and Jonathan Fields on the Good Life Project podcast, talking about the book and about living creative lives.