Whenever I’m feeling a little down or stuck in a melancholy state, I start combing the shelves for a book. Sometimes it’s a light read, maybe a children’s story, or one or two poems from some of my favorites.
I love books and always have. You can ask my family. They rarely see me without one.
Nothing compares to the deckled edge of a finely printed book. The musty smell of books in a library or used bookstore restores your faith in the world. Yes, that may sound a bit bizarre. How else could you transport yourself from the mundane to a world of wonder in a single afternoon?
When I find myself longing for something to arouse my creativity, I turn to books. My prescription—binge-read one of my favorite creatives, a remarkable young artist and writer, Austin Kleon. His blog posts and books exemplify the freedom often dormant in our imagination.
Austin’s creative spirit and eclectic interests make him unique. He describes himself as an artist who writes.
One of his small square books provides the cure when I’m feeling uninspired and critical of my creative efforts. His words and art make me smile. This week I turned to Show Your Work, opened a random page, and found a highlighted gem.
Yet a life of creativity is all about change—moving forward, taking chances, exploring new frontiers.
Austin doesn’t direct his words to well-known artists or writers. No, he’s talking to us ordinary folk, those of us who dabble with paints or words for ourselves or maybe to make a difference, however small, in the world. All of us can explore.
Then, it struck me. Here is a writer half my age, but his insights, musings, and ability to tell a story influenced me.
Teachers of all ages surround us. Some are younger, others similar in age. Many bring years of experience and reflection to our doorstep. All of them shape our thoughts. We evolve into ourselves.
That’s what a book can do.
National Poetry Month still consumes my writing. Here is a short one for you, “Hidden Hopes Look for a Home.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk on “The danger of a single story” will cause you to wonder about the stories that shape our perspective.
I love Blackbird by the Beatles, but I came across this version by Emma Stevens singing it in the indigenous language of Mi’kmaq.
“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”
Find a little wonder this week. Look up close.
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