As I'm getting ready for our workshop tonight, I wanted to share some books to get your creative juices going. Most of these I have read, a few I haven't, but have for specific creative reasons (which I will explain). I also wanted to share to show you that there are many books out there that people may not view as creative, but really almost any book can get "creative" juices going (either because you agree or disagree with what it's saying, giving you something to write about). I spent many times in college worshiping Jesus through reading textbooks about child psychology or boring early American literature, while getting my thoughts going.
These are a few of the books I'm choosing to take tonight. We are going to do a little "First we read, then we write" activity. We'll each pick a book and read through it for about 10 minutes, taking down any notes, creative thoughts, or ideas that are sparked while reading. Then we'll provide time to expand on one thought. First, they're picking a book to read, then they're writing about whatever the heck came to mind while writing. (Yes, this is totally a preview to any of you guys that are coming tonight!! ;) )
So, from top to bottom:
The Christian's Secrets of a Happy Life : This is one I haven't read. I have it because I often turn to my best friend's mom for suggestions on creative books when my creative well is dry. (She writes like me, only much more seriously at this point than I do! GO JEN!) This is one of the books she told me to grab over a year ago when I was in college and trying to figure out what my life as a Christian writer/artist of any kind looked like, and if that was even what God was calling me to. I plan on getting around to it eventually. I've also heard the title is much cheesier sounding than the book itself.
A Poetry Handbook : This was one of the two "textbooks" required when I took my poetry class last Spring. Very simple straight forward book on all the how-to's about poetry. Anyone who doesn't know a thing about poetry could pick this up and learn. I am a truly tone-deaf poet. I couldn't scan a line of poetry to save my life, but this book was very helpful on teaching me to use other sound devices in poetry to keep a beat going. Also, I love Mary Oliver's poetry! I'm not too big into many poets that are still living (I mean, who is? ;) It's cooler to read their stuff once they've died. Ha!), but on our last weekend trip to SLC I picked up her poetry book, A Thousand Mornings, and was really in love with it! I also follow her on twitter (haha) and really enjoy reading one liners from her poems every now and then.
How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One: This was the other "textbook" required for my upper division poetry class. I guess you could say this is more for the grammarian, which was helpful for me because I'm not too much of a grammarian. I'm a creative writer, not a technical writer, but I need grammar to polish up any creative writing, so this was a good one for those sort of things!
About Time : This is one of my nerdier books, but it just goes to show you how science can help in the area of creativity! I can't actually remember if I've read it, but I believe I've scanned it. For a while there I was really in to studying the theory of time because of a poem I was writing. I was amazed at the idea that time is slower (or faster? I don't remember now) the more you travel away from the earth. See, I may even have this wrong, but the whole idea of that being possible is so fascinating to me! So I got this book to help me understand it, and hopefully help add to my poetry writing. Research totally helps add meat to your writing!
The Prayers of Kierkagaard : For my notebooks and journaling class, I had to pick an artist's notebook to read and present on. I was going to do this one, but somebody else in the class got to it before I did. (I ended up presenting on Pascal's Pensees another great Christian artist, writer, inventor who I think I get to teach on a bit in this semester's School of Worship! woohoo) Even though this is debated, Kierkegaard is regarded as a Christian in some circles, but he was also dabbling into Existentialism (I wish my hubby was home so I could confirm that). Either way, his book of prayers is esentially just like my prayer journal that I (try) to write in every morning, but it's so cool to look into the heart of another artist calling on God to infuse their art! So, so cool!
Alright, well that's lots of books to chew on for now. I'll share more in the future (literally, shelves and shelves more), as I really enjoy the sharing of books that influence creativity in people's lives. Any suggestions out there? :) I hope you guys can stop by the library this weekend and pick something up! :) Remember, there is always, always, always something inspiring in God's Word too! Psalm 45:1 says, "My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe." I love, love, love this verse and bring it up lots in the workshop because it just reminds me of the endless themes we have in God's Word to write about and meditate on for creativity. You could never exhaust any numbers of pens or pages just exploring the topic of God's grace towards us, and that's just ONE of thousands and thousands of topics. Anyways, so always remember to go to God's Word first for creative inspiration! Ask the Holy Spirit, and He will inspire!