Books I love and recommend

There are many great books related to creativity. Here are a few I recommend.

The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All 
Tom Kelley and David Kelley

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Steven Pressfield

Making Art a Practice: 30 Ways to Paint a Pipe (How to Be the Artist You Are)
Cat Bennet


Terrific TED talks and videos

There are countless terrific TED talks and videos. Here are a few that I highly recommend.

Brené Brown is my hero. She is brilliant, inspiring and a fantastic presenter. She has helped millions of people to understand that when you allow yourself to be vulnerable it leads to living a whole-hearted, rich life. 

  1. TEDxHouston, Listening to Shame (2010)
  2. TED (2012) — her follow-up talk on Listening to Shame
  3. 3. If you can’t get enough, also listen to her RSA talk on The Power of Vulnerability
  4. And, you can learn about RSA here.

David Kelley is the co-author of Creative Confidence, noted above. His TED talk, How to Build Your Creative Confidence, will whet your appetite for the excellent book that David co-authored with his brother, Tom Kelley.

Shawn Achor’s TED Talk, The Happy Secret to Better Work is a great talk about happiness and includes wonderful, simple ways to increase happiness.

Neil Pasricha presents an inspiring TED talk called The 3 A's of AwesomeIf you’re wondering about the power of gratitude, this is just the ticket.

This video of John Cleese giving a lecture on Creativity is simply brilliant. He presents 5 factors to make your life more creative, and does so with his signature humor and great insight.

Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED talk, My stroke of insight, is a fascinating and enlightening talk by a brain scientist who had a massive stroke and lost the facilities in the left hemisphere of her brain. Her description of what she experienced as the stroke began, and what she learned about how the right and left hemispheres of all of our brains work, are specific and amazing. I’m about to listen to her narration of the audio book, My Stroke of Insight, and am eager to learn much more.

Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk is titled Do Schools Kill Creativity?. He has a breezy style while sharing big, thought-provoking ideas. He makes a compelling case that creativity is as important as literacy, describes the way we “grow out” of creativity as we go through the educational system, and much more.

A new TEDx talk brilliant extends some of the ideas inSir Ken Richardson's TED talk, but with a unique spin. Thirteen-year-old Logan LaPlante brilliantly lays out the case for (and components entailed in) Hacking Education for a Happy, Healthy Life. He has great things to say about creativity, too.  

J.K Rowling first focused on the benefits of failure, and then the importance of imagination, in her commencement speech at Harvard in 2008. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

In her TED talk, Your Elusive Creative GeniusElizabeth Gilbert (author of the best-selling book Eat Pray Love) reflects on the expectations for artists and geniuses in the wake of unexpected success. She shares her compelling experiences about what it's like for her to create, as well as her engaging ideas about how creativity works.

I was delighted to receive a link to this TEDx talk, Simple Gratitude, by Louie Schwartzberg, who is an award-winning filmmaker after writing my blog post on gratitude. His talk addresses  — and shows — the majesty and impact of nature, and how it sheds light on happiness. The bottom line is all about gratitude.


A wonderful quote from Anne Lamott 

”Oh my God, what if you wake up some day and you‘re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen."


Music

This could be an enormous list, but if I had to choose just one song, it would be John Lennon's Imagine.


Poetry I love

Here are just 4 of many, many poems that I love. In fact, I have begun writing my own poetry of late. I hope you enjoy them all.

 

True Joy

Release the past
Release the pain
Look forward
Smile

This place
Is where I’m meant to be
My true calling
My destiny

To be in joy
To bring on joy
To celebrate
Me

Excited
Amazed
Open
Is who I want to be

Ready for a 
New adventure
Diving into the unknown 
Rising 
Up
Up
Up
And taking the world
Along for the ride.

– Peleg Top


Beyond borders

Go forth
Because we are always going forth from somewhere

Going from our homes
Going from our childhoods and younger selves
Going from our cities and states and countries
Going from innocence to experience to enlightenment

Finding borders
Testing borders
Crossing borders.

Go forth
into the night
Because we are always going into some night,

Going into mystery
Going into questions
Going into the desert
Getting to the other side.

Go forth,
Eagerly or reluctantly
Leaving behind the comfort and joy and community and
familiarity of one place
Go forth, into the anxiety and sadness and loneliness and
strangeness of some other place.

Carry with you the love and laugther of this place
And let it light your spirit and your life and your way
as you make your journey.
Carry with you the wisdom you learned and the good memories of this place
And may they give you strength for your journey.

And when you have been away long enough,
far enough,
Done what you set off to do
Been there so long that
That place too, starts to feel like home.

Come back.
Come back.
Come back to the one, universal,
Everywhere and every when and everyone inclusive home,
This beloved community of all creation
That you cannot ever really leave.

– Rick Hoyt


Listen to the MUSTN’TS

Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
    
Listen to the DON’TS
    
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WON’TS
    Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me —
    Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.

– Shel Silverstein, Where The Sidewalk Ends


I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill 
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom. 

– Maya Angelou


Please check back as I will be adding entries to this page. I'd also love to hear what you suggest, so drop me a line with your favorites.

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The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
— Sylvia Plath