Filling the Well: Sources of Inspiration

Books and documentaries are a big part of my life, especially those produced by artists willing to give us an inside view of how they go about living a creative life. For this holiday, I want to share a few of my favorites, starting with “Twyla Tharp The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life.”

Twyla writes“…..being creative is an everyday thing, a job with its own routines. It is not a once-in-a-while sort of thing. These routines are as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration (perhaps more so). After a while being creative becomes a habit.”

PBS holds a rich treasure chest of radio interviews and documentaries. Studio 360, a PBS Peabody Award-winning radio show, is produced by Julie Burstein and hosted by Kurt Andersen. Kurt entertains and educates us through his on-air discussions with artists – like Yo-Yo Ma, Chuck Close and Isabel Allende – about their creative process. Julie wrote, “Spark: How Creativity Works,” which is a collection of interviews.

One of my favorite books is “Maya Lin: Boundaries.” Many years ago my Mom and I were talking the emotional impact of art and coming up with examples, like the tear-inducing experience at Maya Lin’s Washington, DC Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This book was a thoughtful Christmas gift from my Mom who remembered our conversation – thanks Mom!

And, if you haven’t seen the documentary about how this public sculpture struggled to be born, go to Premiere Video (5400 E. Mockingbird Lane) and rent the documentary, “Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision.” You’ll watch her win the blind competition while she was still an undergraduate student (which was a surprise to the Selection Committee of seasoned professionals!) and then have the backbone to bring it to life.

Any of these would make good gifts for the creative people in your life. I have them in my library and grab them, savor them whenever I need a little bit of inspiration.

I’m signing out to celebrate this year and next with friends near and far…be back in January 2012.

Wishing all of you a Happy Holiday.