In these strange and unsettling times, it can be important to direct your energy and state of mind towards the positive, one way to do this is to set aside time for creative projects. Creating something can pass the time in a meaningful and fulfilling way. People posting about baking, painting, renovating, writing, and more are demonstrating this well. To overcome the stress and anxiety, I personally have been spending time out on my porch working on hobbies and projects that I have had trouble finding the time for in the past, and its brought me some peace. I’ve also been using the time to find instruction and inspiration in the advice of other artists. The library has a variety of great sources that have been helping me and I know can help you to, know matter what the medium.
One book I have recently read is Creativity by Matthew Fox. It explores how the act of creation is humanity’s greatest gift. Fox presents the philosophies and viewpoints of the world’s religions, as well as scientific studies of the importance of creativity. It is an in-depth discussion of how thinking and living creatively can help individuals find purpose and meaning, while guiding societies towards egalitarianism, improved education, and environmental rejuvenation.
Another book I enjoyed was Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, written with warmth and humor, she investigates creativity. She presents not only her own experiences as a writer, but also interviews and researches artists she admires such as Tom Waits, Ann Patchett, and more. Her viewpoint on creativity and the “magic” people are capable of is thought provoking. If you enjoyed her book Eat, Pray, Love or any of her wonderful novels, you know that her writing is rich and evocative, if you’ve never read her before, you’re in for a treat. We also have the audio book, which is read by the author.
Priscilla Long’s Minding the Muse: Handbook for Painter’s Composers, Writer’s and Other Creators is a helpful guide filled with questions and exercises to help build skills and enhance your creative practice. This book is short and sweet, with insightful and practical advice.
If you want to write a book, anything from a novel to a memoir, there are several great books to get you started. Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne LaMotte’s Bird by Bird are written by exceptional authors who have experienced the joys and sorrows of the publishing world, they share their wisdom in the most charming and accessible way.
If you’re seeking a new hobby or your creative outlet is something else, our library and the libraries in our system have plenty of books to assist you in whatever endeavors you undertake. For example, if you’re planning to clean and organize your house, try Lovable, Livable Home by Sherry and John Petersik. If you are hoping to “spark joy” we have several of Marie Kondo’s books. To work on crafts that will beautify your home, try, The Complete Book of Homecrafts a guide to stenciling, decoupage, painting, picture frame making, and more.
For other artistic projects we have many books from which to choose. Perhaps you enjoy working with fabrics, take your pick from any of our many sewing, knitting, crochet, and other books, many with patterns included. Try the Quilter’s Complete Guide, Stitch n’ Bitch: A Knitter’s Handbook, or The Hero’s Closet: Sewing for Cosplay and Costuming to get your needle moving. For visual artists, try Chinese Brushwork, The New Spirit of Watercolor, The Painting and Drawing Course, or How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. Try your hand at beading with The Impatient Beader Gets Inspired. Want to do wood work that could get the little ones excited, try The Beastly book of Dinosaur Action Toys.
Need a break from the crafting and baking savants on your Facebook and Instagram accounts who are making you jealous? Have a laugh with comedian Amy Sedaris’s hilarious and subversive Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People. Or if you’re trying to figure out what to do with all the stuff lying around your house, Junk Genius: Stylish Ways to Repurpose Everyday Objects it has over eighty projects to keep you busy.
-Carnegie Library Bookwyrm -Alissa Bandy