Creative process via books

I have two theories about books:

1. I LOVE my public library – I always make a beeline to the new books non-fiction section, and consider the gods are smiling on me when there is a brand new book sitting there that is 100% applicable to my interests… and funnily enough, it happens more often than it doesn’t. But maybe that just reflects optimism and an open mind 😉
I’ve started to suspect my public library is also a conduit to encourage my habit of buying more books!
I’m not too fussed by returning books overdue, I consider it to be a useage tax i.e. if I really love a book and don’t want to return it yet, then I am happy to pay extra. No doubt the money is put to good use – maybe its an oblique way that I can help support the library (& sorry for any incovenience if someones reserved it)
But back to my theory, if I do end up with significant fines on a book, I pay them & leave thinking ‘I might as well buy that book…’ as I likely still haven’t finished with it… so the library becomes a starting point for finding a book locally if its available, or via Amazon if it isn’t, or if its a book I dont need or want to have in physical form then its the kindle version. I am yet to own an actual Kindle, but suspect this new generation will be the one, for now the Kindle app on my iPad is the entry point…
Anyway, short version of theory 1: libraries are great book sellers. They should be rewarded for this.

2. A good book store is like a good record store: Its not that they can get you anything, or everything – its that they have an interesting, curated selection.
IMHO the best DJs and producers excel due to their selection, their taste, and their aesthetics. Same applies to a good record store – they are rare (& to be savoured) for vinyl as they are for books. But online? Are there curated music stores online? (Or is that what a record label is now?)

Anyway, results of theory 2 is the following two books.

A dear friend had his 50th birthday earlier in the week so I thought about a present to buy him…
& decided on a book, this one:

CreativeBook1

HOW TO BE AN EXPLORER OF THE WORLD by Keri Smith

Luckily one of NZs best bookstores UNITY Books had a copy, but to illustrate theory 2, in the same category they also had a book that I bought for myself as it instantly appealed, this one:

CreativeBook02

THE ART OF CRITICAL MAKING by Somerson & Hermano

And right there is the value of the idea of providing ‘related’ feedback ie I appreciate the advice of the person who silently grouped those two books together. So in kind, I did whatever the equivalent is for ‘digging in the crates’ for similar books in my own collection and these are what I found/own/reccomend on the subject of creative process:

CreativeBook07

ART FROM START TO FINISH by Howard Becker, Robert Faulkener & Barabara Kirshenblatt-Gilmblett

CreativeBook06

WHAT I TALK ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUNNING by Haruki Murikami

CreativeBook08

DAMN GOOD ADVICE (for people with talent!) by George Lois

CreativeBook10

BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott

CreativeBook11

ART & FEAR – Observations on the perils (& rewards) of Art Making by David Bayles & Ted Orland

CreativeBook03

THE CREATIVE PROCESS – Reflections on invention in the Arts and Sciences by Brewster Ghiselin

CreativeBook04

MAKING CONTEMPORARY ART by Linda Weintraub

CreativeBook09

ITS NOT HOW GOOD YOU ARE, ITS HOW GOOD YOU WANT TO BE by Paul Arden

And lastly,

CreativeBook05

CATCHING THE BIG FISH by David Lynch

 

All of these books have been part of a long term course of study for me, for my work in film and in my own work & personal projects. And while on a daily basis I sometimes dont feel like I am making much progress, when I think back to where I was at when starting this blog in 2006 I feel a bit better about evolution. And if you’re only a recent reader here, three older posts that imho are worth revisting are from my earlier research into actually finishing work:

How to Finish 1/3 : Inspiration
How to Finish 2/3 : Development
How to Finish 3/3: Completion

Is there an insightful, philosophical book you’ve read about creativity & making art?
Let me know in the comments!

4 Responses to Creative process via books

  1. georgi says:

    What a fantastic list! Here are a few I’ve discovered that just might jump a bar this high. While not strictly _about_ the creative process, they have a powerful ability to influence it, certainly have done so for me. Deep wells of inspiration:

    “The Art of Looking Sideways” – chaotic, inspiring, but so rewarding for a “visual scrapbook”.

    “A Geometry of Music” – a strangely compelling, different and kind of overwhelming, technical take on music theory

    “Sonic Experience” – underrated and inaccurate-at-places, but inspiring dictionary of sonic/perceptual effects.

    “Ocean of Sound” – David Toop’s atmospheric account of ambient sound and scene.

    (John Berger’s) “Ways of Seeing” – obligatory yet either everyone has read it by now or nobody ever raves about it.

    and maybe “Creative Mischief” by Dave Trott

  2. Pingback: Tim Prebble – Sound Designer and Composer | Three things to read, watch, and use

  3. Jan says:

    A book that had a big influence on my way of thinking was “The Universal Traveller”. Genius book. Way ahead its time! It changed alot.

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of you company name or keyword spam.