The holiday season can be a great time to catch up on inspirational reading. I’ve a list of perennial favorites I recommend to my clients when they’re looking for books that provide a big return on their time investment.
High on that list is Julia Cameron’s best-selling book on creativity, The Artist’s Way. Cameron suggests that your Inner Artist loves to play and you need to provide it with regular play dates.
All artists need to have space and time where new experiences can generate new ideas–ideas that are safe from critical judgement so that they can fully blossom. She calls that process “Going on an Artist’s Date.” When you actively commit to doing something outside of your usual routine and engage in an by activity that suspends time and creates wonder (you know…play), sparks can be ignited that will fire up your own creative process.
One way you can play is by seeing a play. If you don’t usually attend live theater, now might be a good time to get some theatrical inspiration. It’s a great “artist’s date.” There is so much to delight in watching live theater. Not only because of the great performances but because so many of your senses are engaged in live theater; the sights, the sounds–and even smells–occurring in real time allow you to be more fully present and engaged than watching a film or TV.
The connection between photographers and actors is also interesting. Noted director, Peter Sellars says: “Theater gives you the chance to stop the flow of time.” Photographers obviouslyknow something about stopping time. Actors and photographers both have an instinctual understanding of the importance of stopping time so we can more deeply reflect on what is happening around us and its true meaning.
I heard that quote last night while listening to NPR. It was during , a great segment from Paul Kennedy’s program IDEAS. This episode was about Sellars’ productions of Shakespeare, who, he says, has created a world for us that is a “giant web of imagination.” It’s a broadcast well worth listening to–especially for anyone who’s curious about a director whose productions are often filled with a “profound humanity.”
You never know what career-enhancing creative gifts might also come from “playing.” Over twenty years ago, when Chicago photographer, Sandro Miller, was photographing Chicago’s famed Steppenwolf theater company, he and actor John Malkovich became friends and shared a creative synergy. Last month, Sandro’s exhibition Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich opened to a packed house at Catherine Eldelman Gallery in Chicago. For those who know the history of photography and for those who know Sandro’s journey, don’t miss it. It’s up through January 2015.
Now go play.