This is the first year that I’ve bought a lot of Christmas presents.

This is also the first year that I’ve made an effort to connect with people on their birthdays.

I’m sharing because the spirit of sharing is a spirit of generosity, of selflesslessness, of love.

It’s not a lot. Even just a card that’s relevant to your relationships – particularly handwritten – makes a difference.

I encourage you to embrace the spirit of the holidays by taking time for others and investing in them.

Remember, it’s the thought that counts.

In this interview with The New Yorker, Janelle Monáe talked about how the movie Metropolis defined her artistic journey. David Remnick indicated that he was familiar with the film, so I figured this was something I should familiarize myself with.

I assumed that it would likely be on some list, so I looked. My curiosity revealed that it’s a part of Time’s 100 all-time best movies. This list will keep you busy for a while finding new, highly regarded cinematic expressions.

Have fun.

In the past 6 or so months my individuality has flourished. I feel more confident with who I am, and I’m getting more comfortable with artistic expression. I’ve started a novel, I’m taking up drawing, I’m interested in doing some painting, and I’m looking more into design and collage.

I never would have guessed that my life would take this direction. But other artistic mediums are like writing in that they help you to discover yourself, and with self-knowledge being the basis of wisdom, it’s exciting to me to be equipped to uncover identity-nuggets.

Moreover, my openness has soared. Every day I find myself trying to discover new music, new artists, and new ideas. Pardon the cliché, but I’m like a sponge, soaking in the richness of life. It’s quite literally wonderful.

With this openness comes an inclination to devour books on artistry. Today, I want to share the 4 books that have helped me the most.

The 4 books that have helped me most on my creative journey

  1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
  2. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
  3. The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin
  4. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

It’s not a long, impressive list, but I think these books are really helpful. I’m excited to be on this path. I look forward to reading other books about creativity. I’m currently reading Stephen King’s memoir On Writing. And I’m looking forward to checking out Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, Lynda Barry’s Making Comics, Lisa Congdon’s Find Your Artistic Voice, and Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit.

I feel comfortable leaning into this work even though it has nothing to do with my vocation, local government management, because, as asserted in Adam Grant’s Originals, the most innovative people have creative hobbies.

“I’m too busy” means “It’s not a priority.”

You make time for what’s important to you.

Modern adult life compels us to always be doing things.

You must learn to put aside what “needs” to be done to do what matters.

This includes going to the gym, taking time for self-care and people you love, and doing the types of things you enjoy like scrapbooking or reading.

Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs in an interview with Song Exploder taught me something that I think about almost daily: there’s beauty in the imperfection.

Some songs have a sense of perfection. The artists have gone over each element to ensure exact pitch, tone, and melody. But as Skrillex says, a lack of quality gives a sense of warmth.

Nature isn’t perfect. Life isn’t perfect. They’re messy.

Art with a sense of imperfection perhaps echos their messiness – and in so doing, reflects their inherent beauty.

Next time you’re disappointed that something isn’t measuring up, you can keep this in your back pocket. Use it as a reminder that it’s often in the messiness that the best parts of the human experience are discovered.

 

 

I missed yesterday’s post because I was spending time with my family, so here’s a special Saturday edition. 

Take a moment and appreciate the family you have, the mentors that gave you a helping hand throughout your life, and the love you’ve felt. These are prime candidates for what to be most thankful for this holiday season, but the thing I’m most thankful for is something a little more unconsidered: resilience.

I’ve talked about how being resilient is a part of being a good person. It’s more than that, though; it’s critical for societal advancement.

In sociology, there’s a concept known as the “vicious cycle of poverty.” It means that if you’re in poverty you’re likely to stay there.

There’s more than a vicious cycle of poverty in America – the vicious cycle of poverty is perhaps a symptom of the many others. Millions of households are inflicted with vicious cycles of mental illness; alcoholism and drug abuse; and emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. These households, often lacking meaningful and sustained intervention, are the homes of the people in America that fall through the socio-economic cracks.

I’ve known the people in these homes.

Many didn’t make it out.

There are aunts and uncles on cocaine and meth. Sons that are taught that violence is an appropriate expression of emotion. Daughters who must undergo suffering from those they’re supposed to be able to trust most. And mothers too broken by their past, rendered too weak to stand up for themselves. So they watch on – dotingly – as those they cherish most commit felony offenses.

Here’s to the few that make it out.

Here’s to the ones fighting for equity, having felt society’s most powerful blows.

Here’s to the ones overcoming, becoming an example rather than a statistic.

Thank you, resilience, for creating the role models, advocates, and case studies the world needs.

 

 

We forget what it means to love someone unconditionally.

It means that we make a choice to love despite the shortcomings we see.

I’ve previously focused too much on how people in my life missed my expectations. They were a bit crude, they were loud, and they made life choices that I disagreed with, so I would reject and avoid them.

Today, I’ve learned to put aside my differences and appreciate the love that I do have – from both friends and family.

There’s always room for improvement, forever things to judge. This Thanksgiving I encourage you to remember that and accept the people in your life by appreciating what they do right.

They’re here for you now, after all.