Still Writing: the Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, Dani Shapiro
This book is a lovely, meandering look at what it means to be a writer, with plenty of advice for how to manage the beginnings, middles, and ends of the process. Towards the end of the book, Shapiro quotes advice from poet, Jane Kenyon, and adds a couple of her own bits of wisdom, into a collection of statements, worthy of printing off and pinning prominently near your workspace, that just about summarizes what this book is all about. I thoroughly enjoyed this and look forward to reading more of Shapiro’s work.
The Good Creative: 18 Ways to Make Better Art, Paul Jarvis
If you’ve read Paul Jarvis before, you’re probably familiar with his accessible, pithy style. More of the same here, all sorts of really useful, practical advice. A quick, enjoyable read.
Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity, Hugh MacLeod
Although it might not have been intended this way (though he does explicitly talk about it), this book is pretty much the handbook for people who make art while working a day job. As such, it’s full of empowering, common sense advice, in MacLeod’s usual no-BS style. Over on the right are 3 of my favourite of MacLeod’s 39 (actually, 40) keys to creativity. Super quick read, really enjoyed it.
Widow Basquiat, Jennifer Clement
A series of snippets from the lives of Jean Michel Basquiat and Suzanne Malouk, with the occasional account from Clement herself (a close personal friend of Malouk’s), this book is a really interesting account of the tumultuous relationship between Basquiat and his lover and muse, Malouk. I’ve been fascinated with Basquiat’s life and work for a long time, so I was probably somewhat predisposed to liking this book, but what I didn’t expect was the remarkable way Clement drew a window into the frenzy and excess of life in New York in the 1980s. So much of this story isn’t pretty or happy, but it’s told in a really compelling, compassionate way.