I enjoy good books. More so, if I find a good one, I like to tell people about it. I do this for two reasons: 1) Because I feel like the ideas in the book are worth sharing. 2) To give people more good books to read so they don’t have to waste time looking for them. That’s why I write these posts: To introduce people to good ideas.
I recently finished A Beautiful Anarchy: When The Life Creative Becomes The Life Created, by my friend and fellow photographer David Duchemin. I loved this book. Mostly because it’s not written for some of us but for all of us. This book is about being a creative human. Here are some of my favorite ideas and quotes from it.
What’s it about:
This book is about being free. Free from that lie that we’ve no doubt used and been told of “I’m just not really creative.” And it’s about what it looks like to be there in that freedom. How we can choose to live life on our own terms, to live intentionally, to live creatively, and make art with our lives.
Why Read it:
Because you’re a creative. I don’t just mean “you” because you get paid for being a creative. I mean you because you’re human. This book is about exploring the creative process on purpose (One of my favorite things about it) not just for creative professionals but everyone. Parents, designers, lawyers, teachers, doctors: We’re all creative and we all get to make art with our lives.
“… Anyone who persists in the idea that “I’m just not really creative” is unlikely to read this book, believing instead that the die has been cast and they’ve been excluded. They, of all people, need most to read it, and I hope they do.”
I had more than one favorite idea from this book:
One is the idea of your life as a blank canvas. You’re free to paint on the canvas with whatever you want and however you want. But, as David says, “Don’t you dare let it be blank.”
Another is the idea of “Waiting for The Knock.” The Knock is something David’s comedian friend refers to sometimes. Not knowing what he meant by it, David eventually asked:
“‘The knock?’ I once asked. ‘Yeah, you know, the knock. When someone comes to your dressing room and knocks and tells you they’ve discovered you have no talent and want you to leave’ Ah yes, the knock.”
We’re all waiting for the knock. We all feel like we’re faking it. So, I’m reading this and nodding along in agreement, then David says something I wasn’t expecting: “I am faking it.” He writes, “We all are. We’re all just making it up as we go.”
I didn’t see that coming but doesn’t it take the pressure off? Doesn’t it make you feel better to know that everybody else feels that way too becasue we are all faking it. We’re all making it up as we go because we’re in the business of making things that don’t exist. There is no right way…. Did I mention you should read this book?
(this could be the section where I copy and paste the whole book (Because it’s all a good quote) into here but because I think you should own it, I’ll be brief and just share the quotes that made me stop and take note. :))
“Come. Stop observing. Stop abdicating your life. Live a great story instead of just watching, telling, or dreaming them.”
“To do what we should in art is bondage.”
“For me, if owning the latest car or appliance means I give up the experience of travel, and the freedom to do my work, it comes at too high a cost. Most of us love the idea of having a choice until we’re told that choice means giving up one to have another. Some don’t realize it is a choice.”
“If you want to create more interesting, meaningful, beautiful songs, paintings, businesses, or meals, become a more interesting, meaningful, and beautiful person.”
“We seldom see the final painting with any clues over the frustration, boredom, and hours spent scraping the canvas and beginning again that it took to get there.”
“Whatever else it is, this is not a book about finances. But it is a book about the freedom to live your creative life to the fullest, and you’d be insane to believe that living in obedience to debt and under the tyranny of bill collectors is your best possible creative space.”
On Bad ideas- “You can’t judge the raw materials the way you evaluate a finished product.”
“Talent doesn’t qualify you to do your art. Doing your art is what qualifies you to do your art.”
Where to get it:
You can buy the Kindle book here: A Beautiful Anarchy: When The Life Creative Becomes The Life Created
And the beautiful paperback version here (with PDF): A Beautiful Anarchy: When The Life Creative Becomes The Life Created
I highly recommend this book to anyone who makes stuff for a living and needs a swift kick in the ass. If you’ve been thinking you can’t make anything worth while or thinking “why should anyone care what I have to make?” or “I’m not really creative.” Buy this book today. We need what you have to make and only you can make it.