Refilling the Well
Cultivating creative wonder
One of my favorite things about having young kids around is how they treat every object in the house as part of some ongoing installation art piece. When it comes to their objects, nothing is off limits and everything makes some kind of sense. As a person who “aged” into organization, I do sometimes get frustrated with the mess. I also try to remind myself: the mess is part of the art. (Still, one of my favorite pieces of creative wisdom remains “When in doubt, tidy up” which I found via Austin Kleon’s Keep Going, originally from Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s “Oblique Strategies.”)
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this concept of refilling the well, and how important it is to make time and space for cultivating creative wonder. Yes, creativity can be hard work. But creative work is also very much like the work of my children installing art around the house: playful!
So this special bonus issue of The Conduit is devoted to 7 things that are filling my creative well this July. I hope at least one or two will feed your creativity during these long, hot days.
“Sip” | Volume 18 of Paranoid Tree, a micropress broadside delivered via postal mail semi-monthly. This recent issue is bright and juicy — perfect to quench your summer thirst.
Joni Mitchell singing “Summertime” at the Newport Jazz Festival | One of my longtime poetic/musical heros — I just can’t get enough of this video.
Johann Hari’s book Stolen Focus | I’m slowly making my way through Hari’s work and highly recommend it — his holistic views on cultural struggles fill me with hope and inspire me to invest more time in local community and make space for more down time.
Mary Gaitskill’s Substack Out of It, in particular her latest on “Political Writing” | I will follow this woman’s mind pretty much anywhere.
“Inside the Push to Diversify the Book Business” | New York Times Magazine. No easy answers, but plenty of incredible insight.
I’m re-reading Mia Alvar’s In the Country for class next week and am as usual in awe of her stories. Also, I posted my January - June reading list on the blog. 33 books! (If I have a reason to recommend getting off social media, it is this: more time for books!)
Rainbow Plant Life | In my (post-kids) search to balance the joys of cooking with the seemingly endless task of preparing meals, I discovered Nisha’s vegan meal prep videos and site. Seriously, I feel saved.
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