Monday, May 4, 2015

April Book Club - Creative is a Verb by Patti Digh

April's book for the monthly Blue Twig Studio book club is Creative is a Verb by Patti Digh. For this month, we read the first three chapters of the book. We'll be continuing this book for May and June as well. We are dividing the book into sections, so we have time to do some of the exercises in the book, as well.

Creative is a Verb by Patti Digh, front cover
Creative is a Verb, back cover

Patti Digh is an award-winning author of several business books, as well as the best sellers: Life is a Verb and Four Word Self Help,  She is also the author of the award-winning blog  She is funny, smart, and warm.

The back cover of the books reads:
    " Yearning to reclaim a creative spirit in your fantastic, unique life? . . . To live your whole
     life as art, not just the bits you draw on a canvas or embroider or sing?  Join Patti Digh in  
     a new kind of book that leads you by both heart and head to acknowledge, reinforce, and
     use your own creative spirit by teaching six creative commitments - Put Down Your Clever,
     Turn Around and  Look, Show Up Like Magic, Please Lick the Art, Stop Trying So Hard,
     and Ignore All Critics. Whether you're apt to say, "I don't have a creative bone in my body
     and really wish I were more creative," "I'm just a dabbler but would love to be a real artist
     or craftperson, " or "I'm an artist and would love to be known and respected," Creative is a
     Verb is for you. "

This month we read Part One: Art Fear, which includes the first three chapters of the book. The first chapter discussed how to Reclaim the Spark  Fear itself is a gift and not a burden, since it tells us important things. So to embrace fear and listen to what it tells us. Fear is a part of us, just like our shadow. When we know what we fear, we know what we most care about. So love fear; don't fear it. Claude Bristol said, "To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." Think about children - the first time they discover something, it's like a miracle; it's extraordinary. Therefore, we need to reclaim the extraordinary in the everyday.

In the second chapter, Digh tells us to Get Messy. She says to use the book gather unlined index cards,  a pair of scissors, a glue stick, a timer, some magazines to cut up, a rubber band, and a box of crayons. Keep it simple - use restriction as a friend and artfulness emerges from simplicity. This book will be about nurturing our creativity, since it is NOT a technique - it will be about turning every day into a joy and color and sound expedition - it's about waking up to the beauty around us - discovering the art that is my life - artfulness that only I can create; that is uniquely, incredibly mine. Every single moment of our life is an opportunity for creativity - even the darkest moments.

The third chapter tells us how to embrace the six creativity killers: (1) I work full time. (2) I don't have a good space in which to work. (3) I don't have the right materials. (4) I have no ideas. (5) I don't have any skill. And (6) They won't like it. Which one's apply to me?  My two biggest killers are (2) I don't have a good space and (6) they won't like it!  Instead of these, do I want my life to be a rambunctious story of uniqueness, imperfect beauty and abundance?  I can either own my circumstances and be creative in them or I can throw up my hands and give up! I have a choice!!  I may not be able to change my circumstances, but I CAN change how I am in them! I can open space for my own discoveries of how I see the world.

In the next six chapters (two months), Digh gives us two exercises. The first is Give Yourself 10. Using the simple supplies in "Get Messy," spend 10 minutes after reading each story either doing what's suggested or creating my own 10 minute exercise. Use my brain - IT HAS THINGS TO SAY AND DRAW!  The second exercise is Give Yourself 37. What if we only had 37 days to live? A life can be changed in 37 days. Change is that terrible, scary and fantastic place between insight and action. It can be hard, so note on the index cards what keeps me out of intention as well as my successes. What are my patterns?

When I finished Part One, I felt scared, excited and anxious! The 10 minute exercises I think will be doable, but 37 days?! That one scares me!! But I have to try! The last quote in Part One really speaks to me - I don't want this quote to apply to my life!!

     "Most of us go to our grave with our music still inside us." - Oliver Wendell Holmes.

I want my music to be sung in the world - to be shouted from the mountain tops - to be seen!! So as scary as this books seems, I need to not only Give Myself 10, but to Give Myself 37 and to embrace my fears!! To make art my life!! To make the everyday extraordinary!! That is my goal!!

I hope you'll join us in reading this book. I think it's going to be fun, scary, and challenging! Next month we'll be reading chapters 4, 5 and 6, the first three Creative Commitments of Section Two and doing the exercises.

Keep creating!

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