Book Flight – Unconfuse Your Thinking

Book Flight – Unconfuse Your Thinking

Whether these books are old friends or new acquaintances, savor the ideas included in this book flight the way you might enjoy a flight of chocolate or fine cheese. How might slowing down and sampling a range of ideas in relation to one another reveal new insight?

Six Thinking Hats Cover

SIX THINKING HATS

Edward De Bono

 
PAGE THROUGH FOR:

Practical Thinking Tools * Collaboration Strategies * Clarity

A LINGERING NOTE:

“The main difficulty of thinking is confusion. We try to do too much at once. Emotions, information, logic, hope, and creativity all crowd in on us. It is like juggling with too many balls.”

The Right Word Cover

THE RIGHT WORD: ROGET AND HIS THESAURUS

Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

 
PAGE THROUGH FOR:

Backstory on Roget * Inspiration * Word Play and Visual Delight

A LINGERING NOTE:

“But Peter’s word lists were not just scribbles. Words, Peter learned, were powerful things. And when he put them into long, neat rows, he felt as if the world itself clicked into order.”

Designing Your Life Cover

DESIGNING YOUR LIFE

Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

 
PAGE THROUGH FOR:

Optimism * Design Thinking * Goal Setting and Problem-Solving Tools

A LINGERING NOTE:

Our brains are so tightly wired to be critical, find problems, and leap to judgment that it’s a wonder any ideas ever make it out! We have to defer judgment and silence the inner critic if we want to get all our ideas out. If we don’t, we may have a few good ideas, but the majority will have been lost—silently imprisoned behind the wall of judgment our prefrontal cortex has erected to safeguard us from making mistakes or looking foolish.”

TOGETHER:

Fresh perspective on the value of thinking about our thinking, and tools for doing so effectively.

Book Flight
I’M LEFT CONSIDERING:

How might I sort out thinking tasks and develop personal, customized

thinking tools as an antidote to my inner critic? What tools might serve

as a flashlight to illuminate the dark corners of my mind where fear 

lurks? How might I think about my thinking just enough to give 

my subconscious structure and freedom within which to play? 

HEADS UP!

Secret passageway below ↓↓↓

 

Book Flight – Find Your You-Shaped Space

Book Flight – Find Your You-Shaped Space

Whether these books are old friends or new acquaintances, savor the ideas included in this book flight the way you might enjoy a flight of chocolate or fine cheese. How might slowing down and sampling a range of ideas in relation to one another reveal new insight?

Mary Alice Operator Number Nine Cover

MARY ALICE OPERATOR NUMBER NINE

Jeffrey Allen

 
PAGE THROUGH FOR:

Laughter * Encouragement * Whimsy

A LINGERING NOTE:

“Dear Mary Alice, No one can do the job the way you do, not even me. Welcome back to work. Signed, Nancy Chicken, your grateful boss.”

Steal Like an Artist Cover

STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST

Austin Kleon

 
PAGE THROUGH FOR:

Practical Strategies * Renewed Creative Energy * A Fresh Mindset

A LINGERING NOTE:

“A wonderful flaw about human beings is that we’re incapable of making perfect copies. Our failure to copy our heroes is where we discover where our own thing lives. That is how we evolve.”

Dear Genius Cover

DEAR GENIUS

edited by Leonard S. Marcus

 
PAGE THROUGH FOR:

Stories of Fellow Writers and Artists * Common Sense Reminders * Encouragement

A LINGERING NOTE (NORDSTROM TO MAURICE SENDAK):

Sure, Tolstoy and Melville have a lot of furniture in their books and they also know a lot of facts…but that isn’t the only sort of genius, you know that. You are more of a poet in your writing, at least right now … You write and draw from the inside out—which is why I said poet.”

TOGETHER:

A powerful reminder that there’s only one you. By viewing yourself in relation to others, you gain perspective on the unique qualities that make your voice your own.

Book Flight
I’M LEFT CONSIDERING:

Which artists do I resemble in genre, tone, and sensibility? What might I learn about my creative voice by reflecting on our similarities? What might I learn from observing our differences, especially when it comes to the nuances of what we each have to offer? 

HEADS UP!

Secret passageway below ↓↓↓

 

Book Flight – Live Your Epic Story

Book Flight – Live Your Epic Story

Whether these books are old friends or new acquaintances, savor the ideas included in this book flight the way you might enjoy a flight of chocolate or fine cheese. How might slowing down and sampling a range of ideas in relation to one another reveal new insight?

The Hero is You

THE HERO IS YOU

Kendra Levin

PAGE THROUGH FOR:

Perspective on the Creative Journey * Inviting Exercises * Encouragement

A LINGERING NOTE:

“When you have a passion for writing that compels you to create, you live in a constant state of rigorous exploration. Each project begins a new adventure and a new opportunity to push your boundaries, and discover hidden layers of riches inside you.”

The Hero is You

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM

Kobi Yamada

PAGE THROUGH FOR:

Whimsy * Narrative that Echoes Life * Growth Mindset

A LINGERING NOTE:

“When I got face to face with it, I discovered something. My problem wasn’t what I thought it was. I discovered it had something beautiful inside.”

The Hero is You

THE WAND IN THE WORD

edited by Leonard S. Marcus

PAGE THROUGH FOR:

Conversations with Fantasy Writers * View of Deeper Layers in Story * Magic

A LINGERING NOTE:

“Fantasy allows you to step outside our world and look at it with a bit of perspective. It can take something in our world , for instance ‘identity,’ which has only an abstract reality, and it can make it palpable…Corinna thinks she’s a Folk Keeper but she’s really a seal maiden…There’s a connection between the inner story—the story of who she is—and the outer story—the story of her physical identity.” – Frannie Billingsley

TOGETHER:

An invitation to see life’s ups and downs as part of what makes the story memorable and meaningful.

Book Flight
I’M LEFT CONSIDERING:

How might I keep the inner story, the one that reveals the hidden layer of riches inside me, more visible? How might I lean into the beauty inside my challenges, elevating everyday experiences so that I feel their true value more fully in real time rather than only in hindsight?

HEADS UP!

Secret passageway below ↓↓↓

How to Improvise: A Book Flight

How to Improvise: A Book Flight

For a long time, I didn’t understand improvisation. I thought it was the art of being hilarious on the spot, and the thought terrified me. When I (finally) dared to learn more about improv, I learned that improvisation was, in fact, terrifying, but not for the reasons I first believed. To improvise well, a player must let go and step into the unknown. In improv, we must listen to our fellow players, say yes to their ideas and add our own.

Improv taught me that play invites us to see past our masks and defenses to the truth of who we are. In spontaneous flashes, we tap into our intuition and discover that we know a lot more about the human experience than we might at first believe. Once I saw the transformative power of improvisation, I was hooked. I’ve been studying the art of improv ever since. 

This book flight offers a variety of perspectives on the art of improv. The four titles include activities, games, stories, and of course, wisdom from master teachers on the art of saying, “Yes, and …” While I love each of these books individually, I love the four together even more, because of the ways they spark up against and illuminate one another.

How to Improvise: A Book Flight

Improvisation for the Theatre by Viola Spolin

When I encountered Viola Spolin’s thinking, and then put those principles into practice while training at Piven Theatre Workshop, my trajectory as an artist transformed. Spolin taught me to stop trying and to start experiencing. She taught me the value of opening my hands and letting go, rather than insisting on controlling the creative process. Through her instruction, I learned that developing a player’s mindset takes practice, and that the time invested is entirely worthwhile. Improvisation for the Theatre contains a wealth of wisdom on the craft of creativity and the art of wholehearted living. No matter your art form, this book is a must-read (and re-read!)

Learn more here.

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life by Twyla Tharp

When I think of improvisation, my thoughts first go to acting games or quick-drafting exercises. Twyla Tharp offers an entirely different vantage point as she describes improvisation from a choreographer’s point of view. So much is the same, and yet, the slightly different perspective helps me see my own work in new light.

Learn more here.

How to Draw a Clam by Joy Sikorski

Filled with drawing prompts, adventure prompts, and games, this book is entirely unlike any book you’ve seen before. What struck me is how Joy Sikorski teaches the reader, without ever explicitly saying so, how to improvise your way through life. Flipping through this small book infuses my day with spontaneity and joy.

Learn more here.

Pippi in the South Seas by Astrid Lindgren

Remember Pippi? When I thought about what fiction I wanted to include in the improvisation book flight, Pippi and her red braids came immediately to mind. This book is an excellent example of what it might look life to live a life filled with “yes, and …” thinking. When I find myself in need of a reminder to lighten up and be a little more adventurous, I tap into my inner Pippi Longstocking and dive exuberantly into my day.

Learn more here.

If you pick up the books in this flight, I’d love to hear what you think. Try out some of the improv activities, and let me know how they go. And please share your ideas for other titles that ought to be part of this flight. I’m always on the hunt for an excellent read. Tag me on Twitter or Instagram, and let’s chat. Happy reading!

Journey to Your Writer’s Heart: A Book Flight

Journey to Your Writer’s Heart: A Book Flight

From my MFA residencies and decades of SCBWI conferences, the largest takeaway has always been to write from my heart. Like most wisdom, this advice is simple but not easy. Sometimes, my subconscious battles me when I try to dip into a story that holds rich meaning for me. Other times, I think I’m writing from my heart, but I discover that I’ve been playing a game of smoke and mirrors. I’ve skirted around my heart, but I haven’t deeply connected.

The journey to find our artist’s heart is not a one-time ordeal. It’s a life journey, one that is traveled in multiple parts. The three titles I’ve chosen for this flight have served as companions to me on that journey, urging me on toward courage, and lighting my way in the dark. I highly recommend each individually. I also encourage you: consider reading the three as a flight, allowing their ideas and insights to illuminate one another.

Journey to Your Writer’s Heart: A Book Flight

 

The Wanderer by Sharon Creech

 The fun in a book flight is not only each book on its own, but the way the books spark against one another, creating unexpected insights and urging your thinking “farther up and further in,” as C.S. Lewis might say.

Like many books, The Wanderer is a Hero’s Journey, which is part of what I love about it. Beyond that, I love how this coming-of-age story taps into the role memories play in our lives. It’s a lens that encourages me to look at my own life and the meaning I give to my own memories. When read back-to-back in this flight, the book becomes an even more illuminating metaphor, a map that guides me toward my writer’s heart. Learn more here.

The Hero is You by Kendra Levin

Longtime readers of the Writerly Play blog know that Joseph Campbell’s concept of the Hero’s Journey has been a key lens to help me see my writing and also my writerly development. In The Hero is You, Levin looks at Campbell’s work in a different, but complementary way. She considers eight archetypes in the Hero’s Journey, and how these personas inform our work and lives.

It will likely not surprise you that I love this book. I love the big ideas explored, the questions asked, and the playful activities that invite my imagination to play. For me, play is the best way to head into the dark and face my fears. Surrounded by story, I tap into courage and momentum. This book will take you on a journey that will transform your writing and life. Learn more here.

The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

Of the three titles in this flight, The Writer’s Life is the most dense. That said, it’s packed with insight that informs the writing craft and life. Once again, the subject is the Hero’s Journey. Vogler’s initial goal with the book was to “create a writer’s guide” to the Hero’s Journey. Along the way, he found the Hero’s Journey to be “nothing less than a handbook for life, a complete instruction manual into the art of being human.”

In this flight, the book provides a wider-angle view of what the Hero’s Journey is, how it works, and why it’s such a powerful tool in helping us craft our stories and our lives. Learn more here.

Cheers!

If you pick up the books in this flight, I’d love to hear what you think! Let me know what questions they bring to mind for you. And please share your ideas for other titles that ought to be part of this flight. I’m always on the hunt for an excellent read, particularly about the Hero’s Journey. Tag me on Twitter or Instagram, and let’s chat. Happy reading!