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New Creativity in the New Year

January 11, 2024

It’s that time of year again. Time to start a new year. Time get caught up on all the things that fell through the cracks while you were trying to make the holidays happen. Or maybe, it’s time to try something new or start a new project. Maybe work on organizing your house. Or focus on personal growth. Maybe you just want to try a new art medium. If you need some inspiration, check out these great reads from folks who have been there and done that. 

If you’ve never heard of him, chances are high that Rick Rubin is behind some of your favorite music. He co-founded Def Jam Records with Russell Simmons. He was behind the “Walk This Way” collab between Aerosmith and Run DMC. He won a Grammy for Johnny Cash’s last album, Unchained, which featured his iconic cover of Trent Reznor’s song, "Hurt." Predominately known as a rock producer, Rubin was never afraid to tackle different genres. Now he’s collected all his musical musings into this volume. If you are an artist of any kind - painting, writing, playing music - Rubin’s advice would prove helpful. He presents various ideas in short sections of poems that I thought were fun to read. He left a lot of space for your brain to process his suggestions. Not all of his words of wisdom were groundbreakingly new, but that just might be me being a seasoned musician. This work really resonated with me and I would highly recommend it along with Rubin’s work as a music producer.

I am a perfectionist. Sometimes to the point of not being able to finish a task because it is never good enough. I can always find a way to make it better. Because of this, I’m constantly looking for ways to let go. This is the best book that I’ve found on addressing the topic. Did you know there are types of perfectionists? Me neither. Did you know that perfectionism can be a strength and not a weakness. Um…maybe? Either way, if this is something you struggle with, perhaps this is your year to tackle your need to be perfect. This is a good place to start. 

I must admit that I am fascinated by tiny houses. The idea of being able to live in something around 100 sq. ft is intriguing and insane. Since I’m not willing to give up my 700 lb piano and almost all my shoes, I am forced to live vicariously through folks who are more willing to sacrifice. Dee Williams is one of those people. She built a tiny house on a trailer and has been happily living in it for over a decade. It was interesting to see the process she went through in designing her tiny house. She said she checked out every book in the library (woot woot!) about building in order to learn what she needed to know. The library actually played a big part in her decision to downsize. If you can’t keep every book you own in your own house, the library will be there to check it out to you instead. Housing in Nashville has gotten super expensive, so if you’re not a homeowner yet, but would like to be, check out this one and see if you are destined to be on Team Tiny House.

I came across Mr. Brymer Jones on the excellent MAX show, The Great Pottery Throwdown. If you are not in the know on this, it’s The Great British Baking Show, but with ceramics, instead of food. Brymer Jones is one of the judges and he tends to cry when he really likes a piece. It was fun to get more out of his story. In addition to being a great potter, he was also in a band for years, so you get two creative outlets in one book. I loved creating with clay in high school and it was fun to revisit that world. If you are looking for a new craft, check this one out and see what you think.

The beginning of a new year is a great time to step out of your comfort zone and try something that the old you would never do. I loved being inspired by other people’s projects. Hopefully, NPL has the resources you need for your explorations.

Happy creating…
:) Amanda

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Amanda is a classically-trained pianist who loves to read. Like any good librarian, she also has two cats named after Italian cities. Amanda spends her free time sitting in Nashville traffic, baking, and running the Interlibrary Loan office at the Nashville Public Library.