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...feed your soul with art & creativity!

Friday, August 29, 2014

A-Musing ~ a book review

Every now and then I come across a creative book that I just fall in love with.  The Muse is In: An Owner’s Manual to Your Creativity by Jill Badonsky is my current creative love affair. 

Let’s start with it’s look and feel.  It has a slick cover that just feels good on the hand—a little different than most books.  It is a soft-cover but not flimsy.  It’s an unusual size at just under 7” x 9” that packs a punch.

The whimsical cover features a lime green and purple background showing the top of a head with what appears to be a hat made of clouds, a castle, a ladder to the moon and a sparkly, flowery, spiral-doodled fairy.  What a wonderful way to attract a dreamer-artist like myself.  Just seeing and feeling it made me want to pick it up and open it.  In this case, you could judge a book by its cover!

muse is in
Isn't this a lovely cover? (copyright Jill Badonsky)
Then the magic really began.  The slick, often full color pages just invite jumping in and puddling about.  Nearly every page is dripping with delightful ideas and inspiration to get creativity flowing.  Badonsky’s writing style is intimate and friendly, without being gushy.  It is informative and instructive, without being pushy.

There is something reminiscent in this book of SARK’s many creative books—which were some of the first full color (though in a different way) creative inspiration books I came across more than 25 years ago.

I have to admit that not since SARK, Orbiting the Giant HairballThe War of Art or A Whack on the Side of the Head have I gotten this excited about a creative book.  I don’t want to be a spoiler, but suffice it to say that this book feeds the hungry soul and is a dip into cool water for the thirsty creative.   It is in no way intimidating in its suggestions or ideas for expanding creativity.  And though the book has been out on the market since January 2013, I believe it will hold relevance for artists of all types, including writers, for many years to come.

Having a project management background in a former incarnation myself, I truly appreciate her Kaisen-Muse small step approach to projects.  Take baby steps.  And yes, I already subscribed to this idea before her (in project management terms we call this chunking) and others, including SARK, who talk about taking baby steps.  Still, I believe additional reminders to be kind and take small steps toward the completion of any goal or project is certainly in order for most creative types who tend to push-push-push in a labor of love without regard to the consequences—which often include flopping into bed for weeks at a time without being able to pull the covers off of one’s face.

If there is a drawback to this book, it might be that the font and font size used for the majority of the text feels small (although I am sure that it is at least 12 point).  I wish the font had serifs. Though it looks “cleaner,” it certainly is not easier to read.  For those of us crafters whose eyes now require assistance, I had to pull out my cheaters so that the lines of text didn’t swim together.

Beyond that one concern (which of course, is personal to me but might be of no consequence to other readers with better eyesight), this is a true gem of a book which I highly recommend to those who 1) sometimes want a gentle push into a new direction 2) need a kick in the pants to get creatively moving or 3) just don’t believe they have any creativity inside themselves.

I also recommend Badonsky’s website.  Personally, I’m off to purchase her first book, The Awe-Manac.