Doodle Outreach

Recommended Reading Feb 2017

I read a few books at the end of 2016 and at least one this new year so far that I want to recommend to you before I forget.

A little plug for reading first:

Since the advent of Facebook and social media in general, as well as the rise in streamable shows, and the library and video stores before that, the amount of reading I’m doing has dropped significantly. I have memories of lying on the beach on summer vacations from school, devouring one huge novel after another.

But in this modern era, I thought I’d actually lost my ability to read books for a while. To wean myself back into reading, over a two-week period, I included 10 minutes of reading a day in a list of things that I was practicing adding in (exercise, time outside, meditation/rest, some Artist’s Way exercises . . . ). I read The Afterlife of Billy Fingers by Annie Kagan. It’s a lightly written, sweet story, and it’s not too dense. I’m not actually sure that I finished it all the way to the end, but it showed me that, just because I was out of the habit, I could still — and liked to — read.

That was such a relief. 


Me, happily outside in shorts, on February 11.

Reading is so important for creativity.

I heard once that Bob Dylan reads tons of novels and watches loads of movies. He is a prolific writers, and I understood that he was keeping his creative well filled and informed.

Also I read once on Facebook that reading six minutes a day can greatly reduce anxiety and provide instant relaxation. And I’m ALL about that! Six minutes is SO DOABLE. And with the benefit of relaxing, I’m extra in.

So I am recommending it forward. I’m going to share with you a few recent reads that I loved. (I don’t have any monetary affiliation with any of these — I’m simply linking to the Amazon pages for reference. Click the book titles.)


john cogginA Smart, Funny, Adventurous Kids’ Book

The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin by Elinor Teele

I love reading kids’ books to keep my fantasy mind alive. I like to read about magic and no limitations. But sometimes those kids’ books get heavy. On the natural Hero’s Path of a child in a book, there is almost always already a loss of a parent or parents, and things often get worse from there. I had just returned a very angsty, scary young adult book to the library, when I stumbled upon this one.

In it, the kids go on great and varied adventures, but their stress never overwhelms the playful storytelling. Its playfulness is side by side with its intelligent language, often sending me to the dictionary and smiling at the trust the author has in the minds of the readers, no matter what age, to handle her word play.

I loved the book and believe it has the qualities to be a kids’ classic for the ages. Very creatively stimulating.


marinaA Fascinating and Smooth Memoir by a Living Artist

Walk Through Walls: A Memoir by Marina Abramovic

I devoured this book. I have already recommended (in a newsletter) the documentary about Marina Abramovic, The Artist is Present. Watching that movie, I gained an appreciation for all art, for all people making art of any kind, whether I related to it or not. They are doing exactly what I say I want to be doing all the time.

The memoir goes into more depth and explanation behind many of the artist’s pieces that are seen in the movie. It also talks about her childhood and personal life in detail. As I writer, as an artist, as someone for whom expression is so important, I must read books like this, to be ushered forward in my own focus and expression.

The book is fascinating and spaciously written. Not a light read, but spacious, nonetheless. I didn’t want it to end.







A Timeless Fairy Tale for Adult Reading

The Nonexistent Knight and The Cloven Viscount by Italo Calvino

I first read this book in a Literature of Fantasy class in undergraduate school. Being an English Literature major had its high points. I didn’t remember too much about the book, but I remember reading a lot more by Calvino in the years following. I happened to spot this one at the library recently, and I grabbed it. I loved reading it again.

As with some of my favorite books, the translators deserve much credit as well. In this case Archibald Colquhoun translates with warmth and humor, also sending me to the dictionary regularly. The stories are satirical and funny and sweet and recognizeable and fresh at the same time.

I was transported when I read this book, and it made my creative centers expand from enjoying the pages. I could feel it in my brain!



Every Word Encouraged My Own Creation

Blessed Are the Weird: A Manifesto for Creatives
by Jacob Nordby

Okay, I’m cutting and pasting my Amazon review here:

The magic of life: I had an impulse to read this book, and a few days later, one arrived in the mail. My appreciation for it is vast. As a fellow creative and definitely a weird one, every word encouraged my own creation. I am working on a new writing project, and this was the perfect companion to accompany me on the journey to help me keep going. I am someone who has lived outside of the box for years (whatever that even means at this point), and this book was a comfort & encouragement also to keep going, in general, not only on specific projects. It’s a reminder that no one sets our course for us. It is our own, and it is valid. I’m grateful that Jacob allowed the Muses to clink glasses with him and get to writing.

* * * * *

And I’m sharing all of this with you good folks because I feel that one way to access our Muses is to read what we love. I no longer try to stick with reading something that doesn’t turn me on. But if it does, I want to give it the opportunity to help what’s arising in me be encouraged come on out and play.

Just remember: You can have a positive benefit from reading just six minutes a day. If you are anything like me, you could reduce six minutes from Facebook and not even miss it.

Enjoy and let me know what you think!



P.S. I’m currently reading Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let Other People Help. I had an intense dream last night, and I think it was related to that book! That happened during Walk Through Walls too . . .

P.P.S. I got all of these books but one at my local library. The library rules! Use it!

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