I recently procured a copy of "Audacious Creativity" from a friend and found myself idly perusing through the different contributor stories on my subway ride home from my grad school class. To be honest, I expected to find the anthology, a basic, albeit extremely well-written, collection in which the contributors discussed how they inspired others and their methods for connecting with my personal creative processes. You know, the same old, same old "I can do this, so YOU can do this" rah-rah designed to make me believe that I can do/be anything before I once again realize my own creative limits.
Instead, I found myself transported by the essays and actually inspired to practice what the contributors suggested. Instead of feeling force-fed wisdom and sickened by the realization that I could never possibly be as perfect as the people whose stories I was reading, I felt like I engaging in a conversation with a really good friend.
One of the most profound ways I was affected by the book took place as the result of my attempt to go an entire day without talking about people behind their backs, as suggested by Reverend Allan Lokos in his essay, "The Spiritual Practice of Creativity." It astounded me that I could only last two hours before succumbing to a need to gossip. I've always considered myself to be fairly free of the need to put other people down to feel better about myself--but quickly realized in doing this exercise how much negativity comes out of me every day. It forced me to take a long, extremely hard look in the mirror and actively change the way I approach the people in my life. I will fully admit that i feel that I am a much healthier person emotionally because of what he and other contributors had to teach me.
As a young professional in New York City, I often find myself rushing from one task to the next--I'm so rushed and focused on the needs of others, that when it comes time for me to tap into my own creativity, I feel confused and uncertain of my own creative potential. It can sometimes take me several hours before I'm able to get myself in the proper mind frame to fling open my figurative creative gates and be comfortable letting what's inside of me flow out into physical reality. It's not easy to find comfort in just being you--letting all of the expectations and needs of others fade into the background--but the contributors in this anthology help you to realize how absolutely necessary indulging in your creativity is to your emotional health.
I consider myself lucky to have received a copy of this book. It's going on my bookshelf right next to my copies of Madeleine L'Engle's books--the books that fostered my creativity as a child--as a reminder to re-read several of the essays whenever I doubt my capability to be an audacious creator in my own right.