I'm not content if I'm not creating something. So this Summer, I took on a new adventure and built a custom curly maple bistro table. But I needed some guidance, so I worked with Master Furniture Maker, Roger Myers, here in New Hampshire. Roger is a kind, patient and incredibly skilled instructor.
What I learned:
Over the course of 40 hours and almost three months, Roger patiently showed me how to do it right - the way a master furniture builder would create a table. And the results show.
The biggest surprise for me was how difficult the process was : My shirt, damp with sweat and sawdust, I gained a true appreciation for the process. Even more, it would take months, or years, to master just one stage of building the small table I built. But the arduous nature of the task made the end result all the more rewarding.
My wife and I will be enjoying coffee at our new table long after our empty-nest years. After that, our children will receive its legacy of conversation and connection.
The table gets its own glam-shot photo shoot upon completion. I sized the bistro table to be able to accommodate one person at each end, and possibly one on the long side. The table is designed to go against a wall. The table can also double as a writing desk. [I'm also an author.]
The expert who helped me build it: My sincere thanks to Master Furniture Maker, Roger Myers, for his patience, expert and skilled instruction, and friendship. You can view Roger's period work, restoration work, and custom projects at his website, StrathamWood Studios.
If I'm not creating, I'm not dialed into my desires, or even awake to desire itself. If I'm not creating, I feel less...me. So here are some fire-starters for you, books to stoke the embers when the cold front moves in and settles over your studio, desk, conference room, or loft.
1. A Whole New Mind--Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, by Dan Pink.
This book makes a case why more than ever, right-brainers are increasingly found at the center of our cultural foundations, not simply as window-dressing. Skills like, "Design," "Story," "Symphony," Empathy," "Play," and "Meaning" are foundational attributes right-brainers bring to a culture that needs them more than ever.
2. Your Creative Brain, by Shelley Carson.
The author describes seven brain sets: "Connect," "Reason," "Envision," Absorb," "Transform," "Evaluate," and "Stream'" and provides exercises, quizzes and self-tests.
My self-tests showed that I function optimally in the "Envision," "Absorb," and "Evaluate," brain sets; and prefer a "spontaneous" pathway.
3. Scribbling in the Sand - Christ and Creativity, by Michael Card.
Not a how-to, but a why-to book. Card explores the biblical roots of creativity and imagination; and includes not only Card's wisdom for the creative mind, but also includes letters of advice from other artists and creatives leaders.
What are the best books you've read on creativity?
Share the high-points so that others can get inspired.
Here's what listeners have said they have used my solo piano CD for:
- A "blissful escape into a dreamworld."
- As an "antidote to the frustrations of the D.C. beltway commute"
- Setting the mood for prayer/reflection
- A bedtime sedative
- Listening music for painting the kitchen
- Soulful healing
Creating "thin places"
I'm grateful for the responses I get from listeners; but it's never simply about the performance or the applause for me. Instead, it's about creating a holy space or what the ancient Celts called, "Thin Places" -- where the veil between heaven and earth was so porous, and the Other World so intimately present, that the person knew she was not alone. It's a place of receiving.
What listeners are saying:
"It is, quite simply, one of the most unique and beautiful listening experiences I have had in years."
- John M., Florida
"At complete peace while listening to your music."
- Mark H., Massachusetts
"...a blissful escape into a dreamworld ... It's amazing."
- Elizabeth W.;
M. Steinert & Sons Pianos, Boston
Royal Academy of Music, London
Cork School of Music, Ireland