On my bookshelf: Learning To Love You More

March 5, 2013

I wanted to share some of my favorite book resources for people who make things-- books on creative process, freelancing, and even money (money!). My eye first caught a book that has forever changed the way I approach creative process. It's Learning To Love You More, by Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July.

In 2002, July & Fletcher started a web-based project offering sixty 'assignments' that could be completed by anyone: 
  • Take a picture of your parents kissing.
  • Write the phone call you wish you could have.
  • Write your life story in less than a day.
  • Write down a recent argument.
  • Take a picture of an encouraging banner.
More than 5,000 people participated from all over the world. You can still see the results of the project over here, although they're no longer accepting submissions. The book is a collection of what was submitted.

In the intro to the book, July & Fletcher write:

Sometimes it is a relief to be told what to do. We are two artists who are trying to come up with new ideas every day. But our most joyful and even profound experiences often come when we are following other people's instructions. Like a recipe, meditation practice, or familiar song, the prescriptive nature of these assignments is intended to guide people towards their own experience.

--Learning To Love You More--

The results of this project inspired me so much that I made two evening-length performance pieces based my own collection of 'assignments', which produced text, video, and movement. I still think about this project as one of the most beautiful examples I know of how everyone can and should make things.

My favorite page in the book is an inspiring banner photographed by Kaja Dutka in Poland. It reads, simply, You Will Find It. It's a picture I looked at a lot when I was in the midst of changing career directions, uncertain as to what my contribution to the universe should be. I smiled as I looked at the picture again this past week, after hours of grant writing with certainty and insistence. I recognized a sense of found-ness planted inside. 


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