Favorites List: Creations + Content That Have Lit My Creative Fire Over The Years

I'm a big believer that creativity is just as much about the input as it is about the output. Just like we need winter to have summer, I personally start to feel stuck if one side of the input/output the equation is out of balance.

I once had a psychic tell me that absorbing inspiration to create was actually part of the same thread as creating itself. Translation: if you can't make, take the time to fill your inspiration bank.

I notice that what moves me the most is seeing someone create work + live a life that is SO uniquely them-- pushing the boundaries, paving the way, innovating. You might notice that that's a common theme in list below; whether the work itself is moving + innovative or the story of the creator is being told directly, I love watching people take risks and step outside the box.

I'm a BIG reader/watcher/inspiration consumer (naturally, always have been) so I'm thrilled to spread the love + share some of my favorite works/reads/watches/talks that have left me inspired to push my own boundaries and keep creating.

1) Chef's Table. Season 2 Episode 1: Grant Achatz.

All three seasons of Chef's Table are amazing-- and I'm really not into cooking shows (okay, I had a small phase with Cake Boss...but that's just because I love cake). The show does an amazing job of capturing chefs as artists + innovators.

But my whole perspective on creating felt changed after this episode with Grant Achatz. He takes the word "innovation" to a whole new level and made me seriously think about the importance of risk in our work. You can watch it on Netflix.

*Runner up: SE 2 E 2 with Alex Atala. But mainly for inspiration about my dream potential future partner (I love the way this guy exudes a conscious kind of masculinity) and for swooning over the beauty of the Amazon in Brazil.

2) The Creative Process, Trusting Your Intuition + More: Sarah Jones' Interview on Marie TV

I love all things Marie Forleo for information about the entrepreneurial side of things, but her interviews on YouTube tend to be really creatively inspiring, as well. This one in particular left me obsessed with Sarah Jones-- her talent, her humor, her bravery in her craft and the way she bundles it all up as a voice for activism is brilliant.

You can watch the interview on YouTube here and you can watch Sarah Jones' TedTalk to get a wonderful taste of her performance work here.

3) "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel

There's a ton of fiction books I could list here (I love fiction) but I'm listing "Station Eleven" because this book was pure art. You know when you experience a work of art and you think to yourself, "Yeah, they got it so right with that one. They were meant to make that." That was "Station Eleven" for me. I plan on rereading it this winter. You can get the book here.

*Runner up in the "fiction book as pure art" department is A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan-- it's masterfully woven together.

4) The Flight of the Hummingbird: The Curiosity-Driven Life. Speech by Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah's Super Soul Sessions.

How many of us wished we had that one love to lead the way for us so we could take everyone's advice and "follow our passion"? I know I spent years praying for such a force to come into my life and guide me, and it kind of drove me nuts. [ironic side note: as soon as I let this attachment to "finding my passion" go, I turned around to see painting staring me right in the face]. This is a beautiful speech about the permission to simply be curious and about letting ourselves wander from interest to interest. And that doing so is important work.

You can watch the full speech here.

4.5) ‘Follow Your Passion’ Is Crappy Advice. Essay by Joshua Fields Millburn of The Minimalists.

I love The Minimalists. This short essay/interview is a great follow-up to Liz Gilbert's speech. I particularly love the idea of cultivating our passion as opposed to finding it. You can read the essay on their website here.

5) I Send You This Place. Documentary.

This is more of a piece of art to me than a documentary. The entire thing was directed and created by Andrea Sisson + Peter Ohs and I found it so impressive that they did everything behind the scenes of this film: the writing, cinematography, set design, and music composition (I paint to the soundtrack often). I watched it twice in a row, back to back (I'm crazy like that).

The narrative is about questioning our perspectives on mental illness, but the way it's put together speaks to a part of us that can't be put into words-- the film is more like an experience. And the shots of Iceland are breathtaking.

You can watch the film here. You have to get a subscription to Seed + Spark to watch it, but I think you you can do a free trial (worth it).

If you want learn more about Andrea Sisson and what went into making this film, I recommend listening to this episode of She Does Podcast. (I listened before I watched. The podcast episode is inspiring in and of itself.)