The Creative Spark: How musicians, writers, explorers, and other artists found their inner fire and followed their dreams
“Knowledgeable, probing, and thoughtful.” ―Foreword Reviews
Smokey Robinson • Barbara Kingsolver • Francis Ford Coppola • David Sedaris • Jane Goodall and other luminaries reveal the secrets to their creative success. Amy Tan talks about how she finds truth by writing fiction. Melissa Etheridge tells us how she channels her fire into her music. Pico Iyer shares how seeking stillness enhances his creativity. And Coppola discusses how he found the courage to make groundbreaking films.
In The Creative Spark, a collection of interviews prefaced by brief biographies, these luminaries join dozens of other voices to create a symphony of inspiration. Lucinda Williams talks about honesty and making every word count; Jane Goodall cites the value of persistence and believing in yourself; and Smokey Robinson heralds the timeless power of love songs.
For more than a decade, award-winning author Michael Shapiro (A Sense of Place) has interviewed many of our brightest creators. In The Creative Spark, musicians, authors, explorers, and chefs speak about what drives them, what helps them see the world in fresh ways, and what inspires them to turn their visions into art.
Shapiro’s work as a music journalist has led to interviews with legends including Graham Nash, Lyle Lovett, Melissa Etheridge, Jake Shimabukuro, Merle Haggard, and Jethro Tull bandleader Ian Anderson. And he’s spoken with creative masters in other fields, such as comedian Joan Rivers and author Frances Mayes.
Yet it’s not simply that Shapiro has had access to so many supremely talented people―it’s that he gets them to go deep. Moments into his penetrating conversation with Lucinda (her fans call her by her first name), she tells Shapiro about how decisions made about her mother’s funeral led to fissures in her family. From this achingly personal conversation, readers can glean fresh insights into why Lucinda has such a devoted following and why her songs open listeners’ hearts.
Unexpected revelations pop up in every chapter of The Creative Spark. Iowa folksinger Greg Brown isn’t a household name, but his fellow musicians revere his poetic compositions. Then there’s San Francisco Giants announcer Mike Krukow, who turns every broadcast into a work of art. Chefs, including SingleThread’s Kyle Connaughton, discuss how they’re transforming the way we approach fine dining and why social responsibility is essential.
Each chapter starts with a short biography of the creative person being profiled, then segues into Q+A. This collection brings together some of the best-known artists of our time with others who may not be as famed but who have valuable insights about living an artful life. The Creative Spark stands as a testament to human achievement, showing how creativity illuminates our world. And how it resides in each and every one of us, just waiting to break out.
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