June 11, 2012

Craft Your Better Self: a good read


When I was a kid I had an appreciation for books. My mom worked in the Town Hall office which housed our local library on its second floor. It was quaint and quiet. On occasion the school bus would drop me off  at her work and while I waited for her to finish up, I'd wander the stacks. The books  were wrapped in that special library book plastic, which I loved. Check out any thrift store and you'll immediately be able to identify a book that once belonged to a library.  I had a library card and would check out as many books as I could carry. The librarian would take the card from the back of the book, stick it under some machine that would make a loud "Ker-chank" sound, indicating a successful transaction. I loved reading.

In high school I hated reading.  There wasn't a Cliff's Note I wasn't familiar with. I loathed being assigned 40 pages a night to finish a book in a week. One month, minimum, is what I needed.

I'm not sure when the reading bug made its re-appearance but it did. I'm an avid reader, my email address begins with "bookworm", I carry a book with me at all times and read most anything. My sister was visiting the other day, thumbing through my book shelf. She laughed, saying by the list of titles on my book shelf one would think I had a serious self-esteem issue. Her lighthearted quip was in reference to the many self-improvement, inspirational, build yourself up titles.  I enjoy Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dwyer and anyone else who can show me how to have a better life in 21 days.  In fairness, I tend to keep the self-help books and donate the best sellers once I've finished them.

A recent read, "Steal Like an Artist": 10 things nobody told you about being creative by Austin Kleon had questions about what DIY meant and I  wondered about the "steal " factor. Austins' reflections reassured, "When creating something you want to claim as your own, you realize, as Mr. Kleon endorses, "Nothing is original, so embrace influence". I love that.

I used to have an online shop where I sold watches and hand crafted watchbands. They were easy to knock off and it upset me when someone copied my design and didn't give credit.

Imitation is not the sheerest form of flattery. Imitation is the sheerest form of piss-me-off. So, as I create and emulate projects I'm aware if you steal an idea, which everyone does, make that idea, design, whatever, your own.