It feels like over the past several weeks — maybe even months, since time sort of blurs together as of late — I’ve been finding a bunch of things, both online and off, to be inspired by. Since this is the tenth issue of Create & Release, I thought I’d share ten things from that list, but I then realized that this is issue nine, not ten. What to do? I was texting with a friend about my conundrum and he sent me the following response: “Top ten lists are a cultural byproduct of our base-10 numeric system — and David Letterman — and those kinds of restrictive systems should be burned to the ground.” It’s maybe a stronger reaction that I was expecting, but respect for the Letterman reference. Far be it from me to perpetuate a restrictive system — so here, in no particular order, are nine things that have either inspired me or just sucked me down a rabbit hole of procrastination over the past several weeks (or months). See what I did there? Nine is one less than ten, thus less restrictive. You’re welcome. Also, none of these links are affiliate links, so feel free to click with reckless abandon.
Minimalist YouTuber Matt D’Avella did a video back in January called “The One Habit I’m Trying to Build This Year” in which he outlined his plan to read at least two books a month. He was very specific about attaching a number to it, rather than simply “I want to read more.” Two books fits into something called “the flow channel” — a task that is neither too easy nor too hard. Since watching Matt’s video, my reading has increased exponentially relative to how low it had gotten. I’m not always finishing two books a month, but it’s close. Two things that make it especially easy to always have a stream of books to read is the fact that there’s a beautiful new library at the end of our street and a Little Free Library about four houses away. Since we walk up and down the street multiple times a day with Cooper, new books are always only a few steps away. A few of my recent finds include: Houston, We Have a Narrative Problem, The Mirage Factory, and Conversations with Carl Sagan.
In addition to reading, I’ve been watching a lot more documentaries lately, the most recent of which is called Val and is a sort of cinematic autobiography of actor Val Kilmer. For his entire life, Val has been documenting himself, his family, and his friends and has literally thousands of hours of footage — so much so that he keeps it in a dedicated storage facility. If you grew up in the 70s or 80s and you love movies, you should definitely check out Spielberg on HBO Max (you can also rent it on Amazon Prime) and The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, also on HBO Max. While I’ve been a fan of The Bee Gees for years, I was by and large completely unaware of the details of their pre-Saturday Night Fever career, save for a few songs like Massachusetts, Words, and maybe New York Mining Disaster 1941. Their sound in the 60s wasn’t far off from the Beatles and seeing how they kept reinventing themselves time and time again makes for a fascinating watch.
In addition to the movies and books, I’ve been getting into a few comics and an app that has made that so much easier and more enjoyable is Hoopla. Available for iOS and Android, Hoopla couples with your local library and allows you to borrow books, audiobooks, movies, and music. I had been using Libby, which I still use all the time, but one of the areas where Hoopla absolutely excels over Libby is in the selection of comics they offer. I’m currently reading Gideon Falls by Jeff Lemire (who also wrote Sweet Tooth, the series adaptation of which is currently on Netflix) and Y The Last Man by Brian K Vaughan (also coming to television on FX), and I just started The Department of Truth by James Tynion IV (if you’ve seen any of my art, especially a recent series I did called The New Propaganda, it will be obvious why this one resonates with me).