Book Review: Untitled

In the quiet moments when I have a few to read, I’ve been reading and reflecting on the creative process.  Creativity is something that is required in almost every area of my life {and I’m willing to bet yours as well}.  However I have found myself stuck for quite some time and the anxiety of wanting to/needing to be creative with a newborn is well… full of angst.

So I’ve been reading here and there about the creative process and have come across a new book by Blaine Hogan called Untitled: Thoughts on the Creative Process.  Blaine is the Creative Director of Willow Creek Community Church and has consistently been generous with his experience and wisdom on his blog and now offers this book to those of us who need it.  A great read for anyone who does anything creative, be it parenting, pastoring, graphic designing, set decorating, photography, writing, teaching, or producing wireless technology for motorcycle officers.

Untitled is encouraging, inspiring and motivating especially if you find yourself in a cloudy place and need a bit of direction to get you moving again.

“My only rule was to spend at least one hour in front of the given surface.”

His words served as a reminder of the divine purpose of art:

“Art seeks to tell the truth in dark places (movie houses, theaters, sanctuaries, museums) and it seems to me that’s what faith in God seeks to do as well – tell the truth in dark places.”

Blaine encourages his readers to take time to be reflective.  For me this is the transformational work of Christ in me through sitting at His feet first.

“When my inner self has been explored, I tell the most truth and I create the best work.

“You have absolutely no business taking us to places you are unwilling to go yourself.”

 He also stresses the importance of the message superseding the medium… it’s more about the message than the medium.

“Any technology (medium, tool, etc.) should always be in service of a greater purpose.  A tool is just a tool until it’s been given meaning.”

Most importantly, he gives readers the courage to fail.

“When you don’t take your failures personally you open them up to becoming experiences that can transform you.”

I read the last couple of pages today which were exactly what I needed to read today:

“As I write this, my seven-week-old daughter Ruby, in a ramshackle swaddle, propped up on a pillow on my lap.  I’ve got her wedged tightly between myself and our dining room table.  When I’m not using the Shift button, I’m bouncing her with my left forearm with a little help from my left thigh. 

For seven weeks,day and night, we’ve been caring for what seems like a wild animal.

She cries for seemingly no reason and simply refuses all my pleas for silence.

But today she’s in my lap, smiling and cooing.

She knows me.

She recognizes me, I think.

It brings me to my knees and I weep. 

Her smile makes me believe that the world is good.  It makes me believe in hope and possibility.

And then she spits up.

White goo is everywhere. On the keyboard, on my shirt, on our couch pillow which, I know, I know, I should have never used in the first place.

In a flash all is lost.

The smile is replaced with a cry heard round the world or at least through the foot of concrete between our apartment and the next).

Back to work I go. Let’s try the vacuum this time. She liked that yesterday. Or how about the Baby Bjorn. Maybe another swaddle?  And where on earth is that pacifier?!

This is the creative process.

For the most part it’s just plain old unsexy work.”


Blaine goes on to say… It’s all worth it.

Have you read anything good lately?

One thought on “Book Review: Untitled

  1. Love it! It is so helpful when people share where they are really at, and where they want to be, and how they are attempting to get there. .Add God’s Grace and and you have a whole new picture. Creativity in imperfect people, used for the Kingdom, is so redemptive.

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