This month's guest features Emily Moberly, the founder and Executive Director of Traveling Stories, a San Diego non profit with a mission to create engaging social reading experiences that helps kids fall in love with reading by the fourth grade! Emily and her team are outsmarting poverty one book at a time through the innovative program, transforming reluctant readers into confident ones. Beginning with a single tent at a local San Diego farmers market, Emily's "Story Tents" can now be found across the globe, providing children around the world the opportunity to improve their literacy skills, build a life long love for reading, and have fun in the process!
This past Friday it was an honor and privilege to be able to join my classmates, colleagues and total strangers as we gathered together at the San Diego to attend Creative Mornings.
For those of you unfamiliar with Creative Mornings (a movement that spans more than 151 cities worldwide) it has become a monthly pilgrimage that I have been recommending to anyone willing to bear the title of the creative. This broad term is part of the beauty that embodies Creative Mornings, hosting a slew of guests from all walks of life, from the photographer to the doctor, actor to the lawyer and everyone in between.
This months topic was on "Love" and lead by Scott Lewis, CEO and Editor in Chief of the San Diego Voice, a non profit that focusses on a news first policy -- exposing truths and expanding the conversation rather than projecting fluff material. The result has been a highly successful digital publication that uses its powers for good, justice and social change.
In the lecture (posting soon) Scott recalls a time in the Voice's infancy by which they had to undergo significant budget and employee cuts in order to stay afloat, an issue unbeknownst to the staff. After laying off several strong staff members Scott realized they needed help and rather than dig a deeper whole he explained the story to others and put the issue to the public. By doing so he was able to secure new donors and ultimately pull the magazine back on a positive track that continued to spiral on positive momentum.
And how does love connect?
Scott assures us that to truly love something we have to be willing to be vulnerable with our struggles. At the time of the budget cuts, he had not acknowledged the problem and took an extreme moment to expose such vulnerabilities.
Scott encourages us as creative to embrace importance to be open and honest with our struggles on the rise to success. These moments of weakness are the very same moments that our clients, our critics, and our fans are drawn towards.
And the more we are able to confront and build from them ultimately become our key to success.
A little Thursday inspiration when you need that extra pick me up to finish the week strong.
This past week, after doing my own search for inspiration I received a text from one of my friends and fellow music enthusiast, Daveed Audel (his new album of covers can be found here) linking me to an open letter that Tyler the Creator penned to Pharrell Williams via Instagram.
For a link to the full letter click here
If your a fan of the two artists its been no secret that Tyler has drawn inspiration from Williams not only as he speaks on the influence in interviews, but as we dive into the music finding two artists uniquely different in their own rights - riffing on the same wave lengths. Much like the way Pharrell speaks about his major influence QTip, we can see the literal baton passing as Pharrell begins to hand off the reigns that ruled the radio of the 2000's to a new crop of musicians, producers, entrepreneurs like Tyler.
What I love about this letter is Tyler's deep assessment of Pharrell's sound...
"I still to this day don't think I can make a song better than THAT GIRL and I REALLY LIKE YOU GIRL is easily the best song on the album with your best Timberlake impersonation and Stevie Harmonica" - Tyler the Creator
and the overall declaration of how much Pharrell has influenced him -- not only from music, but in the way he carries himself, the way he dresses, the way thinks. Tyler goes on to say that the same Summer In My Mind was released, he got up the nerve to start up Odd Future and dare to dream that music was a possibility as long as he stuck to it, believed and continued to look to the future.
In the book "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon, the author makes the case that all art is theft and that it our our duty as artists to steal from the ideas that are good in order to form something new and worth producing.
"When you look at the world this way, you stop worrying about whats "good" and whats's "bad" - there's only stuff worth stealing, and stuff that's not worth stealing" - Austin Kleon
Kleon makes the claim that NOTHING IS ORIGINAL even citing sources as great as the Bible, stating...
"There is nothing new under the sun" - Eccelsiates 1:9)
Many of my lectures revolve around this same concept letting students know it is our responsibility to know the work of artists who we love and examine the ideas and interests that they express so that we do not offer up a copy of the original when producing our works, but rather create a "remix" combined with our own thoughts and perspective.
Pharrell is definitely an artist worth stealing from and I cannot deny the influence of his music whether it be his production, rock band NERD, or solo works, Pharrell has shown me time and time again that being an African American male doesn't mean that you need to be put into a box and provided the mindset shift it took to dare to leave the box.
Thank you Tyler the Creator, Pharrell, and Daveed for being the inspiration I need to keep remembering what can come from the dedication when you choose to follow that voice in your head.