Book Reviews

The Creative Spark

Isn’t this a beautiful cover?

The Creative Spark: How musicians, writers, explorers, and other artists found their inner fire and followed their dreams by Michael Shapiro.

People are talking about The Creative Spark

Michael has interviewed some of the world’s most creative minds, bringing sparks of joy, enlightenment, and entertainment into our lives. It makes sense for the next endeavor for Michael to publish these extraordinary interviews in a book.

After reading the Lucinda Williams chapter, Solas House publisher James O’Reilly “went straight to listen to her album, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone. I must have been living under a rock to not know her. I love her voice and music and intensity. This book is all about meeting people you’ll love who you never knew, or who you thought you knew but didn’t.”

“I’ve been asking myself, why did I let music drift out of my life? I used to be completely tuned in to the music scene, but I haven’t followed it in years and hardly know these musicians or their music. The cumulative effect is really much bigger than a bunch of individual interviews. I feel filled up, not overfull, but satisfied and moved by all of these people and their collective experiences. It’s really a portrait of life writ large, with the compelling undercurrent that these ‘famous people’ are real people like the rest of us. These are people living their lives, pursuing what most profoundly interests them, and by doing so, marvelous stuff happens. It’s like alchemy; something magical occurs. Something real gets created and shared, and we’re all the better for it.” — Larry Habegger, travel writer, editor, teacher, and publisher

Creative people have a certain spark: a brightness in their eyes, an inquisitive way of looking at the world, a desire to make things. But that spark doesn’t reside solely in people you may view as creators. It’s in all of us.

About The Creative Spark

The Creative Spark is a collection of interviews with some of the most creative people of our time: musicians, authors, visual artists and chefs. These makers speak about what drives them, what helps them to see the world in fresh ways, and what inspires them turn their visions into art.

During the past decade, Michael Shapiro has interviewed some of our brightest creative luminaries. Among the authors are Amy Tan, David Sedaris, Barbara Kingsolver, Pico Iyer, and Frances Mayes. His work as a music journalist has led to interviews with legends including Smokey Robinson, Graham Nash, Lyle Lovett, Melissa Etheridge, Merle Haggard, and Jethro Tull bandleader Ian Anderson. And he’s spoken with creative masters in other field, such as director Francis Ford Coppola and comedian Joan Rivers.

It’s not simply that Michael had access to so many supremely talented and creative people ― he inspired them to go deep. Moments into his conversation with Lucinda (her fans call her by her first name), she tells Michael 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.

There are people who you might not expect to find in this collection, such as explorer Jane Goodall, whose entire life has been a creative endeavor. Then there’s San Francisco Giants announcer Mike Krukow, who turns every broadcast into a work of art. And there are a couple of chefs, such as SingleThread’s Kyle Connaughton, who are transforming the way we approach fine dining.

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.

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 something important to say 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.

And yes, that’s you! Break out and land in your creative element.

You are invited to the launch of The Creative Spark:

Nov 9 at 4 pm. Book Passage in Corte Madera, California.

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