Sorry this post is more than a week late. I vacationed in Canada and then my laptop died. Ugh. Anyway, all is well now, so enjoy!
Creativity is one of the most important things a human being can express. It’s good for our brains, our hearts, and our souls. It allows people to explore themselves and others in a deep way, something introspection and discussion can’t always do. When consuming others’ creative works, you’re getting a piece of who they are as a person, whether they wanted or intended that or not.
Creativity allows us to function as a society. We’re not merely surviving—we’re living, hour to hour and day to day. How we spend our time digesting others’ creative works—whether that’s a movie, a novel, or a collection of poems—is important to how we grow as people and a community of human beings. I hope reading about the creative content I enjoy (or don’t) gets your creative juices flowing and inspires you to make something great and uniquely your own. At the very least maybe you’ll discover something new you might be interested in.
I received Rascal as a gift from the daughter of Sterling North, the novel’s author, after I finished touring North’s childhood home near my Wisconsin hometown. I wrote a story about the home and its volunteers for my local paper, and I was fortunate enough to meet North’s daughter while visiting the home. Rascal is the autobiography of North’s adventures with a pet raccoon he owned for a year while living in Wisconsin. The book mentions my city and local landmarks, which is cool to see in such a popular children’s book. Rascal reads a lot like Where the Red Fern Grows, but it’s true, which makes it an even more impacting tale. The book became so huge that Japan started an anime about it which ran for years, and Japanese students won a trip to come tour the home years ago. It’s amazing to see something known worldwide come from my humble neck of the woods.
I’ve gotten sick of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, so I skipped Black Flag when it launched in 2013. It was free for Xbox Gold members, so I downloaded it and finally got around to playing it, and I’m sorry I skipped it. Black Flag is probably my favorite entry in the series, with naval combat and simplistic yet satisfying combat and missions. Read more in this column I wrote about it.
Jake Gyllenhaal is a fantastic actor. Everybody knows that. But no other movie really exemplifies his talents like Nightcrawler does. In this drama, Gyllenhaal plays a socially inept thief who lands a job freelancing as a video journalist. Specifically, he sits in a car listening to a scanner and rushes to the scenes of crimes or accidents, then films everything in graphic detail, going so far as to trespass to get the footage he wants. Gyllenhaal’s ability to pull of this character’s complete disregard for common decency is uncanny, and the movie itself is a dark exploration of humanity’s bloodlust and greed. I recommend it.
It’s hard to describe Son Lux, but I’ll try anyway: post-modern, experimental rock characterized by the use of unusual instruments and the negligence of the standard verse-chorus-bridge format. Not every experiment is a success, however, but the songs that are are unforgettable. Definitely give Easy, Lost It to Trying, and I Am the Others a listen.