Find Your Artistic Voice: The Essential Guide To Working Your Creative Magic, by Lisa Congdon
This book characterizes much of what is disastrously wrong with literature about creativity. The author considers herself an expert as someone who had once desired to be accepted so much that she even went to mass despite not being a Catholic at a Catholic university and then fails to recognize that her strident leftist viewpoint and the not particularly diverse collection of voices that she collects here similarly demonstrate a desire to fit it and a distinct lack of both self-awareness and authenticity. This book could have been good, but that would have required the author to be aware of the contradictions in her view between her desire to be accepted for her own voice and her realization that authenticity and hostility towards our Creator and Lord are not only not the same but often entirely absent. The act of denying reality because it does not correspond to our own wishes, which amounts to the sort of creativity that the author and her associates appear to be most interested in, is not a recipe for genuine creativity but rather for mental illness of one kind or another. And that can be found readily here as well.
This book is a short one at about 125 pages or so and is divided into seven chapters. The author begins with an introduction that speaks against conformity, forgetting that conformity to the values of the left is what will inform the rest of this stunningly self-deceived work. After that the author discusses what an artistic voice is, by her own lights (1) and also discusses why having a voice matters (2) from the point of view of someone who wishes to speak out as part of a leftist oppressed mass, rather than speaking out against the evils of the contemporary left. After that the author discusses the path of creativity in terms frequently borrowed from Buddhism and New Age thinking (3) while discussing how people navigate influence through open admission and personalizing what has influenced us (4). After that the author discusses the importance of showing up, practicing, and setting routines as a way of developing creativity–although even here she also advises breaking those routines at times (5). After that she closes with a discussion of how people can move through fear (6) and use her strategies for developing one’s own voice (7), which is again assumed to be synonymous with leftist political and social principles, after which there is a bibliography and acknowledgements.
This book is a textbook example, mercifully short, of what goes wrong when people equate rebellion against God with being a creative individual. Such disastrous misunderstandings of the world and of our place within it are all too common in reading books about creative. This book is precisely the sort of work that would consider bohemian urban leftists to be creative types of people while denying the creativity of those whose efforts spring from a conscious and respectful imitation of the creative arts of He who created us. While it is easy to see that there are aspects of this book that could have been salvageable had the author been more self-aware, it is predictable and lamentable that had the author been more self-aware she certainly would not have written this book, which is as good a reason as any as I can give not to recommend this book for any purpose that involves reading. Those who are conformist in the sense of being trendy to the latest decadent rebellion against God’s ways will find much more to enjoy in this book, but I would hope even such people would have more sense than to consider the author a fit authority on creativity.