Dancing With The Gods by Kent Nerburn - Book Recommendation


Dancing with the Gods - Kent Nerburn

There are many books that reveal the joys and struggles of creating something out of your imagination. Kent Nerburn's Dancing with the Gods: Reflections on Life and Art is one of those. Having said that, Dancing with the Gods is much more. This is a work that opens up the inner life of a creator and what it takes to make peace with its triumphs and disappointments. It is full of valuable advice on what it takes to become a joyful and fulfilled creator. Kent Nerburn covers lots of issues and emotions that face anyone who rely on their imagination to do their work.

The author is forthright and grandfatherly in his approach. He uses lots of examples from his own life experiences in the arts. He is candid about his failures and missteps. He also touches on one of the most important topics to artists - finance.

This is a book to read more than once as it seems to cover a lot of things most creators would have gone through. It is a work I wish I came across a few years back.



Anyone who wants to enjoy the work they do.


As a creator, you need to respect, even savour, the magic of accident and care less about what is being lost than what is being born. Remember that any work of art, in its becoming, follows the rules of evolution, not the rules of human construction: every form remakes itself as new information is discovered and internalised...

When I feel myself lost in the midst of a project, I like to remind myself of the separate skills of the architect and the gardener. The architect designs and builds; he knows the desired outcome before he begins. The gardener plants and cultivates, trusting the sun and weather and the vagaries of chance to bring forth a bloom.

As artists, we must learn to be gardeners, not architects. We must seek to cultivate our art, not construct it, giving up our preconceptions and presuppositions to embrace accident and mystery. Let moments of darkness become the seedbed of growth, not occasions of fear.

Many thanks to Canongate Books for review copy.


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