Many of us recognize the name of Nick Bantock from the famous Griffin and Sabine trilogy he published in the 1990s. Those terrific books were on the New York Times best-seller list for two years. And many of us still have all three books proudly displayed in our homes. The author’s creativity and literary skills are now joined again in The Trickster’s Hat: A Mischievous Apprenticeship in Creativity.
At the heart of The Trickster’s Hat is a collection of activities to loosen up the brain, thereby getting writers and artists to reach deeper into their craft. And, of course, our creativity is further spurred by Bantock’s lively illustrations, including his unique full-color collages.
The playful creativity starters include making lists, having fun, and loosening up enough to stop self-censorship. You’ll soon realize you are also relearning the art of play. Some exercises need common materials such as paper, scissors, and glue. You’ll enjoy the challenge of inventing words, sketching, and following writing prompts. None of the playful activities are computer-based, with a Delete key. Using simple tools that engage both sides of the brain help you maintain momentum and let your creativity take over.
While the process of creativity differs for everyone, Bantock opens up to it by simply beginning – just getting something down on paper without worrying about perfection. As he says:
“You can’t experiment and be flawless at the same time.”
It’s best to keep a notebook handy as you read, since you’ll be invited to work through writing prompts to loosen up and have fun. Bantock stresses there is no creativity without play.
In fact, while The Trickster’s Hat is enjoyable to read straight through, with Bantock’s personal conversational tone, you’ll get more out of the book by allowing time for the exercises. This gifted artist, known for his creative books, invites the reader to have fun with the ideas that will help spark individual creativity. And who knows where that creativity may lead.
If, as he says, “Art offers a path to our souls,” it is imperative for today’s writers to remember how to unplug, get quiet, and get creative. The lighthearted exercises will inspire your creativity and let you enjoy where it leads. Beyond fun, it may be the launch pad for your next poem, powerful essay, or your big next book idea.
Nick Bantock has written 25 books, including the Griffin and Sabine trilogy loved by millions of readers of all ages.