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An Absorbing Errand

How Artists and Craftsmen Make Their Way to Mastery

List Price: $15.95

August 6, 2013 | Paperback | 5.2 x 7.9, 264 pages | ISBN 9781619021860
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An Absorbing Errand provides a philosophical, historical, and analytical look at the creative impulse and how certain artists from a wide field mastered their craft. From Julia Child to Charlie Chaplin, Lady Gaga to Michael Jackson, famous painters to established writers, Smith shows us how each overcame the obstacles they faced in the pursuit of their creative visions.

This utilizes stories of artists’ lives, personal anecdotes, and insights from the author’s work as a psychotherapist to examine the psychological obstacles that prevent people from staying with, and relishing, the process of art-making. Each chapter is devoted to a problem intrinsic to the creative process and illustrates how these very obstacles, once understood, can become prime sources of the energy that actually fuels the mastery of art-making.

An Absorbing Errand is a supportive companion, an enlightened and compassionate ballast, a guide for anyone who has ever picked up a pencil to write, or a paint brush to paint, or any tool –from chisel to loom– to pursue any serious craft, and then put it down again frustrated, discouraged, and unable to continue.

About Janna Malamud Smith

Janna Malamud Smith is the author of three books, My Father is a Book: A Memoir of Bernard Malamud, A Potent Spell: Mother Love and The Power of Fear; and Private Matters: In Defense of the Personal Life. Her titles have been New York Times Notable Books and A Potent Spell was a Barnes and Noble "Discover Great New Writers" pick. She has written for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Threepenny Review, among other publications. A practicing psychotherapist, she lives with her husband and two children in Massachusetts.

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