The first college level course I taught was a seminar on the creative process. I LOVED teaching this class– looking at the theories behind the creative process while practicing their impact with our own creativity. I try really hard to come up with creative assignments as an educator, but the most creative assignments I’ve ever offered were in this class.
One of those projects was a Creativity Immersion experience. The overview for the project read:
This project will focus on reviewing an artist’s work intensively. The focus area can be within literature, the visual arts, film, music, dance, etc. Students will submit a proposal for their immersion project that will include their reason for selecting an artist, an understanding of the scope of the periods that they will study, and an overview of the critical questions they wish to explore. After having their proposal approved, students will review the work of the artist(s) from at least three different periods in order to discern patterns, moments, trends in the artist(s)’s creative evolution, etc. and the influences that may have factored into the creation of their art.
The final products for this project were incredible. My students choose artists like Quentin Tarantino, Frida Kahlo, and Sting. I learned so much about these artists (and their creative processes) as I graded. It really was incredible.
I was reminded of this project recently when Happy and I were reading something like our eleventh book by Oliver Jeffers. We first came across Jeffers’ work when I purchased, on a whim, his book Stuck. We both loved it. It’s funny and silly and just has the best voice. After totally wearing out our copy of Stuck, I decided to look for more books by Jeffers and wouldn’t you know that all of my book requests at the library arrived on the same day and so we were all Jeffers all the time for a few days. And it was fabulous because A. We already knew that we dug his stories and drawings and handwriting (he hand-letters the text in some of his books) but B. some of the characters show up in different books and so it was so fun to see what they were up to next.
Then, not long after our Jeffers immersion, a bunch of books by Kevin Henkes arrived for us at the library and we started a Henkes immersion.
I’ve noticed, too, that I’ve been immersive in my reading lately: tackling the work of Liane Moriarty, Harlan Coben, Rainbow Rowell, and Megan Abbott. I’ve also been thematically immersive: stories about dangerous behaving teenage girls, thrillers, first loves, forty-something women in transition or upheaval.
It’s been a lot of fun to get on a kick and follow it through (I reckon this is the bookish’s version of binge watching).
Do you ever find yourself reading, listening, or viewing immersively? What do you recommend for those moments?