Rhett Miller’s Superfriends: Cindy Chupack

rhettmillerlogo100cc2We asked Old 97’s frontman Rhett Miller to guest edit this week, and he pawned it off on a bunch of his famous friends: other musicians, actors, writers and comedians. Well played, Rhett. But you can’t hide behind a self-titled solo album. Rhett Miller (Shout! Factory), a Beatlesque beauty featuring Jon Brion, is out this week.

ted525Cindy Chupack is a former writer/executive producer of Sex And The City and author of The Between Boyfriends Book: A Collection Of Cautiously Hopeful Essays. I heart her. Cindy Chupack recommends:

TED conference videos
I have a few favorite TED conference videos that I find inspiring. TED (in case you never heard of it) stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and according to its website, it started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds, and since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). On the TED site, you can watch the best talks, and it’s a great way to pass time and even learn something and expand your world. My favorites are Jill Bolte Taylor’s Stroke Of Insight (Taylor was a brain scientist who had a massive stroke and was conscious, as it was happening, of everything going on in her brain because she understands the brain, and it’s really amazing and thought-provoking) and Dave Eggers’ Wish: Once Upon A School (about Eggers‘ work creating 826 Valencia, a tutoring center and pirate-supply store in San Francisco). I recently signed up to volunteer at their sister center in Los Angeles: 826 LA. And Elizabeth Gilbert‘s talk on nurturing creativity is a good one to watch when you’re not feeling inspired creatively, because it sort of lets you off the hook and examines the extraordinary pressure artists put on themselves.

Bird By Bird: Some Instructions On Writing And Life by Anne Lamott
Speaking of getting inspired creatively, my favorite book about writing is 1994’s Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. Lamott’s father was a writer and once, when her brother was overwhelmed by a report that he had to write on the birds of North America, her father put his hands on her brother’s shoulders and said, “Just take it bird by bird.” Thus the title of her book about writing, which I highly recommend to anybody who wants to write anything. It’s about facing the challenges of the process and not letting your inner critic get in the way of your creativity. Anne Lamott is such an honest, hilarious and authentic voice that you can’t help but love her as she describes the excruciating joy of writing.

This concludes “Rhett Miller Week” here at Many, many thanks to Rhett for all the work he did while guest editing our website. Be sure to check out his new self-titled solo album.