"Do not be content with the stories of others," the Sufi poet Rumi tells us, "Unfold your own myth." Pianist and composer Michael Jones does just that in this beautifully-written and compelling spiritual autobiography. Past experiences including a walk in the woods, being ridiculed by peers as a boy, learning to improvise while working with a dance troupe, playing music in a hotel and prison all serve as catalysts to bring out his creativity. The author locates his "signature in creation" and reveals that everyone can find the song he or she was meant to sing. Readers will rejoice in the 70-minute sampler of Jones's piano artistry on a musical CD sewn into the jacket of the book.
A myriad of rich and evocative stories of the author's own journey toward integrating himself back into a whole and complete context. it is an invitation to reconnect with the essence of who we truly are, to trust that there is a dimension of life behind life, one that can live through us and bring with it a renewed sense of dignity and grace each time we honor it by doing what we love, feeling what we feel and simply being ourselves. Includes a 70-minute CD selected from a catalog of solo piano compositions recorded by the author during the past 10 years with Narada.
--Arizona Networking News-April/May 1997
An award-winning composer and pianist takes us into the very heart of creativity. The eloquence with which he describes his own musical journey applies directly to the creative process itself, no matter what outward form it takes. Jones is an inspiring teacher. "Each of us is designed to create," he says. "It is our 'birthright.' “Virtually every page of this truly beautiful book provides wise and wonderful clues for allowing the creative impulse within us to emerge. Throw out your books of creativity exercises and read this instead. A CD of Jones' Narada-label music is packaged with each copy.
-- Napra Review-Fall 1995
Creativity flows an unpredictable path. That belief rests in the shadows of the pages of Michael Jones's book, Creating an Imaginative Life. Michael Jones is a musician who became a management consultant, and then became a musician, and then a management consultant who uses music in his management consulting. "This is your gift-don't waste it." Michael Jones' advice and music are gentle, like a little brook insistent with its quiet sound. It is easy to walk away from, but not so easy to forget. his voice is the voice of the artist, one who has been there. As gentle as it is, it is still scary for those of us who haven't been there, who stay within the tight and clear edges. The haunting question it left with me is "if we knew that we were being deeply listened to, what is it that we would wish to say?"
-- A.H.P. Perspective: Association for Humanistic Psychology-July/August 1996
If reading about crises has you depressed, pick up Michael Jones' book, Creating An Imaginative Life, for a sensitive, inspirational portrayal of the creative process. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, (author of Flow, HarperPerennial, 1990) uses "flow" to describe the positive aspects of human experience-joy, creativity and "the process of total involvement with life." Jones' book presents a good example of what it means to live a life in "flow." He gives us insight into the process he uses for staying in a flow state and through wonderful, "magical" stories shows us creativity at work.
Anyone who has experienced the creative process will relate to Jones' experiences. And for many of us who want to be able to tap into our creativity, what some call our most "powerful resource," Creating An Imaginative Life can help us explore inventiveness in our own lives.
-- Ethical Management-July 1996
If you need to step back from your work and renew your creative well-spring, here's a book to inspire you.
"As we discover how to follow the stories' unfolding trails of meaning, we can appreciate how perfectly suited they are for us: they become our teachers, subtly and exquisitely revealing to us our next steps."
Jones writes in a clear, direct style about finding and following the creative impulse in dreams, everyday experiences, and the "wild part of our natures."
-- Training and Development-Sacha Cohen-November 1996
Jones tells highly readable stories about what has informed his music inspiration-everything from observing and internalizing the authentic, energetic body movements of his first puppy to having a burly convict walk out of his first, nervously performed prison concert, only to return and wordlessly offer him a glass of water. These were the kinds of experiences that turned his musical world inside-out, dissolving the constricting armor of forced technical practice and freeing his heart and body to soar into realms of musical possibility. The stories speak for themselves, and speak deeply, to the creative spirit in any of us who yearn for genuine content and joy in the activity of our choice. The message that keeps percolating up through Jones's stories as well as his gentle, moody solo piano music is that setting aside our thoughts about how to do life opens other possibilities for life to "do" us, which is far more effective, passionate, and fun.
-- New Dimensions-January-March 1996
One of the things a musician learns, if he is ever to have an audience, is how to feel the room. This is one of many lessons imparted by Michael Jones in this collection of stories with life lessons. To connect with the room, you need to connect with yourself first.
-- Book Page-July 1996
This book is like Michael's music-absolutely unique, yet when you find it, you feel as if you're meeting someone who knows you very well, someone who can tell you delicious secrets you haven't even told yourself. Creating An Imaginative Life makes joy accessible-a dangerous gift because it can change your life. Luckily, Michael's courage is infectious. An inspiring book.
-- Betty S. Flowers, Editor of The Power of Myth