Review: “The Crowd, The Critic, and The Muse: A Book For Creators” by Michael Gungor

Rating 4/5 – A thoughtful, honest, and decisive book, framing the contemporary artist’s dilemma and providing companionship, guidance, and fresh purpose to create.

Released October 9, 2012. Order at MissingInkShop from Gungor.

gungor book header
Click through to the book’s webpage

“We are all creators”, Michael Gungor asserts. “But only real things get to create things, not ghosts…dead souls do not produce the same stuff as living ones do.”

Inviting the reader into the thrilling, embarrassing, and downright astonishing stories that thread through his creative journey, Gungor first describes the place he has come from, as a swaying creator seeking appreciation, next realizes the paralysis brought about by disconnecting from the grounds of one’s art, and then explores the resurrection found in reconnecting with that source. Prepare to encounter the allure of the crowd and steel yourself for the tongue of the critic, but get ready to realize their ultimately inconsequential place in your creative endeavours.

While not presuming to know everything or be right about anything, Gungor has penned more than just a book. It’s a tool that allows creative people (all of us) to distinguish the roots of our culture that frames our creative processes, and to see where these roots are diseased and causing decay. Dividing the book into three parts, the first is on the nature of art and creativity, encountering the soul, the sublime, and the source. Following this is his exposition of six roots that support our cultural tree, and finally a look into the soil itself: how to cultivate the kind of landscape from which good art can grow.

As the artist turns these pages, she will encounter weighty words of caution as well as celebration. Gungor’s artistic grounding freshly recontextualizes scriptures like, “What do you profit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?” As an artist who sees and has seen through, he possesses a rare ability to speak to the divergent, artistic individual wrestling with the conflicts that surround artistic integrity.

Tend the ground of the inner landscape from which the art grows, says Michael. Art is the body’s pronunciation of the soul. If the soul is dry, so too will the art be. This is his invitation to re-engage the motive for creator to create.

Listen to Michael read the Introduction to The Crowd, The Critic, and The Muse here!

Watch This Space: Review of Gungor’s New Book

It is with delight that I announce that I’ve been picked to be a recipient of one of 50 pre-release manuscripts of Michael Gungor’s forthcoming book “The Crowd, The Critic, and The Muse”.

This means I get an advanced look at the material and will be publishing a pre-release review of the book. I will be scouring this piece of literature and enjoying, analyzing, and reflecting on what Michael has to say about the arts and all else contained in life (if indeed, there is). I’ll have a review completed for release by October 9 (the official book release date).

For those who are not familiar, Michael Gungor is the lead instrumentalist and vocalist of the musical collective Gungor, an innovative and motley crew of jazz-trained musicians and  friends. Gungor was nominated for a Grammy for their last album, Ghosts Upon The Earth, described as follows:

Produced by the group’s namesake, Michael Gungor, Ghosts Upon the Earth was primarily written by Michael and his wife Lisa who is also a featured vocalist in this musical collective. Recorded in numerous locations, including the Gungor’s home, the album also includes seventeen players, four additional vocalists, a six-person string ensemble and a boy’s choir. Inspiration for the album was orchestrated from Gungor’s weeklong meditation in Assisi where he was inspired by the Saint’s view of the world, as well as from the birth of their daughter last year. (Source: M News)

The book comes out of Michael’s wrestling match with the “Christian music” establishment as a person whose musical was first “too trite” and then “too different” to succeed in that genre category. Michael has a lot to say about faith and the arts and last year gave a Q&A prior to each tour concert.

I will not be releasing any details about the manuscript until I release the review. For more information, visit Gungor’s site.

For my prior posts on Gungor, click these:

Gungor – Ghosts Upon The Earth Tour – Langley

Ghosts Upon The Earth (Album)

Gungor – Beautiful Things Tour – Langley

Beautiful Things (Album) (Published in Options Magazine)

Brocken Spectre @ Converge Magazine Social

Brocken Spectre (Colin Ablitt, Nic Campbell, Colin Campbell, Scott Bjerkness) played our Converge Magazine social on Saturday, June 2, at the gorgeous Five Stones Church in New Westminster (exposed brick, hardwood floors, right on the river).

Playing an unfamiliar venue to a largely-unfamiliar crowd can be a big challenge. Being a social event with appetizers aplenty and drinks flowing, everyone is already pretty chatty. But halfway through their first song, “Parallel Dances“, something magical happened. A stillness was setting over the room; everyone was tuning in. A couple minutes later, and a big round of applause for a band that barely anyone in the room knew (yet).

Brocken Spectre will be playing a show with In Contra and Aida Saturday, June 16 at the Southside Community Church venue. Doors open at 6:39. Tickets are well-worth it at $10.