Ben Crowder

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A Girl’s Guide to Heavenly Mother

I’m happy to announce that I have a painting included in a new book: A Girl’s Guide to Heavenly Mother, by McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding — they did the lovely Girls Who Choose God series with Deseret Book. Here’s my piece, on the theme that Heavenly Mother helped prepare us for our earthly existence:

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Other artists with pieces in Girl’s Guide: Allen TenBusschen, Ashmae Hoiland, Caitlin Connolly, Claire Tollstrup, Courtney Vander Veur Matz, Esther Candari Christiansen, Heather Ruttan, J. Kirk Richards, Jenedy Paige, Joumana Borderie, Kathy Peterson, Katrina Berg, Kwani Povi Winder, Laura Erekson, Lisa DeLong, Louise Parker, McArthur Krishna, Melissa Kamba Boggs, Michelle Franzoni Thorley, Michelle Gessell, Normandie Shael Luscher, Paige Anderson, Rachel Hunt Steenblick, Richard Lasisi Olagunju, Sherron Valeña Crisanto, Sopheap Nhem, and Susana Silva.

It’s available now for preorders and will be released next month. And in May there’ll be a gallery show at Writ & Vision in Provo, too. More on that when it gets closer.

Shoulder to the Wheel II

With Sacred Shapes, I wanted to have some new art along with the old, so people in the area who’ve already seen everything online would have a reason to go in person. This is one of the three new pieces. Newish, actually. It’s a reworking of Shoulder to the Wheel, which I felt would work better in a wintertime setting. So, with 100% more snow:

Shoulder to the Wheel II

I should note, too, that I’ve tweaked this one a bit beyond what’s in the exhibit (adding more snow, mainly).

There are two quotes that have been in my mind a lot lately. First, by Christopher McQuarrie (via the Daring Fireball post where I read it):

After twenty five years in the craft, I’ve learned the secret to making movies is making movies—starting with little movies no one will ever see.

The secret to knowledge is doing and failing—often and painfully—and letting everyone see.

The second quote, by Robert Greene in his book Mastery, is in a similar vein:

There are two kinds of failure. The first comes from never trying out your ideas because you are afraid, or because you are waiting for the perfect time. This kind of failure you can never learn from, and such timidity will destroy you. The second kind comes from a bold and venturesome spirit. If you fail in this way, the hit that you take to your reputation is greatly outweighed by what you learn. Repeated failure will toughen your spirit and show you with absolute clarity how things must be done.

Amen to both. Make stuff, post it, and it’s okay if it flops as long as you learn from it. (I say this as if I’m already doing that, but ha, no, I’ve let fear of failure strangle my creative work far, far too often. You have no idea how often. Here’s hoping this time the lesson sticks, though.)

From the Saturday issue of Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American newsletter:

People are saying this is the end for American democracy, but I see the opposite. Radical ideologues who want the government to do nothing but protect property, build a strong military, and advance Christianity took over the Republican Party in the 1990s. They have been manipulating our political system to their own ends ever since. They want to destroy the government regulation of business and social safety net we have enjoyed since the 1930s. But they have done so gradually, and not enough people seem to have noticed, even when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took the shocking step of refusing to permit a hearing for a Supreme Court nominee named by a Democrat. Now they have gone too far, out in the open, and it looks to me as if Americans are finally seeing the radicals currently in charge of the Republican Party for what they are, and are determined to take America back.

I sure hope she’s right.

Recent reads:

Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut. My first time reading Vonnegut. Not really what I expected — I don’t know what on earth I was expecting — but I think I liked it. Weird book, though. Looking forward to reading more of him.

Ultralearning, by Scott Young. As I got into this book, I realized I was mainly mining it for ideas to help me get better at writing. And it did deliver, though there’s certainly a lot of the book that wasn’t as useful in that regard.

Educated, by Tara Westover. Whew, that was intense. And maddening. Couldn’t put it down.

The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro. Not my usual reading fare, but I really, really liked it. Thoughtful and bittersweet and slow, in a good way.

A Craftsman’s Legacy, by Eric Gorges. Made me want to make things with my hands. Which is why I read it.

How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method, by Randy Ingermanson. Framed as a story, which ended up not being my thing, but I do think the snowflake method has a lot of value and I’m currently trying out some variations on it in my own fiction.

Brothers in Arms, by Lois McMaster Bujold. Good as usual. I love the Vorkosigan books. Great comfort reading, kind of like Discworld for me.

The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden. A bit of a slow start for me but then it got good — and darker than I’d expected, which in this case I liked.

Becoming Superman, by J. Michael Straczynski. What an amazing, inspiring story. Plenty of content warnings, though — what a messed-up family.

The Worlds of Medieval Europe, by Clifford R. Backman. Surprisingly readable for a textbook. (Is that bad to say? Any offended textbook authors in the audience?) Learned a ton, particularly about the parts that were blanks in my mental chronology (800s, 900s, etc.).

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, by Caitlin Doughty. Great book — at least if you think about death all the time like I do. I honestly have no idea what normal people would think of it. Right after I read this book, I got an ad from a local mortuary that offers free tours, and you better believe I’m going to go check it out once the semester’s over.