We asked Brit Hanson, digital storyteller and overall Renaissance woman, to share with Brehm Experience her artistic playlist for the theme of craft. An artistic playlist is a compilation that draws on any and all realms of creativity that acts as the proverbial soundtrack in an artist’s head as she approaches her own craft. So, enjoy the pieces and people that help inspire Brit as a digital storyteller.
There are a handful of creative works I find myself coming back to every month or so—especially when needing to re-connect with the heart of my work.
There is a quality to each piece that I aspire to manifest in my own craft—storytelling. When I find myself a bit lost or tired or stuck, I return to them and take a drink. They are my wells in the desert. - Brit Hanson
1. The Birthplace of Craft - What I Have to Offer, Charlie Kaufman & Elliot Rausch
I do believe you have a wound too. I do believe it is both specific to you and common to everyone. I do believe it is the thing about you that must be hidden and protected, it is the thing that must be tap danced over five shows a day, it is the thing that won’t be interesting to other people if revealed. It is the thing that makes you weak and pathetic. It is the thing that truly, truly, truly makes loving you impossible. It is your secret, even from yourself. But it is the thing that wants to live. It is the thing from which your art, your painting, your dance, your composition, your philosophical treatise, your screenplay is born.
2. The Value of Story - Ken Burns on Story from Redglass Pictures
We have to keep the wolf at the door. We tell stories to continue ourselves. We all think an exception is going to be made in our case and we’re going to live forever. And being a human is actually arriving at the understanding that that’s not going to be. Story is there to remind us that, it’s just, okay.
3. Learning to Tell the Story Right - Honor the Treaties, Aaron Huey & Shepard Fairey, Directed by Eric Becker
The only way this will be really successful is the people’s actual voice is what’s out there—not my interpretation of their voice or my photographs. I think that the end for this project really is when I can elevate the stage of the people and their voice to the point where it’s visible enough that I can walk away and they’ll still be there telling their stories.
4. Poetic Narrative - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Hushpuppy: “You gonna be dead?”
Hushpuppy: “You gonna leave me alone?”
Wink: “No, I ain’t gonna leave you alone.”
Hushpuppy: “Because if you be gone, I be gone, too.”
5. Sincerity, Dark Humor, and Sharp Wit - David Rakoff on WHY’s Fresh Air
I also had to really be very careful that what I was sad about [when his therapist got cancer] wasn’t simply the cancellation of “The David Show.” You know what I mean?. I wanted to make sure that I was very sad about this fellow who I really – who really saved my life. You know, he really did save my life. I had gone into therapy after my first bout with cancer because I really hadn’t dealt with it, and I was, you know, I was just barely functional, and he really helped me through that. And then he just – the reason I managed to become a writer and leave my day job is almost entirely up to him. I really owed him everything.
The hiking boots the outdoor adventure magazine sent me to buy—large, ungainly, potato-like thing that I have been trying to break in for the past four days—cut into my feet and draw blood as if they were lined with cheese graters. I have come to hate these Timberlands with a fervor I usually reserve for people. Just think—the shoes I wouldn’t dare be caught dead in, might actually turn out to be the shoes I am caught dead in.
6. Grit - "won’t you celebrate with me" by Lucille Clifton
won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.
7. Detail and Disarming Honesty - Black Hole Son, This American Life, episode 207
He had an imaginary friend named bad-bad-fan. Its blades were teeth and it had these little tiny eyes and these little tiny feet at the bottom—and it would just kill people. It would blow on people and that would kill them because his breath was filled with teeth.
I used to watch those talk show with the out of control children … and I used to think: ‘You must be really bad parents — I would never have a problem controlling my kid; I would teach him how to act’ … So, of course, once I became afraid of my child I didn’t tell anyone because I thought they would think the same thing about me. I kind of thought the same thing about me.
8. The Universal Personal - "A History of Everything, Including You" by Jenny Hollowell on Radiolab
We had some children, who mostly disappointed us, but it might have been our fault. You were too indulgent and I was too critical. We loved them anyway. One of them died before we did. Stabbed on the subway. We grieved. We moved. We adopted a cat … You ignored me and I was sick of you. We forgave. We made cocktails. We got tender. There was that time on the porch when you said, ‘Can you believe it?’ I think you were talking about everything, including us.
9. Comfort - "Cigarettes and Coffee" by Otis Redding
It’s early in the morning
About a quarter till three
I’m sitting’ here talkin’ with my baby
Over cigarettes and coffee.
BRIT HANSON story is Brit's craft—told by whatever medium the story demands. Poetry. Audio Postcards. Photos. Essays. Tweets. Playlists. Conversation. She is the founder and curator of http://abravelove.tumblr.com as well as the principal of BritHanson.com