Troy Bronsink is not messing around. Right from the start of his book Drawn In, he forthrightly and courageously writes about the many potential pitfalls for creative people– including alcohol dependency, frustration, isolation, and ongoing fear– as they try to tap into the emotions necessary to spark fresh ideas and to find the motivation to complete their projects, all while still keeping their lives together. What creative folks seek is not easy or simple, but it is good. And God is in the whole process from start to finish.
Thankfully, Bronsink (himself a musician, poet, pastor, curator, and urban activist, besides being an excellent writer) does not limit his thinking to strict categories of artists, musicians, writers, designers, and etc.. Instead, he is wise enough to know that creativity is for all of us. We create because we are created, and we are constantly emulating our creator. To make this point, Bronsink writes eloquently through the Biblical narrative of creation as he describes people crafted from dust and of the continuing creativity of these “dirt-people” as they echo with repetition after repetition of this divine spark. Troy is not calling us only to an easel in a studio, or an instrument in a recording suite, or to a computer keyboard in some hip coffee shop, but to open windows of creativity and refreshment in the midst of our everyday lives. So he writes about folk-artists like a guild of quilters from Alabama who turned scraps of fabric into very practical and yet arresting works of art, and really hits his stride with the chapter ‘Making Your Life a Monastery’.
In my favorite metaphor from the book, Troy explores the children’s story ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ to empower the reader to envision the way in which we can literally make our own reality– a place of beauty, goodness, and imaginative generativity– by taking the crayons given to us by our creator, and indeed entering into an apprenticeship with that same creator.