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Curbside Creative

A prompt to encourage your practice of creativity this week from Riversider and local author Larry Burns.

A Little Free Library on Falkirk Ave. in the Victoria Woods neighborhood.

Do you need a low stress way to include seven minutes of creative contemplation into your week? Consider this your helpful nudge towards a slightly more creative life. If it helps, come back every week for a quick hit of creative contemplation. Each week I’ll share a new nudge. It will include a Thing (T), a Place (P), and a Sense(S) for your focus, a TPS creative nudge.

Last week, we treated ourselves to an early dose of summer fun and tried something creative with sand. Maybe you invented a new sand dance step or turned your kid’s sandbox into a Zen garden. Even if you just watched an hourglass count down for seven minutes, I hope a few minutes of creative engagement enriched your Sunday.

For the creative nudge this week, our attention shifts to another part of Riverside’s creative landscape: Little Free Libraries. These charming “tiny homes” are placed in public spaces.  Each is fully customized by their creator and the items found in some of them go well beyond books. See Riverside’s “Little Free Pantry” program and discover creative ways your neighbors already give back to their city using this creative concept.

Take a stroll through your neighborhood or explore nearby streets to seek out these literary gems. Like you, every Little Free Library has its own distinct character and charm. As you encounter these tiny repositories of knowledge and imagination, take in the sight of their charming exteriors as well as the books inside.

Observe the details: the intricate craftsmanship, chosen materials, vibrant colors, and whimsical decorations that make each unique. How are the books displayed? Is there a focused genre or does it feature a little bit of everything?

As you immerse yourself in these miniature literary havens, consider engaging in the following creative activities:

  1. Literary Photography: Capture the beauty of the little free libraries through the lens of your camera or smartphone. Experiment with different angles, lighting, and perspectives to convey their whimsical charm and the sense of community they embody.
  2. Book Title Found Poetry: Select a few books and stack them to build your own poem. Combine titles to form hilarious sentences. Share your creations with others and spread some literary laughter.
  3. Become a tiny publisher! Use small scraps of paper or thrift store postcards and shape them into tiny booklets. Get creative with the content—write short stories, poems, or even create a mini comic book. Add illustrations or glue on found materials to bring your little story to life.
  4. Curb your urge…to drop off books at a Little Free Library. Most curators prefer to stock their own shelves so if you want to declutter as a creative exercise, check out these ideas from the American Library Association (ALA).

Through the act of seeing and engaging with Little Free Libraries, we not only discover new books but also connect with others through a shared love of language and the joy of community. These tiny homes remind us of the power of storytelling and the magic that unfolds when creative ideas are shared. So, wander the streets, open your eyes, and let the sight of these miniature libraries inspire your next creative journey.

Note: portions of this prompt created using the tool ChatGPT.