Professional creative-types recommend the pop-culture they’ve been devouring


Kaley Kocinski // Photo by Kaley from Kansas

While the stay-at-home order has sparked new hobbies for some—baking bread, learning to roller-skate or spreading a 1,000 piece puzzle across the kitchen table—others have turned to the stack of books in their “to read” pile. The Pitch reached out to four local creatives for their book recommendations and to learn more about how these books have impacted their creative practice. 

Muenfua Lewis, co-founder of By Design Magazine, recommends the first issue of The Entrepreneurs magazine by the editors of Monocle magazine (titled “The Business Handbook for People with Big Ideas”). 

Muenfua Lewis // Photo by Brooks Proctor

Say more about what led you to reading it.

“I love learning about diverse and unique industries, and the dope creative people who are changing the way we all live. I’m relatively new to this whole entrepreneurial life (part time but hey it’s new) so picking up new info is always a must.” 

What specifically stands out about this magazine to recommend it? 

“This edition really does a great job of visually highlighting different aspects of the entrepreneur’s life, as well as introducing the reader to interesting industries you wouldn’t think anything of. Gaining a global perspective is a major key.” 

How has this magazine (if at all) impacted your creative process or current creative work?

“Overall, I think seeing how others are creating their processes and running their businesses, allows me to channel those strategies into what I do. Fresh perspectives are dope!” 

Alison Claire Peck, an independent and commercial filmmaker , recommends You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero. Peck says her friend Jamie Middleton (owner of the Hair Parlour) had recommended this book to her after a conversation about the gender wage gap and how badass women in business are, especially in the creative realm. 

Say more about what led you to reading it.


Alison Claire Peck // Photo by Renee Tay Valdiviezo

“After working as a freelancer in the film industry for about four years, I was feeling like following my dreams would lead to nothing but living my life out as a poor artist, or had the preconceived notion that was the way it had to be anyway. I was doing nothing but working my butt off at the cost of a social life, my mental health, and good sleep and was still making less than I was during my pre-school teaching days. My dreams of making a difference in the world with my work and the money I could make were slowly slipping away. I was fed up and decided to take a step in the direction of getting paid my worth.”

How has this book (if at all) impacted your creative process or current creative work? 

“It turns out, money is very emotional. Your preconceived notions about it solidify in childhood, and I, like most of us creatives—ESPECIALLY women, have mountains of roadblocks to work though. I know this is a weird time to be talking about money, but when you think about it (and have as many heebie-jeebie ideas associated with it as I do) what time isn’t? This book has really made me question some of the negative thoughts about money, change my internal conversations with it, and illuminated this idea that more money means more good in the world. I highly recommend it to anyone who feels like they need couples therapy with their income, want to make more of a difference in the world, and are ready to receive with an open heart, so they can share their creative gifts freely in return.” 

Kaley Kocinski, documentary wedding and family photographer known as Kaley from Kansas, recommends The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile.


Kaley Kocinski // Photo by Kaley from Kansas

How has this book (if at all) impacted your creative process or current creative work?

“Being a photographer, my greatest discovery are my subjects—the human beings that trust me to document whatever season they are in, the ones who get in front of my camera and allow themselves to be vulnerable, quirky, adventurous, all of it. The Enneagram is an amazing way of identifying and knowing how to work with others. It’s a way to seek out commonalities and differences in the people around you and has allowed me to serve my clients better.”

Fritz Hutchinson, local musician recommends American Blues by Tennessee Williams, which he decided to revisit after discovering scripts from his high school theater class. 

What specifically stands out about this book to recommend it?


Fritz Hutchison // Photo by Anna Selle

“Theater is fun! If you have roommates or family members in your home with you, Tennessee Williams’s ultra-melodrama fantasy world drenched with mid-century slang is perfect for goofy out-loud reads in over the top accents. Just picture yourself yelling ‘Archie Lee, will you hold your tongue a minute!?’ at your roommate. Sounds healthy, right? These plays are indeed short, so passing the book around for a 15 minute scene is the perfect way to have a fun time without the activity overstaying its welcome. Or if you’d rather just read it silently on your own, the dialogue-based text really lets your imagination fill in the blanks. The slang may be dated, but the stories have great depth and several of the scenarios have stuck with me for days.” 

How has this book (if at all) impacted your creative process or current creative work? 

“I feel like having read through these plays I’ve been thinking in more cinematic images, and have been trying to apply imagery to my lyrics that narrate the sort of moments that happen between the dialogue. Plus it’s helped to normalize the feeling of performing in my own home, which is basically the only place I (and most all other performers) can right now.” 

Categories: Culture