Learning from Jim Henson

jim_henson_2128566i I grew up on Jim Henson's work - Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock (to name a few). He was a master at creating magical realities. Unfortunately, as a kid you don't recognize the work and genius. You just enter it and enjoy it. With the release of the new Muppets Most Wanted movie, a whole new generation is getting to experience his brilliant work, long after his untimely passing in 1990.

I recently found myself checking out from my library, the audiobook of his biography "Jim Henson: The Biography" by Brian Jay Jones. While I had admired his work for years, and the part it played in my childhood, to be honest I knew very little about the man behind it. It was great to hear of his humble beginnings, and drive to succeed at his dream. I'm only on chapter three, but I'm finding his story inspiring and refreshing.

Especially noteworthy to me was a description of how he learned by experimenting and playing to problem solve. This often led him to breakthroughs that were unusual, because he wasn't trapped by traditional thinking or training. He often didn't know any better, and this freedom was the exact thing that he needed to try new things. Case in point - he decided instead of creating an immersive physical theater for his puppets, that he would wed his love of television and consider the monitor his puppets theater and world. Everything had to look good and operate with Television viewing in mind. This was not how his predecessors worked. It was revolutionary thinking for his time.

I suppose that in the past I never really thought to look into his story because I wasn't really interested in puppets. But there's so much more to his life and story. If you're looking for an inspirational book, from a guy who followed his dreams and passions - check this one out! You just might find some influential thoughts to your own dreams and creative process!