Building Community vs. Finding Leads
This is the question that starts my days a lot lately. Somehow the fantasy of publishing, for me and many others, includes a suddent radical change. A book publishes, people become interested, you get invited on talk shows, people ask you for your autograph, someone wants to take you to lunch, money roles in.
It's all fantasy, really. I learned that when publishing P.O.W.er. The excitement,pride, and energy of seeing my first novel in print, and actually on bookstore shelves, led to a feeling of deflation and emptiness and "now what"?
Actually, I get this feeling after any stage production as well. It's not a feeling of defeat or frustration, it's more like the energy of a slowly deflating balloon. You've poured your energy into this thing, this product, this creation out of your imagination or (in the case of Re-Creating the World) out of years of exploration, practice, and experience. And then, it launches, leaving a melancholy sense of accomplishment and emptiness.
The Gift of Creativity and A Huge Thank You
It's been a long time hasn't it? I've been working on books, thinking about projects, and focusing a little on what I really want out of life. The truth is, that chosing a life that focuses on something so intangible as my belief in the power of creativity and how it can bring people together, is not an easy one. Making a living out of creative projects in the world of late-stage capitalism seems a ridiculous choice. And yet, it's who I am and who I want to be. I am so grateful to the people who have helped me discover this path, and that includes so many different people, I want to celebrate you today!
But first, I am thrilled to announce that Re-Creating the World: The Power and Joy of Collaborative Creativity is now available.
Yes, this book that I have been working on for years, is finally out in the universe. All of the links can be found on here. I hope that you will consider spreading the word, or giving yourself and people you love the gift of creativity!
Call for Submissions!
Hello Creative Collaborators!
Spark Collaborative Media is pleased to invite you to submit your work for our first anthology!
Reclaiming Goddesses: Bringing the World into Balance
We are looking for short stories, poetry, artwork, personal essays, creative non-fiction that explore a world where the goddesses of the past (from all cultures) reclaim their voices and their purposes.
- Submission Deadline: December 31, 2023 at 11:59 pm.
- Tentative Publication Date: December 2024
- We are collecting submissions on Google Forms.
- Prose pieces (including short stories, essays, reflections, etc.): 1000-5000 words
Living Values in Creative Ways
Where is creativity? It was one of the options that I chose in comparison to other things. For a moment, I thought: Have I been fooling myself all this time? Who am I to write a book about creativity and collaboration, if its not even one of my top values?
Those doubts only sat with me for a few moments, however, as the list of values truly resonated. After reflecting on them for a while, I understood.
For you see, I do value creativity as a tool and as an innate ability (or superpower) that too many of us have forgotten we have. I value collaboration as a crucial aspect of solving problems in the world--if we do not learn how to work together, and recognize that we are all connected, then we become a world full of narcissistic assholes who focus only on money and power for themselves. Our current times reflect the danger of allowing that to happen.
However, creativity and collaboration are not the core of me, rather they are the foundation that supports my core. The things that I truly value. Allow me to explain.
So You Created Something: Now What???
I posted this article on Substack yesterday. Different people find me in different ways, but I wanted to share here. Feel free to follow Sparks of Creative Rebellion on substack for interesting articles on creative journeys.
The Clash of Collaborative Creativity and Capitalism
I know, I know . . . crazy or too close to socialism or something like that.
But seriously, I wish that we could simply exchange goods or labor, rather than be ruled by this fictitious thing called money. Money is not real. I mean, yes, there is physical money, and at one point it somehow connected to the weight of precious metals. But, its getting more and more unreal, as things like cryptocurrency and the stock market thrive on the idea that imaginary money builds more money. In some, since money is now mostly associated with plastic cards and apps, some peole don't even know what money looks like.
Money is simply this thing that people (wealthy people in particular) cling too, when it really means nothing.
I admit, I am not an expert when it comes to economics. I don't understand money, and I never will. What I do understand, though, is that in our broken late-capitalist society, money breeds money, and everyone else gets screwed. The exchange of money for true labor (the workers, the artists, the writers, the actors) is never equal to the money exchanged for so-called ownership (the producers, the CEOs, the 1%) of people who don't really understand the work.
Creative Teachers can Change the World
Okay, maybe I'm being a tad dramatic. But one of my favorite high school teachers challenged my social studies class with a creative approach that influenced who I am 40 years later.
What is a living chess tournament? There are different examples of what it could be, like this example of a historical event used to decide who would win the hand of the fair maiden:
To avoid losing them in a duel, the father forbade the encounter. He declared that the two rivals would play a chess game, and human actors representing the pieces would show the moves as they were made. Lionora would take the winner as her husband. The loser would also join the family but marry instead the younger daughter, Oldrada. (Bringing Chess To Life With Human Players In Marostica)
They reenact this event every year. Time for a trip to Italy!
Anyway, the chess tournament I'm talking about is a little different. It involved the merging of historical research, collaboration, and creativity. Little did I know how much of an impact this one event would be on everything I did later in life. I always held this example up as one that shows what can be done when we combine theatre, creativity, collaboration together with a touch of courage.
Asking for Help in a Selfish World: A Rant
5 minutes after I re-launched a campaign to help me publish Re-Creating the World I received the first of many messages to the campaign inbox that was basically--pay me and I will help this campaign succeed. Pay me and I will promote your campaign.
I realize this may sound hypocritical, because I am fundraisng for something. I'm basically saying, pay me so I can achieve my dream and get this book published.
We Are Not Our Labels
Today I Choose
Waiting as Action
The young woman huddles into her coat, trying to stay warm against the slight autumn chill in the air. It's impossible, though, as her hair remains damp after an exhausting swim team practice.
"I wish I knew who was picking me up," she thinks out loud. "Why can't they ever be on time? They know when practice ends."
A few of her teammates tumble out of the locker room laughing as they jump into the waiting vehicle of one of the mom's.
"I'm going to close my eyes and count to 50, that will make them get here."
Eyes squeezed shut. "47 . . . 48 . . . 49 . . . 50." She opens her eyes and there's no sign of either her mother's little brown chevy or her father's gray oldsmobile.
"Urgh! Okay, this time I'll count until 100."
This ritual of magical thinking repeats and repeats until finally, success! A car appears.
"I knew that would work," she thinks as she gathers her belongings to get into the car.
10 Reasons to Embrace Your Creativity
By you, I mean every single one of you. I can hear it now though, many of you are thinking "I'm not creative. I don't have a creative bone in my body."
Those thoughts are born from myths about creativity that come from a society which likes to have control.
What We've Lost (If We Ever Had It)
Those were my thoughts just after I stopped at a red light this morning. I white Ford truck of some sort (F150?) pulled into the left hand turn lane next to me at exactly the same time as a white car pulled into the right lane on my other side. The male passenger in the truck and the male driver in the car both lowered their windows, and started calling across the road.
I happened to have started a call to my husband who picked up then, "Hold on, I said, there's something happening."
I thought my voice sounded panicked, but maybe I'm calmer than I think. My husband was focused on brewing beer, he didn't quite hear my distress.
I turned my head back and fort as if I was watching a tennis match. Waiting for the ball to drop, or, in this case, someone to make a move. Was I about to die in a road rage incident?
The turn arrow lit up green, and I realized they were people who knew each other communicating across my little red hybrid car. That was all.
Being Gateless in an Angry World
In some ways, it feels like all we ever do lately is deal with difficult personalities.We live in an angry world. We've lost the ability to communicate across differences and disagreements because of entrenched beliefs that allow no room for discovering new ways of being an doing.
However, I don't subscribe to that. I am actively seeking ways to communicate better, to listen better, and to encourage some kind of neutral ground where we connect in a place of collaboration even if we don't fully understand one another.
For me, that space lies in creativity and collaboration. It lies in a willingness to search for the good, the beauty, the things that work, rather than everything that is broken and ugly. It's a difficult thing to do at times, especially when your are dealing with difficult personalities including your own doubts and fears.
Sometimes the most difficult personality we have to deal with is our own.
Today, I want to share the foundations of my approaches to building creatively with anyone, so that we all might begin to understand why I believe Creative Power is so important.
Lessons Learned from a Whale: Navigating the Seas of Spoutible
I confess, I have a love/hate relationship with social media.
I love the possibilities it represents:
- The ability to connect with people all around the world, of diverse backgrounds and interests.
- The ability to discover new ideas, explore amazing images and artwork, and support others in unexpected ways.
I hate the dangers it can represent (especially on a platform that is owned by a narcissistic asshole):
- The possibility of being attacked or doxxed for a simple statement, or for your identity, gender, or belief systems.
- The nauseating feeling that there is no real way to fight back against the above.
- The possible time suck.
- The feeling of invisibility that leads to loneliness when only certain accounts get all the attention.
I actually had stopped spending much time on social media, only popping into Facebook occasionally, sometime posting to Post or Mastodon, rarely popping into that place formerly known as Twitter. I struggled with the unfortunate reality that social media is both a place to connect , and also a necessary evil if you are trying to promote yourself or your work.
I say "necessary evil" because we live in the world of late stage capitalism, where money talks, and the more you have the more you can do. Choosing to go out on your own, even to create, is a challenging thing unless you have the funds to do it. I don't, and so I have to somehow promote myself without coming off as only promoting myself. It's a fine and difficult balance. I much prefer promoting others and supporting their work as much as I can.
Swimming Over to Spoutible
Things have changed somewhat, thanks to Christopher Bouzy and the creation of Spoutible.
Books, Words, Information, Power
It tells the story of a young women living in a despotic culture where women are not allowed to read or write, and their required purpose is to marry young and make babies. However, Andra BetScriviner has other ideas when she discovers she has the ability to write things into reality, and that many women have unique abilities.
Her friends, including supportive men and people of diverse backgrounds come together to change society.
The leader of this country called New North (which in my mind was New England) was a horrible, greedy, ambitious man who believed he was the eye of god and had divine right to rule.
In 2016, I felt like I should apologize to the world. Don't get me wrong, I am very proud of the book and its empowering message, but we had entered into a reality that sounded a little too familiar.
I know, my words did not make this reality happen.
Political or Passionate
So yes, I was a senator, but why was that the only accolade that I recieved? I never thought of myself as political. Heck, I barely thought I made a difference back then, or that anyone even knew me. (I can't remember exactly, but I think I might have won the senate seat because nobody else ran for the office. So" responsible, interested in helping the school. teacher's pet, outspoken . . ." those terms applied, but political?)
Many years have passed since then. 37 to be exact. And we all know that politics have become ugly. Many people who are comfortable in their privilege, avoid political discussions like the plague (although interestingly enough, many of those same people do not take steps to avoid Covid19).
Now, perhaps I understand why I was labelled as political. In a country (the US) where there are more and more divisive politics every day, I can see why I might be labelled political. However, I have no desire to rule, or become a member of a political system so broken that it seems impossible to fix. Kudos to those who step into the fray and try to make change from the inside.
Still, I rebuff the label "political" in exchange for the word
A Song so Beautiful . . .: Creativity and Power
Somedays I doubt.
We all do.
Somedays I doubt that my truth is true. I doubt that creative power can change the world.
This doubt is born out of the frustration, anger, and toxicity spouted so often by mainstream media, or political pundits, in order to get clicks. Because anger, drama, and pain sell more than beauty, hope, and love.
A Journey Into Memory and Story through Hadestown.
Tears welled in my eyes. My breath caught in my throat at the perfection of every moment. I was enraptured by the story unrolling in front of me, and the music that filled the theatre. I journeyed with Eurydice and Orpheus into a land where memories can be destroyed, love does not always win, and power can destroy even our climate . . . but still there is ALWAYS hope.
An Invitation to Collaborate
Hello Creative Collaborators!
You are receiving this because I’ve either already approached you about this project, or I know your work and would love for you to be involved. If you are not interested, please just let me know and I will remove you from this list (or you can unsubscribe yourself, of course).
I apologize in advance for the length of this letter. I simply want you to have as much information as possible.
I am writing because of a dream. For those of you who know me, I am always a big dreamer. This dream, however, is kind of the fruition of the past few years of my life, as I have started reinventing myself and finding new ways to create and collaborate.
I would like to invite you to contribute to an anthology I have begun working on called:
Reclaiming Goddesses: How to Bring the World into Balance