Category Archives: Pari Noskin Taichert

Does adversity make creativity stronger?

by Pari

Ever since I heard the concept in elementary school, I’ve subscribed to the idea that adversity makes a person stronger. At the very least, it adds a certain meaning to those times in life when it feels like the entire universe is conspiring against one’s happiness, health, financial success, good relationships with others . . . .

I’m still inclined to accept the idea on a meta-level, though I’ve seen troubles take dear friends and family down hard. Some of them have never recovered. Some decided their pain was too much to bear and they killed themselves. So I’m not quite as ideal as I once was.

However, the other day in conversation with a tremendously accomplished man, Chris Schueler, a different take on the concept came up: Chris believes that adversity makes creativity stronger.

Hmmmm. I don’t know how I feel about this one.  The thought encourages me; I really want to hang my hat on it. How comforting to think that the emotional struggles I’m going through right now will make me a better writer.

I want to believe; I’m just not seeing any obvious evidence of its veracity yet.

It is true that I’m creating more in general. While my fiction may not be as large in word count as it was while I was home full time, I’m sticking to a schedule and have only forgotten to write one day in the last 412. So I’m far more consistent. I’m also painting, “doodling,” dancing and singing more than I’ve done in years. So, again, the sheer quantity of my creativity is increasing.

But is any of it “stronger?”

I can’t say because I don’t know what that means.

There’s a bit of “One must suffer for one’s art,” underlying my interpretation of Chris’s observations. I know that’s not what he meant. He was talking about his own work and how he was able to pour much of his emotional turmoil into incredibly moving television productions such as Cody — a video about Cody Unser (of Unser racing family fame) and her journey with paralysis.

I don’t feel like I’m pouring anything into anything. Instead I feel like I’m a dancing drop of water on a hot frying pan.

Right now my days have an automatic quality to them rather than the vigor of creativity. Yeah, yeah, it’s early days in my own journey and I’m maintaining well. Yes. I know all of that. And maybe it’s too much to expect that I can even judge if I’m becoming stronger creatively – or if my creative output is stronger.

Again, I don’t know, but I think it’s a really interesting idea.

Would you like to explore it with me?

1. Do you buy it? Does adversity make creativity stronger?

2. Can you give examples in your own life or from artists/writers /other creatives that have found this to be true?


by Pari

Yesterday, Gar wrote eloquently about the paucity of thought that often goes into single-word movie, television and book titles (and blog titles?). As is the case with most of my wonderful blog-mates’ posts, I’ll need to think about that one for a while to see where I stand on the issue.

However, that particular contemplation might be especially difficult right now because I seem to be living in the land of dissection of single words. For some reason, I’ve become a serial analyzer, fixating on one word and then another, wanting to hold what looks like a single-cell concept under a crystalline magnifying glass to discover its true fractal nature.

For example, when I started to consider a topic for today’s post, I immediately wanted to tie it to the idea of Labor Day. So like the good little blogger that I am, I went to the Dept of Labor for an explanation of the holiday.  Once I read that, I felt utterly unqualified to write about it; I don’t know enough about the labor movement, don’t know how I feel about unions or what happened in Wisconsin etc etc etc . . .

Frankly, “labor” to me will always first mean the work I went through to have my babies.

Okay, so labor is work is . . . what is work? What does it really mean? And so it began.

Work is a word with rich depths, isn’t it? Even the dictionary can’t define it in a single sentence. No, there are too many meanings, too many layers to this noun/verb. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to explore it. How is the term used in daily parlance? At its base does the verb merely mean expending energy? Or is it tied to intentional effort? Is breathing work? Not for most of us. However, it certainly is if you’ve got emphysema.

Does work need a result, a product, to truly be work? That’s what the noun would imply, wouldn’t it? What about struggling with a question that has no answer? Is the time spent thereon work? Do philosophers work when they think? Is a child working when she watches a butterfly sip perspiration from her hand? Is learning work?

Right about now, some of you might be thinking I have too much time on my hands. Or, if you’re Gar, you might be feeling the urge to chew off your arm in frustration.

But I find this stuff fascinating. Is work work if we enjoy it? What would a Puritan answer? How about a hedonist?

As a writer I “work” daily at my craft – but the result might be only a sentence. Is that work if it’s such a small bit of effort? Is it work if I write quickly and have fun doing it? Is it somehow more validly work if I suffer for my craft?

Is reading work? We know it is if it’s for school or a job. But is it work if we do it at night before we go to bed? If we study an author’s approach to story to learn more about craft, is it work? Is it work to go to a movie and analyze it according to Alex’s brilliant techniques?

Hell if I know . . .
Was it work to read this blog?

Questions for today:

What word do you find fascinating?

Happy Labor Day to you all! I’m home and looking forward to the conversation.



I’m sorry . . .

by Pari

A couple of months after I’d signed up for Netflix streaming this summer, my kids started watching old episodes of Nanny 911. I find the show strangely addicting. Families with screaming, violent, ill-behaved children – with stressed, angry, despairing and/or clueless parents – receive a week-long visit from a no-nonsense older Mary Poppins and in short order almost all becomes right with the world.

It’s a lovely formula.

What strikes me in these episodes is how little emphasis is placed on saying “I’m sorry.” That’s certainly not how I was raised. Back when I was a whippersnapper, an apology was often the only goal of any “learning moment.” And those learning moments often came after a back-handed slap or belted spanking.

“Say you’re sorry.”


“Say it now!”


“No dinner for you until you apologize.”

“I’m not hungry!”  

Commence slamming of doors, sobbing . . .

Then, after years and years of always fighting to be in the right, of not giving an inch, something changed.  I’m not sure quite when, but sometime in my early 20s, I realized an uttered “I’m sorry,” like golden glittery fairy dust, could cast its magic to diffuse pressure or deflect negative energy off of my back.

Apologizing became easy . . . second nature. Convenient.

Lately I’ve noticed how often I apologize and the many those apologies can take:

expedient apologies
spoken for quick response so that  I can get on with whatever needs to be done:  “I’m sorry you don’t like peas. Eat them anyway.”

social apologies
“Oh. I’m sorry.” These, like the ones above, are meant to help a group function. Women often use them in work situations to move a project forward rather than getting locked in a contest of wills, or, as is often the case – pissing matches.

irritated apologies
often in the form of defense –“I’m sorry you don’t like fiction.”

implied apologies
“Oh. Really? I didn’t know that.” Often these have an air of, “gee, I was too dumb to spot that fact.”

Sympathetic apologies
“I’m so sorry this has happened to you.”

heart-wrenching sincere apologies
there’s no stock example for these since they are sincere and utterly unique each time they’re spoken.

Here’s the light bulb that went off in my brain the other day:  I think that when people get into the habit of apologizing quickly and often, there’s an unhealthy side-effect. They create an unexpected mythology about themselves. They start to believe they’re broken, that there’s a fundamental error deep inside.

Constant apologizers embrace ambient guilt without even realizing it. They become the kids that turn every time the lifeguard blows a whistle, even if they’re sitting on the grass innocently eating mustard-slathered hot dogs.

Right now, of course, I’m examining how I’ve used apologies and apologizing in my life. By writing about it today, I am not seeking sympathy. Instead, I’d love to discuss this topic  with the ‘Rati community.

Have you ever thought about the role of apologizing in your own life?
Are there other kinds of apologies than those I mentioned? What are they?
Do you buy into the idea that too much apologizing can morph into an unintended sense of guilt?

Hello. Nice to meet you again.

by Pari

It’s been a bumpy trip lately. My gratitude goes to so many of you who have stood on the edges of my rocky road, handing me bottles of fresh water and homemade granola bars, when my energy wanes . . . . Truth be told, I wish I was further along on this journey, more settled, but for now my solace comes from the fact that most of the potholes I’ve hit haven’t turned into sinkholes.

In fact some have been quite interesting, including various shifts in self-perception.  Several of the identities I clung to with such determination for close to two decades have become fluid, liquefying  in my still gripping hands. 

Wife to single woman
Writer-at-home to full time office employee
Mom always there to Mom always rushing somewhere

In the middle of all of this movement, one identity I abandoned has returned. For years, I was the woman who wrote Sasha Solomon. In 2008, I dropped that image cold to pursue other projects, to grow “beyond” a character and series that simply weren’t going to do much for my future career as a writer. After all, no one at the New York houses wanted Sasha. I wasn’t going to hit it big with her. Why waste the time writing her anymore?

Well . . . 

A month or so ago, when my personal turmoils made me doubt other people’s perceptions of me as a strong, intelligent and independent woman, I decided to revisit the Sasha book I’d abandoned three years ago. Rather than read any of that previous work, I simply started adding to those 100+ pages. I’ve now begun picking certain sections at random – selecting a page number – and infilling with more vivid descriptions or twisting a certainty into something more interesting. 

The book is at least 200 pages and I still have no idea where it has come from or where it might be going (though I’ve written at least one potential climax and ending). This is a very strange way to write a book, but I’m not anguishing about it at all. You see, I know that the story is going to come together eventually. I’ll print out all these pages at some point and start fashioning a cohesive whole. Since I’m a pantser by nature and writerly disposition, this is status quo – though I’m very curious to see the result of such a peripatetic approach to this particular tome.

More important than the final product this time though, is the process. 

I’m honoring the pleasure of living with Sasha’s persona in my head and heart again. I really like the woman – warts and all – because she’s just so fun and tough and full of herself. It’s not that I want to be her; I just want a friend like her right now: Someone who isn’t afraid to call things the way she sees them – even when they’re nasty or upsetting. Someone who can find humor in just about anything and has such an irreverent way of looking at the world in the first place.  Someone who is just as flawed – actually much more flawed – than I am and who is completely unapologetic about it. 

Writing Sasha feels like coming home to a place I hadn’t realized I’d missed.

 —  I thought it might be fun today to discuss this:

Who, of the many characters you’ve read, would you most like as a friend right this minute?


Writers: Have you happily rediscovered a character you thought you’d abandoned?


Thank goodness for readers!

by Pari

(As often happens here on the ‘Rati, a couple of us will be thinking about the same thing in different ways . . .I just read JT’s post from Friday. Her letter of love is so beautiful. Take a few minutes to read it if you haven’t already. And congratulations to JT once again for a well earned award!  )


Two weeks ago, I went to the farmer’s market closest to my house. It’s just getting established and there aren’t many vendors, but I appreciate not having to drive across town to buy organic and locally nurtured elegant golden beets, crunchy lemon cucumbers, ruffled patty pan squash, hot green chiles. Our market also has a few brave fine artists – painters, photographers, potters — and though I’m unlikely to buy any of their pieces due to my current monetary constraints, I do like to talk with them.

Artists tend to be interesting people, forced to create because of an inner yearning that I can certainly relate to. I can also relate to their selling experience. Any writer who has done a mall book signing has sat in a booth or at a table watching people walk by without buying or saying a thing. 

On this particular Saturday, I was feeling bleak . . . melancholy . . . bummed. I knew that going to the market would be therapeutic; fresh, beautiful produce always makes me happy.

On the way out of the market area, I stopped to chat with a ceramicist named Holly Kuehn  One thing led to another and of course I mentioned that I write. Nearby, a woman kept looking our way with that concentrated curiosity of an eavesdropper.  She hadn’t entered the book, so I decided to help Holly sell some of her work. I loudly admired a group of tiles depicting cranes in flight and suggested to the woman that she come in and admire them too. As soon as the woman entered, I walked outside and the artist and I resumed our conversation.

“What’s your name? I’d like to look up your books,” said Holly.

“Just look up The Clovis Incident; you’ll find my name more easily that way than trying to key it in,” I said.

 And that’s when the woman next to us squealed and opened her purse.

“Here it is!” she said, pulling out one of my brochures. “See? Right here. Pari Noskin Taichert.” She grinned as if winning a prize and called her husband and friends over. “Look. This is her! She’s the one who wrote those books I’m making you read.” And then back to me. “I’m your biggest fan!”

She proceeded to explain why she had the brochure in her purse in the first place. “I went to a bookstore the other day and they didn’t seem to know who you were so I was going back to show them this.”

Is it trite to say she made my day?

Is it trite to say that I had a marvelous time this last Saturday meeting Allison Davis (of the many comments here on Murderati)? That it, too, brought me tremendous joy?

Or what about the couple who showed up at my door several years ago? I’d met them at my first Malice Domestic and they became convention friends; we’d seek each other out each year. Well, one day the doorbell rang here in ABQ and there they both stood . . . looking a little sheepish.

Yes it was a bit weird, but it was also lovely. They were right too; I would’ve been upset to know they’d traveled through NM and hadn’t stopped by. A few years later, their visit was made even more precious when I went to my last Malice and found out that the husband had died of skin cancer . . .What a gift to have seen him here in NM, to have seen him smiling and happy and to be able to hold on to that beautiful memory.

Perhaps there are people who become so famous that their readers (sometimes aka fans) devolve into nuisances. I can’t imagine it. To me, it’s an incredible blessing to meet someone who has taken hours of his or her life to spend reading what I’ve written.

Every thank-you is an honor.


So today’s questions are:

Do you thank writers, musicians, actors or other artists in some way?

If so, who’s the last one you did?


 . . . and if you don’t thank these creatives, do me a favor and try it. You may or may not get a response, but you might just make someone’s day. And good karma never hurt anyone.

Om Mani Padme Writing . . .

by Pari

Guilt is a rotten emotion; I wish I didn’t come by it so naturally. However, guilty I do feel. You all know what I’ve been facing in my personal life and on June 29 I started working full time. To say that my formerly balanced life is now completely out of whack is so incredibly inaccurate, it’s almost funny.


I’ve been scarce here at the ’Rati and really regretting shirking my responsibilities. But when a night owl has to get up at 5:30 am to walk the dogs, water the ever bigger garden (too many pots this year), and dress for work, well, it’s just plain ugly. I often don’t turn on my personal computer until returning home after work. And then the evenings are family time – what little we have before we have to go to bed early and start all over again.

I’m not complaining (well . . . yes I am. I don’t like getting up early even though I love being up early!), I’m just explaining why my comments have been far and few during the last few weeks. I know I’ve missed some great conversations and my intellectual life is a little poorer for being remiss.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve been mentally comatose (except when I first get up at 5:30 . . .), thinking only about make-up and proper attire. No.  My pesky little brain has been on overdrive. And one of the things I’ve been thinking about is my writing goals for this next July-to-July stint.

Last year, my only goal was to write fiction daily no matter what. I did it too. July 2 was my one-year anniversary. During those first 365 days, I was tremendously inconsistent re: quantity. Some days, I wrote only a sentence; other days were much more “productive.”

When it comes to quality, I don’t know what to think. Right now I have no idea if any of the writing is good or bad because I haven’t edited a damn thing.

Still I’ve been mulling goals ever since July 2. Should I give myself a word count amount? A goal of, say, 200+ a day? Should I edit for an hour every weekend to finally publish some of this work? Should I get some of the stories, novellas or the novel, up electronically to give my readers something new to read?

I don’t know. Every time I try to define or alter the goal from last year, it feels overwhelming, uncomfortable or like something expected from the outside rather than coming from within. It feels like it would evoke guilt and I’m too good at that already.

What I do know is that the daily practice of affirming my life as a fiction writer is important to me—whether it’s with one original sentence or several fresh pages.  I’d like to say that the quantity and quality matter in this process, but in doing this daily writing, it’s only the doing that feels essential.

My questions for you today are:
1.  Do you have a daily practice that has become important to you?
2.  What is it and why is it important?
3.  Are you good at setting and meeting goals without putting a bunch of guilt on yourself in the process? If so, how do you do it? Any tips?

I apologize in advance if I don’t answer comments in a timely manner. I’ll take a gander at what’s being said during my breaks, lunch and after work . . .


The best unlaid plans

by Pari


The other day I went to buy a garden gnome (yes, you read that right) and ended up with a garden hippopotamus instead.  In reflecting on this odd turn in my original mission, I realized that it exemplified much of my life: I think I’m walking a straight line forward and end up on a curving one 93 degrees in another direction.

Mind you, I’m not complaining; the journey is always interesting. But in watching this motion, I’ve been wondering about why I keep striving for control.

What’s up with that?

Certainly not logic.

Many of the best moments  in my life have come from mistakes, wrong turns or unbridled curiosity.  I have so many examples of this . . .
In my last year of college, I thought I’d signed up for a history colloquium on death and dying. Instead I landed in a seminar about jungles. Yeah, jungles.  And it ended up being one of the most fascinating classes I’ve ever taken.

Another Ann Arbor experience ( . . . and I got to Ann Arbor in a roundabout way too):  
I saw several people walking toward a building with great enthusiasm and purpose, so I followed them. Guess what? Somehow I ended up in a master class about pantomime taught by Marcel Marceau. He must’ve known I didn’t belong there, but he let me stay. Would I have ever had that opportunity if I’d followed the rules and tried to register? I doubt it. The class had been sold out for months.

While a student in Hong Kong, I ordered a bowl of corn chowder. I thought it’d be the first truly western meal I’d had in months. Instead it contained silver fungus. Did I like that crunchy cartilaginous content? Nope. But it has made for a good story in the aftermath. The same can be said for snails, the spinal cord of a pig, sea slugs, molasses-cured grasshoppers, kidneys and blood sausage. Would I have eaten them if I knew what I was getting? Probably not. Am I glad I did? Well . . . mostly. I’m not a fan of congealed blood and sea slugs are the culinary version of snot.

My professional career has been just as unpredictable though I ALWAYS thought I’d make my living as a novelist. I certainly never intended to go into public relations and never bothered to get the credentials that some employers look for. And yet every job I’ve had has involved PR.  Tomorrow I start a new full-time gig as a program manager. My fiction has helped my nonfiction and it’s the latter that is going to carry me through this financially tumultuous time in my life.

If you’ve been reading my blog entries, you know I’m in a period of tremendous transition. The forward dreams I held about my marriage and future are in shambles. However, I have faith, given my fortuitous unplanned life experiences so far – that in spite of my efforts to control my life – everything will be fine and, probably, entirely different from what I expect.

What about you?

I’m in the mood for happy stories, so .  . .
Do you have an example of planning/ controlling that went awry and became something better?

Or you can help me name my hippo. I’m leaning toward “Petunia,” but am open to suggestions.


Getting attention

by Pari

I was a kid who wanted attention and got a lot of it . . . mostly negative. A rabble-rouser and talk-backer, I spent a good portion of my elementary school years in chalky unlit cloak closets being punished for one transgression or another.

Miss Klein, my third grade teacher – the one I called a “big fat barf” in front of the whole class – told my classmates in her creaky voice, “Ignore her and she’ll stop.” Mrs. Roberts exhorted my 5th grade cohorts with “Don’t pay attention to her, you’re just feeding the fire.”

While my teachers promoted negative PR about me, my peers held me in a certain amount of awe. Fury made me brave and I willingly took on bullies and mean teachers without a second thought. Glorious attention came with each exploit. The good variety provided sympathy, hugs, pats on the back and the occasional extra dessert in the cafeteria at lunchtime. The bad variety – the spankings and groundings – yielded more fodder for the tears that would evoke the good variety.

Through those years of my turbulent childhood and adolescence, I came to one undeniable and hard-earned conclusion: being sad or bad evoked the attention I craved; being content and doing what I was supposed to do rarely brought more than a glance.

In a way, I lived the adage Any PR is good PR . . . or any attention is, ultimately, good attention.

Fast forward to today. I don’t buy into that adage anymore and I don’t need attention like I did when I was a kid. That’s what makes my current life experience a bit odd. I feel like I’m being rewarded for being sad. People I haven’t heard from in years have reached out to me. Their reactions are very moving and appreciated — necessary, in fact — but they’ve also made me think a lot about my childhood and my desire for attention then. And being the person I am today, the woman who studies human motivation through the eyes of a decades-long PR pro — I’ve been thinking a lot about how marketers/PR pros play on our emotions to get us to act.

If you watch television or listen to the radio, you’ll soon notice that most ads are upbeat; even if they’re not funny, they’re selling good news:

This book will change your life!
You’ll love going to this amusement park!
Buy this car and D-cup women will throw themselves at you!
Offering her the diamond will fulfill your dreams.
Look at this starving child; you can change her life with just $.25 a day.

But wait. Not all ads are happy. What about:

Drunk driving kills.
Meth will steal your entire life.
This is your brain on drugs.
Look at the chunk of my face they had to cut off because I got cancer from smoking.

The first set of ads spur us to buy with promises of sunshine and daffodils. Perhaps the motivators have to be positive in order for us to part with our money. So how do we explain the success and prevalence of the second set of bummer ads? And what about political ads? Their efficacity confuses me most of all. Some are the obvious happy variety:  Vote for me and the economy will soar, you’ll be safe and everyone in America will have a Jacuzzi. Many, however, are based on fear or guilt or massive negativity: So-and-so is in league with Satan, wants to drink your children’s blood, voted to let terrorists fly first class to the U.S. without passports and wants to make you poor and kill your grandparents. He’s bad bad bad bad and scary and horrible and everything you don’t want . . . and, oh, by the way, I’m the good guy.

I’m assuming all of these ads and approaches work. Otherwise the billions of dollars spent on each variety wouldn’t pass hands each year. But which ads work best for which messages? Which ones get our attention and make us take the second step of doing the desired outcome?

Hell if I know.

That’s what I want to explore today.

Do you have a favorite ad? Tell us why (add a link if you can find it)
Do negative ads – like the PSAs or political ads I mentioned – work for you? Why?
Are you noticing other trends in advertising that are attracting your attention now?


Somewhere today . . .

Dear ‘Rati,
Yesterday I sat down to write yet another Memorial Day post (at least my 4th) for Murderati. Every start ended with the same sentiment: There are still U.S. soldiers out there fighting and dying. There are still wars with too much “collateral damage.” Wars still flatten villages, rip families apart, and result in tragedy for many someones. The following poem was written three years ago and I’m running it for the third time on this national holiday. It’s now a tradition. I hope when you read it, you’ll understand why.

Be well,


Somewhere today . . .

Somewhere today a young woman sits in a muddy blind, her uniform wet through.
She knows she needs to pay attention to what’s happening, that she has to distinguish between a clap of thunder and the burst of a gun.
But all she can do is think of her baby graduating from kindergarten back home . . . without her.

Somewhere today a boy reaches for an automatic with only one hand.
The wind blows dust into his teeth and eyes.
He manages to prop his weapon against a sand-filled sack, using the stump of his other arm—the one where the rebels sliced it off at the elbow—to keep the rifle steady.

Somewhere today a mother waits on the tarmac, watching the military plane land.
It bounces two times on the runway.
Her son would’ve laughed at that.
Through the blur of tired and salty tears, she sees them lift the unadorned casket.

Somewhere today a father stares at the last letter his daughter sent him.
He has memorized every word, read between every line so often it has merged with the next in a confused gray.
Three weeks and nothing.
Not a note, not an email, no text.
He looks to the blue sky and wonders where she is, if she’s all right.

Somewhere today a young woman is shot in a border town
– wrong place, wrong time –
the “collateral damage” of a drug war she’s never played a part in.

Somewhere today a group of young men claim a village for their tribe
kicking children’s toys aside in the abandoned huts of former friends.

Somewhere today war will blast dreams away
cut lives short
and make sorrows long.

I pray
we’ll have no need for this holiday.

Owning our creativity for life

by Pari

Last Friday, JT, wrote an eloquent post about owning her past creativity. She marveled at downplaying the stunning poem she wrote at age 10 and how, now, she negated or belittled so much of what she’d produced in her early years as a writer.

Her post stayed with me because I’ve been thinking about the role of creativity in my own life. This self examination began intensely in January when a tectonic rift in my marriage opened too wide. The resulting disaster area will soon translate into an informal, but very real, separation. After the initial shock and despair – much of which remains with me, albeit in more muted tones – I’ve found myself exploring this singularly important conflict in our years together.

In a nutshell, my fiction hasn’t lived up to the promise of making a solid income. From my husband’s perspective, my taking the time and space to write has been selfish, self-focused and a waste of time and resources.

Though I’ve also spent those years raising two beautiful children so that they radiate self-confidence and kindness, I’ve slowly bought into the myth that I’m a failure in many areas of my life. And, yes, writing tops the list. Sure, three of my books have been published traditionally and two have garnered national nominations. Still . . . I can’t get past the sensation that there should be more to show for my work. And that that more is, no matter how crass it might seem, money.

What, then, is creativity? Does the outcome matter more than the process?

Is its true worth measured by projects finished rather than the journey of creation?

If something doesn’t sell, is it somehow less valid than something that does?

I’ve been looking hard at these questions during this incredibly transformative time in my life and have come to a few conclusions . . . for me. First of all, the journey is tremendously important. The process of discovering my characters’ stories, of bringing them to life and crafting them is very satisfying. And though money and fame may not be the end goals anymore by which I choose to judge myself vis a vis my fiction, finishing my stories and getting them to readers in some form are.

And I’ve decided that if nurturing my creativity is selfish, then that’s fine. In the coming weeks, months and years when I’m alone – when my children are staying with their father or have grown beyond needing either one of us – I intend encourage this impulse even more in my life.

And what that means is that I commit, without fear of failure, to keep this part of my nature healthy and alive too . . .

One of the interesting byproducts of all of this thinking and turmoil is that I’ve begun to “doodle.” A few months ago, I started feeling an overwhelming need for color in my life. Rather than suppress the compulsion, I went with it and bought a big pad of sketch paper and a bunch of magic markers.

And I started to draw this . . . .

Since then, I’ve created dozens of the things – each different and each very important to me. The process has become a nightly practice, a meditation of sorts though I might have music or the television on in the background while I work. Some are quite complicated  . . .

. . . while others are more soothing to the eye.

I have two rules with this healing work. I must finish what I start (I have the same rule with my fiction) – and for the moment, I’m still requiring myself to fill the page rather than leaving white space.

Now that I have so many, I’m considering turning some of them into cards or writing about them on my private blog — if I figure out how to photograph/reproduce them well. Even though I didn’t start creating them to make money, they might provide a little necessary income. But the difference with these – and with my writing from here on out – is that it doesn’t matter.

I’m creating.

And that’s enough.


What about you?

Have you explored similar questions?
Do you think creativity is inherently selfish? Is that bad?

Is there a validity correlation between creativity and monetary outcome?