creativity

This just in: The Great Pumpkin

It's the Great Pumpkin!
It’s the Great Pumpkin!

“This is the time of the year to write to the Great Pumpkin. On Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises out of his pumpkin patch and flies through the air with his bag of toys for all the children.” ~Linus

I hope you all find the Great Pumpkin and that he bestows on you the happiest of Halloweens, or at least a whole lotta candy!

creativity

This just in: A theatrical and literary Halloween at DC’s Mockingbird Hill

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Halloween in DC with equal amounts of fright and art, check out Mockingbird Hill. Their 3rd annual A Toast to Poe will happen in partnership with We Happy Few Productions’s staged reading of Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado. What could be better than a Halloween filled with tributes to the king of macabre? I hope you’ll join me. The more the merrier, or is it the more the scarier?!

It's a Poe Halloween in D.C.
It’s a Poe Halloween in D.C.
creativity

This just in: The trouble is, you think you have time

Blank canvas
Blank canvas

“The trouble is, you think you have time.” ~Buddha

Immediately after I finish one of my paper collages, I replace it with a blank one on my easel. That may sound a bit over zealous. Shouldn’t I at least give myself some time to just revel in being done with a project before pushing on?

Ed, my teacher, mentor, and friend, posted this quote from the Buddha a few days ago and it really struck me. I’m very conscious of the passage of time. Some might say too conscious of it. I’ve known, loved, and lost too many people too soon, and the same is true for many of my friends. We think we have time, but really, time has us.

I’ve learned the hard way that it’s much better to look at a blank canvas that symbolizes our next great potential project than to spend our time looking back at our accomplishments. I’ll save the reflection for when I’m very old and gray and less able to do. Now is a time for moving forward and crafting what comes next.

creativity

This just in: In a world of information overload, This.

This.
This.

I just signed up for This., a new social media platform that only lets you post one link per day. Our attention and focus is pulled in so many directions, and This. in some ways forces us to say, “Today, this is the one story that really had an impact on me and I’d like to share it with all of you.”

Too often an overabundance of everything is the goal. This. is working toward something different. It’s opening the conversation of quality over quantity, and the way you “like” a link someone posts is to click “thanks”. It’s trying to bring humanity to our screens, and I’m all for it.

Find me on This. at https://this.cm/christanyc. Let’s have a conversation about one awesome thing.

creativity

This just in: We are what we love

Love makes us who we are
Love makes us who we are

“There is a subtle truth. Whatever you love, you are.” ~Rumi

Stuff your life with the people and things that light you up. Art, music, food, travel, stories. Make room for it. Pitch the things and people in your life that don’t add to it so that you have space for what matters most. In time, we become what we see, hear, and feel. The life we build around us is the life that seeps into us so make sure it’s the you want on your own terms.

creativity

This just in: You can build a beautiful life – a lesson from Marc Maron and James Taylor

James Taylor
James Taylor

I was hypnotized by Marc Maron’s recent WTF podcast episode in which he interviews James Taylor, one of my favorite musicians. Taylor’s life has been a winding road that was often dark, twisted, and lonely. To hear his smooth and comforting voice, the voice I first heard as a young teenager and can never get enough of, that harrowing journey isn’t always apparent.

This interview, the most raw and honest I’ve ever heard Taylor give (and as a huge fan I’ve heard many!), often left me teary-eyed and profoundly grateful that he is still with us and still making music. Now 32 years sober, Taylor is in love and making us fall in love with his music all over again via his new album, Before This World. His music and the people in his life, including friends and family, helped him make that climb out of the depths and into the light. Taylor and Maron reminded us that change, growth, and healing are difficult, but possible.

With his trademark familiarity and humility, Maron makes guests comfortable enough to share the stuff that hurts. I felt like I was in that garage in Los Angeles where Maron conducts most of his interviews, and that after we’d all go out and get a coffee. This is the gift of listening to podcasts and personal interviews. It’s an intense exercise in attention, connection, and awareness that’s so personal that it transports us. It’s a meditation of sorts, an opportunity to leave our own cares and worries behind, that helps us to better understand and appreciate another person’s experience and journey. And for this gift, I’m tremendously grateful to Taylor and Maron.

Listen to this interview at http://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episodes/episode_648_-_james_taylor.

creativity

This just in: Every day, find what needs to be known

My new morning ritual
My new morning ritual

Over the past week, I’ve been trying something new. When I wake up, the first thing I do is read this quote: “Somewhere something incredible is waiting to be known.” ~Carl Sagan. And then I get up, get ready, and try to find that one thing that I’m meant to learn that day. Some days, it’s wonderful. Some days, it’s not so wonderful. But it’s always incredible because day by day I’m learning about another small layer of life. I trust that the lessons I get are the ones I need and that they appear exactly when I need them. Maybe this is a profound practice. And maybe it’s a fool’s errand. But I do know it helps me go out into the world, no matter what, with a sense of purpose.

creativity

This just in: Educating young hearts

Educating hearts and minds
Educating hearts and minds

“When educating the minds of our youth, we must not forget to educate their hearts.” ~Dalai Lama

The other day I ran into someone I used to know. He’s always had a bit of a melancholy personality, but he seems to have gone even further down that sad, dark tunnel. Though I felt badly for him, I also recognize that there’s nothing I can do for him except hope that someday he digs himself out of it. It’s the tough thing about loving and caring for adults: they make their own choices and we can only influence them through example.

Kids, however, are different. We can have a much bigger impact and impression on them as they grow and develop into adults. And this is why education in the most holistic sense is so critical. A moment in a child’s life, good or bad, can completely change the trajectory of his or her life, and often does. While there’s no doubt that we need to focus on growing their knowledge base, let’s also remember that educating their hearts—letting them know how much they are valued and that they need to value others—is at least as important.

Love can, and should, be taught.

creativity

This just in: The 3 things we all need to hear

The message we all need
The message we all need”3 things students want to hear:

“3 things students want to hear: I believe in you. You have a purpose. How are you?”

This was posted by Edutopia (George Lucas Education Foundation) this week. While it’s positioned as what we need to tell students every day, it’s something we all need. This is something we should give to others and also expect to receive in return from everyone in our lives. We all deserve this level of care and concern.

creativity

This just in: Keep walking toward the risk—a lesson from theater

The Welders—A Playwrights' Collective
The Welders—A Playwrights’ Collective

“What The Welders taught me is to keep walking toward the risk.” ~Caleen Sinnette Jennings, Playwright

I listened to a podcast of The Kojo Nnamdi Show entitled, “All For One: D.C.’s Collective Theater Scene” featuring Caleen Sinnette Jennings and Jojo Ruf, two prominent members of D.C.’s theater community who are enormously involved with The Welders, an organization whose mission is to establish an evolving, alternative platform for play development and production. Caleen’s quote above sums up the great honor and challenge of a creative life, especially one in theater. We have to move toward risk, fully embrace it with both arms, and realize that the risk is worth it even if there is little or no reward. The risk is the journey and the destination, the path and the goal. 

The conversation with Kojo was spirited and uplifting, especially for me as a playwright and theater professional who is new to D.C. and getting to know the theater landscape here. There are so many passionate and creative people here in D.C. The vibrant and varied theater community is one of the main reasons I relocated to D.C. and The Welders is one of the most innovative movements here.

Hearing this podcast, I know I made the right choice to make D.C. my home. There’s so much to discover here, and I’m most excited to learn about the person and artist I have yet to become. The risk has already been so worth all of the effort!