On Langjökull, Iceland’s second largest glacier
I am an author, artist, coach and teacher who has been exploring the wide open fields and crevices of creativity for several decades. I connect with people and interact with them through creativity. For many folks, making creative work seems daunting. They have an idea but don’t know where to start. Or they begin but they question themselves partway through their creative process, and without any honest feedback or encouragement to keep them going, they abandon their work. It makes them feel self-conscious. It makes them question their motivations and what they have to offer. They don’t know how to live the creative life or integrate it into the life they already have. I can help you with this difficulty and these questions.
Today I want to make contact with you through words, using their power to create connections with others. There are ways to do this other than with words—it can be done in other media, with color, shape, sound, movement, etc. But let’s stick with words for the moment.
If you are still reading this, it’s not because you can see me or smell me or am otherwise stunned by my personal charisma. It is because of the words here, the sense of conscious presence they create, and your interest in what they will say next.
Words are so powerful. Take simple words, place them in a particular order, choose from among the few thousands that you use as your daily vocabulary, and you express something—an idea, a feeling–in a way that only you can. Even though we all put our words mostly in the same order as everyone else, we still have the power to express ourselves in a one-of-a-kind way. What do we call that unique presentation of self through words?
I call it presence. Some people call it “voice,” and yes, voice has something to do with presence. So does tone. But for me, presence means projecting a unique self through one’s chosen medium and connecting with people through that projection. I believe that the uniqueness and openness go into the makeup of each person’s authenticity.
The first time I became aware of the power of words to create presence and connect with readers is when I read a poem by Walt Whitman titled “A Noiseless Patient Spider”:
A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.
Whitman is an American master of verbal presence because his poem sends chills down my spine every time I read it. I feel personally addressed by Whitman, and that sensation makes me feel connected to him, though he has been dead for 115 years. Now that’s powerful!
Such power doesn’t come just from being a competent or even talented wordsmith. Yes, it takes a wordsmith’s skill, but more importantly, such skill is useless unless joined with openness and a courage to extend oneself. These are the building blocks of one’s personal creative capacity.
Like Whitman’s spider, each of us stands at the edge of our world, throwing out our filaments as if they will catch somewhere, without knowing beforehand that they will do so. Artists must seek that connection, knowing that even if we do catch and connect, it is without any assurance of acceptance.
And wow, doing that can be scary. But what is the alternative? The alternative is the status quo, leaving things as they are, doing nothing. That alternative is not acceptable to me—therefore I am making this website to connect with you, and to help you make the creative work you dream of and to connect with others through your creative interests and abilities.
Since you have read this far, the alternative is probably no longer acceptable to you, either.
If you want to set out on the path of being more creative and connecting with the world through the creative part of yourself, I can help you. How?
We can work one-on-one, where you have my full and undivided attention. We can work in a workshop, with a group of like-minded participants. We can work together in person or electronically. You can take a course and follow along lesson by lesson, or you can participate in discussions in an online community.
Some of these things are available now, such as individual consultations and workshops. Some of them I am currently building into this website, such as e-courses and connection to a creative community of companions traveling the same path as you. You can see what is currently available under “Offerings.” Check back often as the page develops!
Right now you don’t have to do much. Just reach out and grab this filament I am casting out into the “measureless oceans” of us all. Write to me and introduce yourself. Let me know what kind of creative work you like to do and what you want to work on through the contact form on this website, under “Say Hello.” You can find my regular bio under “About Lisa.”