Thursday, May 5, 2016

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Creativity & Vulnerability

Hello! I'm still recovering from the madness and delight that was National Poetry Month. I enjoyed so much my ARTSPEAK! Plant. Grow. Eat. series... part of me is sorry it's over!

The other part of me is turning cartwheels.

Now I can catch up on all the blogworthy things I've wanted to post about! First on my list: Creativity & Vulnerability.

That's because I read on airplanes during April BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert and RISING STRONG by Brene Brown. (Sorry, I don't know how to put that accent on Brene's name.)

I can't tell you how nurtured I've felt by each of these books. And since I can't tell you everything I loved about them, I will share one takeaway from each that springs first to mind.

BIG MAGIC: Liz Gilbert tells a story about meeting fellow author Ann Patchett, how there was a moment (and a kiss!) that was big magic. It has to do with a book Liz was working on that was set in the Amazon. The book just wasn't happening, and eventually Liz set it aside. When she next met with Ann (years later, if I recall correctly), Ann revealed that she, too, had written a book set in the
Amazon - a book that was published as STATE OF WONDER. Liz felt like Ann had written HER book. But Liz didn't see this as a bad thing. There was no bitterness, no angsty "I should have finished that story, how come you wrote it, it was MINE." For Liz it was affirmation that Ann - not Liz - was the one meant to write the book all along.

I LOVE THIS. What a generous outlook! Creativity as abundance! And guess what? When I was at Texas Library Association conference in Houston, I met and shared a panel with K.A. Holt (author of verse novel HOUSE ARREST, which I loved). In her closing comments, Kari Anne revealed her work-in-progress about Guatemalan kids who ride atop trains across Mexico to cross into the U.S. I couldn't help it, I started smiling so big! Because *I* started a book several years ago with the same premise. But mine stalled out, and now here's Kari Anne writing the book, as she was meant to. I can't wait to read it.

RISING STRONG: Brene Brown's book is all about vulnerability as the key to getting through the tough times -- in getting up again. The story that sticks out is one she tells about a moment when she was swimming with her husband, how she was trying to connect with him, but he wasn't responding. She started spinning all these ideas about how HE was feeling, why he wasn't engaging. She was filled with fear. And yet, instead of shutting down, she made herself vulnerable. She shared with her husband all the crazy thoughts by saying these magic words, "The story I'm telling myself is..." She cites this as a tool for more vulnerable living. Instead of living in the spin, share. Risk finding out what's really going on by telling another person what's really going on inside you.

Read the books! Be generous and vulnerable! CREATE.

Thanks so much for reading!


  1. Thanks for the invitation to write today. I was thinking I'd take a break from blogging after those two long months of writing every day, but there was your tweet. So I wrote and I wrote about Big Magic, too. I haven't read Brene Brown yet, but her books have been suggested to me. Thanks for keeping me in the loop. Here's a link to my post.

  2. "The story I'm telling myself is . . ." I think that's a powerful phrase that I could use. And then this phrase: "Instead of living in the spin, share." Love hearing you mention the TLA conference I wish I could have been there.

  3. Irene, thank you for the topic to write about. I have heard so much about Big Magic that I need to purchase that book. In my post, I quoted you because I love the thought about creativity as abundance.


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