Each Creativity Case Study is an intimate look into a personal, creative world. These longitudinal conversations explore lowercase art -- the ways individuals create private meaning -- and the way lowercase art weaves threads through our lives.
This is the second conversation in the Creativity Case Study with Abby Kerr. Miss our first conversation together? Here it is. I'll check in with her one more time 6 to 8 months from now for a follow-up conversation that will complete her case study.
Download the full conversation to listen to at your leisure (mp3 format, run time 46:13), or continue reading for the spiffy-fied transcript (with links).
AVL: Hello everyone! Today is the second conversation in the lowercase art Creativity Case Study with Abby Kerr. Hello, Abby!
AK: Hey, Andrea! [Abby's side of the conversation is indicated with AK]
AVL: Welcome back to the Case Studies.
AK: Thank you!
AVL: was on July 13 of last year so we are coming up ...I should be able to count that... seven months, I think.
AK: That sounds about right. Wow.
AVL: Yeah. I have a feeling a lot has happened in seven months. I'm excited to talk about that.
AK: Oh yeah. Me, too. (laughter) I'm excited to see what happened by talking about it.
AVL: Before we really start diving into it, that is one of the things I actually wanted to touch on. It's interesting how we don't know sometimes what we know until we talk about it. Did you find that was the case after the first conversation we had? Were you surprised?
AK: Yeah. You know, listening back to us on the audio and reading the transcript, I think that we talked about a lot of ideas and things that I hadn't even really articulated to myself, and so that was really powerful for me.
AVL: Let's do it again! (laughing)
AK: Yeah, let's do it!
AVL: Last time we talked about creative seasons and having faith, being fluid rather than regular in your creative practice, and growth and desire -- all wonderfully juicy topics -- and we ended the case study, it was towards the end, talking about your creative promise. At the time you said your creative promise was to watch your desire.
AK: Oh, wow.
AVL: Yeah, let's dive in there! (laughter)
AK: Let's! Oh my goodness, I had forgotten that I said that. You know how some people pick a word of the year or phrase of the year to start a new year?
AK: So mine for 2015 was Follow My Desire, which is really cool because I can see that back in July I was watching it, and in January I started following it. It makes a lot of sense to me because I had to notice it first and see where it showed up, and now 5 months later or whatever, I was able to make that commitment, which was following it and seeing where it was leading me. I really feel and see how that's shown up in my life in small ways since the new year started.
AVL: For example?
AK: Well...so one of the things that we talked about, I think it was one of the primary things we talked about in my first case study, was that my creative practice is around fiction writing. That's always been my big desire, the big thing I've really wanted to do, whether I would get paid for it or not. In January, I started a commitment with a friend of mine who happens to live in LA, and I live in Seattle. She is a fiction writer and she's been published in a couple of places, but more importantly than that, she writes. That's her craft, what she does. She and I are working through an online fiction writing program. It's just a self-paced program. It was a gift to myself that I bought a year ago, started it at the time, laid it down when I got busy with business things, picked it back up in January. My friend and I are working through it together, being accountability partners. It's been awesome. It's been a way for me to show up for my own fiction writing practice a couple of hours each week. Aside from that I feel a little more connected, I guess, to not only the desire to write, but also giving it to myself and following through with it.
AVL: That is great. It means you're writing. I have this weekly commitment for painting and I thought, wow, that is going to be so such a drag, there's going to be this point where I become so bored with it. And I don't. It's like, hey, I finally made time to do it! (laughing)
AK: Yes. There's moments in the week where, admittedly, I'm like, I need to move this due date for this piece of writing practice I've committed to putting in the shared folder on Google Drive, or this really isn't an ideal week for me to meet for an hour on Google Hangout and talk about how writing went this week. I've resisted doing that, I've kept the commitment because I keep reminding myself -- writing is my big picture. It is the number one thing that I know that I want, and if I'm going to be in alignment with my desire, I actually need to keep the commitment and show up and do the thing that I feel like I want to do. So that's been pretty cool.
AVL: I love the word commitment and when you're talking about all that, I think that's a huge, huge word. I've been thinking a lot about creativity as a cycle, and I think we go through periods of inhales and creative exhales. Sometimes we have to stop the output for a little bit to refresh ourselves. But I think a lot of us go through the long inhale periods, these pauses between our creativity, and there comes this point where you want to get back into it and it's almost like that final obstacle is locating the resolve or the commitment to say, yeah, I'm going to return it. I'm going to go back to producing work.
AK: That makes a lot of sense to me. Yeah. I know for me, one thing that I think I've done for years is I've lived in this fantasy world of seeing myself as a fiction writer or a would-be fiction writer, and letting the fantasy of that promise of fulfillment kind of be enough while I kept myself busy doing other things with my creative energy. It was easy just to keep pushing it off. Next year, next month, whatever. I think it was last year, sometime between the first conversation with you and the end of the year, when I just realized that I am the only person who can give this to myself. It's not going to magically be granted that I keep a daily fiction writing practice, that I keep polishing short stories that I can submit to literary journals. I actually have to do the slog, and I want to do it, it's just jumping over that hurdle of ok, now I have to do it. It has to start someday, and I decided I wasn't ready to wait any longer
AVL: The point where always being the cusp becomes not a sexy option anymore..
AK: Exactly. Yes, it's like, time to go all in. Sometimes it's going to look ugly (laughter), I actually expect it to look ugly for a long time because you know, it's been a while since I've written regularly anything other than business marketing materials, or course materials. I'm sort of writing through that top layer of I-don't-know-what, but I know that it's in there, it's ok, it's all something.
AVL: I like to think of that in terms of plumbing, like your writing through the -- I don't know, there's probably an official word for it like the flotsam or whatever -- the gunk that's accumulated, you're writing through that layer so the rest of it can come through. [8:59]
AK: Yes, that's a good way to think of it.
AVL: I want to refer back to a quote that I pulled from our last conversation. This was one of the things you said that I featured. You said, "There's not going to be some fairy of creative play that comes down and bonks you on the head with a wand and gives you permission. We just have to give ourselves permission, no matter what, to clear the space and just let ourselves indulge."
AK: Oooh, wow.
AVL: You said that. (laughter)
AK: I think it was prophetic of how I wanted to live at the time, and I'm finding my way into that reality right now. You know, it's cool because it's so imperfect still. I'm not writing every day. In my idealized life (laughter), I would write every day for at least 10 minutes but ideally up to 2 hours if time permitted. But I'm not doing that. I'm writing 2 hours a week, and sometimes it's all in one block, sometimes it's spread out here and there, but dude, I'm doing it. I'm happy that I'm just doing it, I'm just giving it to myself.
AVL: I am, too. I'm happy for you
AK: Thank you
AVL: Even if you're not writing every day, I have to imagine that even if you didn't write today, for example, there's still some part of your brain working on it. Then something happens, and you're like, I have something to write today, and then one thing leads to another. Even if you're not physically doing it, it's still happening.
AK: Completely. I forget if we talked about this last time, but I have...in the Notes function of my iPhone, I keep this long running note to myself where I just compost ideas because, you know how it is -- whatever your art is, you're constantly getting either a flash of inspiration or a provocative question or an idea or something, and it needs to be recorded somewhere. I'm always composting in this note, and then occasionally I'll send a backup to myself via email. Some of it will end up in a finished piece, I'm sure, or in a work-in-progress. I think that's a way to keep my mind, my writer's brain, agile even when I'm not doing a dedicated practice
AVL: Last time when we talked, you had just lost that file.
AK: Oh my god, that's right! That's hilarious! (laughter) You know what? I think I've lost the one I started after that, too. Since you and I talked, I've gotten a new iPhone at least once -- I'm very accident-prone when it comes to technology -- and so of course I wasn't using iCloud, I wasn't back up. I think I've lost a couple of those, but you know, you just start over. There's always more where that came from.
AVL: Always, always
AK: That is hilarious, though!
AVL: The timing is really funny! (laughing)
AK: It is. (laughing)
AVL: I'm taking a class with Carla Sonheim and Lynn Whipple called A Year of the Spark. It's art lessons seeded throughout the year, and a lot of techniques that I haven't been exposed to yet. One of things Carla talked about in one of the first lessons was her art journal practice. She separates part of the page...she lines off part of the page into different sections, and one of the sections is ideas. She tries to come up with 10 ideas every time she sits down to do this. I really love because instead of like a to-do list or whatever, you can come up with these imperfect ideas, or these ideas that are just complete fantasies that would never happen, but it's okay to write them down.
AK: Yes! I'm thinking that creativity is a lot like...I'm sure it's a lot like practicing a physical skill, like if you want to get good at pull-ups, you have to just start trying to do one pull-up...you gotta start somewhere. I think just writing down those ideas that seem ludicrous or over-the top is a way for more and more and more, and something that you actually know you're going to follow through on. [13:59]
AVL: I've been thinking about this a little bit lately in terms of muscle memory...
AK: Mmmm, yeah...
AVL: You know that's why athletes practice, and dancers practice so much because you have to build in the muscle memory for it. I do a lot of singing around the house because I can (laughter), my shower repertoire, and it's been pretty consistent the last few weeks. I've had this obsession going for the past two weeks, actually for months, with Cold War Kids but I've been singing their songs pretty regularly. It's just been the last couple of days that I realize, like, I'll be rinsing off my feet or something in the shower and be like, wow, I sang that song and I just totally wasn't present for it, like it became muscle memory or something. It's just this bizarre experience, and I'm sure that musicians who tour and do the same set list every night for three months probably have the same experience. They can go to some other place, or figure out the shopping list while they're playing through their hit songs or whatever. I think that happens to us doing our creative practices as well. When we do it enough, instead of it becoming a thing where we have to exert ourselves, it almost becomes this reflex.
AK: Oh my god, that would be so interesting. I've never gotten to that place yet because I don't think I've done enough creative work to be able to tap into that, but that sounds really interesting and I would love to experience that.
AVL: Who knows? Maybe that will be what we're talking about seven months from now.
AK: You're right! It totally might be.
AVL: I haven't experienced that myself either with painting so much. I do it with sewing sometimes, like sometimes it just kind of takes over and I get in the groove, and I wonder how did I not just sew my fingers? I just wasn't paying attention (laughing).
AK: (laughing) That's funny! You know, funnily enough, the only time that happens to me, and this is probably horrifying to admit out loud, but when I'm driving (laughter), not in creative acts. Do you ever notice that, oh my god, I drove two miles and I don't have a memory of passing these milestones or whatever, but somehow I got from here to there safely.
AVL: It's almost like this hypnotic thing. It's like, how did I get here? (laughing)
AK: Yes, Yes! It is incredible. (laughter)
AVL: Since our last conversation, you relocated from the dryer, more desert side of Washington to the mossy and wet Puget Sound area, so what does the sense of place change for you?
AK: Oh my goodness, that is a great question. It has changed so much. I've always known that I'm sensitive to atmosphere as far as humidity, other moisture levels, changing of the seasons, the way the sky looks, etcetera. That sense of place is very...it has a big effect on my moods and how I feel about life, etcetera etcetera. Just the change for me has been a really positive thing, like...the cool thing about Seattle is that the predominate color palette is green, blue, and gray, and I just love that. That color palette just turns on all my creative and mental synapses. I almost feel that I'm a little marine creature who was birthed in this ecosystem at some point. I just feel super connected to this area, viscerally, and it shows up in my creativity, like it feels much more easy for me to glide into a place that feels really natural and like there's a lot of growth happening. It's kind of like when you drive along certain stretches of freeway in Seattle and you'll see moss clinging to the bridges, ivy just bustling out of every crevice and crack, and it's just like the city is alive with secret growth in a way. I feel it feeds my creative process in a very, very visceral way. I honestly could not be happier about my new environment.
AK: And now you and I are closer in proximity, which is lovely.
AVL: Yeah, yeah. That is true. And so between then and now, besides moving, we've also gone through Autumn which was your most creative season.
AK: (dreamy sigh) Yes...
AVL: Since you do creative work for a living and you also have your personal creative practice, in terms of creative seasons do you find that your professional and personal seasons are in step, or do they kind of balance each other out in an ebb and flow? Is there anything interesting there to talk about
AK: Yeah! I'm really glad you asked that, because that's kind of the central question that's been ebbing and flowing in my life I've noticed for the past year. It's something I've not really talked about publicly. Typically, Autumn is a really rich season for me and it was this season as well, although maybe in a different way than I had planned on. Typically just with my type of business...my type of business tends to follow the school year because invest a lot in learning and business growth and brand re-creation, so they tend to invest a lot in the Fall when people are going back to school, and then again in the Spring when it's getting ready for that final push before Summer. I noticed that my enthusiasm for my business did not follow that same arc this year. If anyone looks at my business, even though we've been busy behind the scenes, I've been extremely quiet in my business presence. I haven't blogged in six months. I haven't sent an e-newsletter in six months. I'm kind of doing all the things wrong (laughter) that a busy, creative professional is supposed to be doing. I'm not really doing things, but behind the scenes I have been so creatively fruitful in terms of visioning what I want this business to be, putting infrastructures in place with me little team. Also, in terms of personal stuff, the personal creativity has been so alive for me. For whatever reason, I sort of had to unhook the two. Rather than funneling the best of my creative energy into my business this year, it seems to be going to my personal creativity. The business is going to be ok, it's just going to be different from maybe what it would have been a year or two ago if you had asked me about my plans for it. Things feel better to me on the inside and they're functioning better on the inside of my business, I think because I have...this is getting really deep really fast...in some ways I was asking my business to meet all of my creative needs and I realize it cannot. That is not my business's function, to meet all of my creative needs. That's just a me thing. For someone else's business, it might be the perfect outlet for them. I'm realizing that I have creative needs that need to be fulfilled elsewhere, not inside the container of how I get paid. I've been exploring the boundaries between those, and how I show up in my business and in my own personal creative journey. It's been interesting for me. I've just been super quiet about it on the surface.
AVL: (laughing) I can identify with that a lot. I feel like I haven't done any work yet this year ...
AK: (laughing) Yeah!
AVL: ...but I've been so busy! I look around and I've got stuff everywhere that I'm working on but none of it is really work. A lot of it is personal creativity practice and really growing my art practice. At the same time, it's also very informative for the work I want to do so it works.
AK: It does. Can I ask...do you ever feel pressure, like you should be messaging this journey or this growth somehow, you should be sharing it as you're in it, modeling it or something?
AVL: Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I do want to try and show that, hey I'm making stuff, because if really my ideal mission is for people to make stuff and to put art supplies in their hands, and whatever it is, however imperfect, just make something...I want to try represent that more, but I don't feel a need to share a lot about my personal creative process because it just seems wild and unwieldy and not very conforming to what people would expect. Every time I read somebody else's work on their creative process it always sounds so systematic...
AK: Doesn't it though!
AVL: ...and I'm just that I am not systematic.
AK: Yeah, there is something about the types of blog posts that we see from creative people where they just lay out their process and they make it all sound so beautiful. It feels in many ways like it's this spiritual practice to which they return. I love to think of my own that way, too, but that's not actually what it feels like when I'm in process with, so like you, it doesn't lend itself to a blog post of 5 tips, or this is what it looks like. For me, I feel a lot of self-imposed pressure to be sharing where I am in my journey around it, but I think I'm more into giving myself permission to let my thing have its process without having to share it, not share every detail along the way.
AVL: I try to keep some of it for me, because that's part of the personal creative practice. There's some freedom in knowing it's just for you. I tend to be impulsive and put things out there, because oh, I just made this and it's going to be the best thing ever and I need to tell everyone about it. Then, a few weeks later, I've so moved on (laughter). So I put things out there and they just quietly disappear, or I just don't put them out there in first place. [25:58]
AK: Yeah, it's such a weird line to walk being a creative person. I've learned to beware of making proclamations because as soon as I make a proclamation, I inevitably want to rebel against it, or find my way around it, you know?
AVL: Yes, definitely. (laughter) I want to go to creative contagion.
AK: Mmmm, what's that?
AVL: One of my favorite things to ask now is about creative contagion. I kind of think that people -- not kind of think, I really do think -- that other people are our best sources of creative contagion, about getting exposed to new ideas, new techniques. You can read stuff about it but it's something about seeing it with another person -- Oh, now I can do that! It's really about the way you get exposed to new information or fresh ideas. So when you think about your personal writing practice, what do you want to be exposed to?
AK: Wow! Ah, let's see. I want to be exposed to...social settings that make me feel just ever so slightly uncomfortable...
AVL: Mmmm, ok.
AK: (laughing) ... that's a growing edge for me. They give me a lot to watch in myself I think. Also, it's observing other people. I cannot get enough literary fiction lately. I'm just reading like crazy, tearing through short story collections, novels, just really eating up other peoples' good writing. And then for whatever reason, I love a good Scandinavian crime drama on Netflix. There's something about the dark, moody, taciturn world that just really gets my gears turning. Those are three things right now.
AVL: That's interesting. I like that first thing you mentioned, about choosing social situations that cause us discomfort. I really like that because I think that we can be in our bubbles.
AK: Oh yeah. I think for me, the whole bubble thing has been a blessing and a curse. Just being creatively self-employed, too, and having one of those businesses that can theoretically operate from anywhere, and I'm always working behind a computer. I've kind of set up my business in a way that I'm not hardly doing the phones at all...that kind of thing. It's been really easy for me to just hide out and stay in this groove of doing the things that I feel really competent out, but maybe drawing the lines of my life a little too closely and leaving adventure way outside the lines. As in, I shall not cross this line because I don't feel comfortable out there and I don't feel masterful out there. I notice that after a few years of working online and just creating behind-the-scenes and never having to put myself out there, so to speak, I notice that I started to feel awkward in "real life situations," and beyond the awkwardness of your standard introversion. Like, I don't know how to do this, I don't know how to be with people, blah blah blah. I feel like it was, for me, the all online creativity working thing has become maybe a little bit of a detriment to me feeling really creative and generous and full of possibility. I'm doing some things to consciously shift that up in my life.
AVL: Last year, early last year, I had this feeling that I was losing social skills because I had been online so much, and I have developed this completely other skill set, but I was losing the in-person skill set. I could see that, the use-it-or-lose-it type of thing, I could see that so I made an intention to put myself in more in-person situations.
AK: Yeah, and there's nothing more vulnerable than creativity I think, and kind of like finding ways to practice creativity or share creativity with other people, I think that was a huge part of my growth as a person that I had been overlooking. It's only just since my move to Seattle that I sought out opportunities to be connected with other creative people and put myself in environments that feel like they have creative possibility there. That's something I'm actively seeking right now.
AVL: So along those lines, the community within which we create is important, right? It's kind of how we end up reflecting the people we spend the most time around. I think our creative world ends up reflecting our creativity that we're in. If you think about your ideal creative community, one that nourishes you and pushes you, what does that look like? What's there?
AK: Oh, that's a cool thing to think about. For me it would be a community of mostly writers, like people who are really nourished by words and by language, and are really interested in nourishing other people with words and language. It would be a super diverse community -- all ages, men and women, probably need more men in my life, I have mostly women in my life -- people from all walks of life and backgrounds, straight people, queer people, people that bring a real multiplicity of perspective. There would be a fairly good, in-person commitment, I think to meeting regularly and sharing what we're working on, and there would be laughing and humor, and a little bit of beer and wine, something that feels easy and yet challenging at the same time. And I think that's available in Seattle for me and for writers and other creative people, so it's pretty exciting to get to be in a place where that is available [34:01]
AVL: The creative community here in Seattle just amazes me. There's so much going on, and in all different forms of creativity as well.
AK: In fact, knowing you and getting to know you better because of the locality, I guess, is really cool because through you, I'm coming into contact with other communities to really stretch myself as a creative person and artist, and explore other modes or genres than I would normally do, so that's going to be a cool opportunity, to.
AVL: That's my job as dangerous, creative contagion.
AVL: All the ways to tempt you with other creative, shiny things.
AK: That's hot! I like it!
AVL: (laughing) One of the things I talked about last time was the idea of creative faith and I've been talking about it since the case study with you. For the past seven months my brain has been on ths creative faith wavelength and there's a lot I'm going to be doing with that this year. But there's another angle that came to me today in the shower which I know you'll appreciate (laughing)...
AK: Oh yes, shower epiphanies.
AVL: Yes, absolutely! I had read an interview with Dave Grohl, the lead singer for the Foo Fighters, and he said that artists have to learn to trust their voice.
AK: (quiet sigh) Mmmm, yeah
AVL: When did you start learning to appreciate and trust your voice?
AK: Still learning it. (laughter) So here's the crazy thing. You know how we teach what we need to learn? My business is called The Voice Bureau (laughter) and I have a methodology that I've developed around understanding your own brand voice. I think that my biggest growing edge as a human being and as a creative person is trusting my voice, owning my voice, being willing to share my voice, so it's not a mystery as to why I landed upon the business mission that I did because it's something that I really need. I am so still discovering my voice not only in my fiction, but in the way I decorate my home or my personal space, the way I dress and present myself, the ways in which I might use other art to express things, my business, et cetera -- it's really all new for me. It's a huge part of what 2015 is for, for me.
AVL: Fascinating stuff!
AK: It is! It feels good. When did you start to trust and own your voice as an artist?
AVL: I think that's what's been happening for me over the last couple of years, getting used to seeing it out there. I think when we go through these periods, long inhale periods before we start putting work out there, the gaps between...I think when we first put something out there and make it concrete, this idea or vision becomes real whether it's words or visual art or whatever. I think there's this moment where it's like, oh crap, it's out there! Getting used to seeing it out in the world is something I've definitely been working on the last couple of years. I think it was last year, I was talking with Meg Worden who is a mutual friend, I made some offhand comment to her about how I've always had this really weird fantasy of fronting an all-girl rock band, like maybe we do covers of, like, Violent Femmes or something. I don't know.
AK: Oh my god, yes.
AVL: Just completely different stuff. She looked at me and she sad, "Are you serious?" I'm like, I don't know, why, why are you asking me that question? (laughter) What she said was something about how pursuing that -- and especially for writers, and I have an interest in writing, not as much as you do but I still have an interest in it -- she talked about a way to learn to trust and appreciate your voice, and that was singing.
AVL: I see where there's people new to the online world and they want to start putting out videos or podcasts or whatever, and one of the reasons they sometimes give for not doing that is not being able to stand the sound of their own voice. But it gets better! You get used it. You really do.
AK: Wow. Do you feel comfortable singing in front of a crowd?
AVL: I don't know.
AK: I guess we're going to have to go do karaoke at some point, because that's one of my big fears. Even though people tell me I have a decent voice, I'm scared.
AVL: I don't think I would want it to be karaoke. I think I would want it to be the full-on live band backing. Like, if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it.
AK: Well, let me know when your first gig is because I'll be in the front row cheering you on.
AVL: You'll be up there. We'll get you up there.
AK: Aaaaaah! (laughter) Ok, it's a deal.
AVL: There's one more thing I want to try and squeeze in if we can.
AK: Of course.
AVL: We might touch on it a little bit and explore it later, but I wanted to get to creative setbacks. I talk a lot about the joyous parts of creativity and the fun parts, and now enriching and nourishing it is, but sometimes it's an asshole, you know? (laughing)
AK: Yes. (laughter).
AVL: So do you have an example or a story you could share about when creativity just didn't work.
AK: Hmmm, shoot, I hope I can come up with something. (laughter) When creativity just didn't work...I know there's got to be something.
AVL: I do think sometimes it's evidence of an idea that's run its course, maybe it wasn't as fruitful as we wished it to be...
AK: Oh, yes. Ahh. I don't know why I'm drawing a blank. I know there is something. Let me think here. Why am I drawing a blank? That's really weird. Surely, I know I haven't always felt creatively successful. Well, I guess here's one way to respond to that that feels true to me. I think, and this might be like backing into an answer, I think I've always expected my creativity to show up regularly, like on demand, especially in my business. For me, up until now, that's been the primary canvas on which I've played out my creativity. I've expected it...when I'm ready for a new idea and it's going to feel awesome, and it's going to be so good to create and people are really going to respond it, it better freakin' show up because I'm really ready right now, and it doesn't. I think that honoring...that's such a fancy word...not getting completely frustrated and freaked out during the fallow periods is really helpful. I'm kind of going into this commitment to my daily fiction writing practice with that same mindset. There are going to be some days where I feel like, why am I even bothering? Nothing is coming, I have nothing juicy. I have nothing that feels alive. This is so stupid. And then there's going to be days where it feels decent and great. It's actually ok to feel dry. It's ok to feel fallow. I know I will need to remind myself of that again when it actually hits, but yeah....it's so weird because we can always count on something being there, and at the same time, we can never count on it, you know what I mean?
AVL: Yeah. Hmmm.
AK: That's kind of a sideways answer.
AVL: I think it goes back to creative faith, ultimately. Even in the dry and fallow periods, knowing this isn't permanent.
AK: Yes. It's really regenerative, I guess, like following your creative desire. It regenerates. It metamorphosizes. I think that staying curious, which is one of your big themes, too. That's what I'm learning right now. Stay curious. Stay with desire and just show up and let it happen, however it's going to happen that day.
AVL: Awesome. Is there anything you want to share, anything you're working on you want to talk about? Anything you want to add?
AK: Yeah, one thing I will add is that in an effort to, you know, follow my curiosity and follow my desire, expanding more into my voice, I am going to try to...this year bridge that gap a little bit in my business between who I am and who I know myself to be in my other, creative endeavors. That doesn't mean I'll be cross-posting fiction on my business blog or anything like that, but I think that there's a way in that which I can allow more of my raw, burgeoning creativity into how I approach my business. I have no idea what that's going to look like or even feel like, or what the response will be, but it feels like it's really what I really need to do right now. That's something else that's up for me around my voice. I'm just going to see what happens.
AVL: I think the response will be very good, and I can't wait to see it.
AK: Thank you!
AVL: Yeah! I think that's it for today.
AK: Awesome! This was so exciting. I feel really refreshed.
AVL: I am really...it's been great to talk about what has happened in the past seven months, and I am just...I don't know...impatiently but faithfully waiting for what's going to reveal itself over the next seven or eight months.
AK: Awww, thanks, Andrea. It's so fun sharing this with you.
AVL: I am so glad we're doing this. Thank you!
Abby's list of books (with her commentary) that have been "personally edifying and inspiring in recent years, for supporting my fiction-writing habit."
- Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones. This is the seminal work on Zen Buddhism-influenced writing practice, beloved by writers everywhere. Sounds True has a great audio book version, read by Goldberg herself.
- Robert Olen Butler, From Where You Dream. A writer friend recommended this book to me a year ago. I waded through it and experienced all kinds of cognitive dissonance. Lately I feel it pulling me like a magnet from the bookshelf in my writing loft. Discusses writing as a subconscious process, similar to a dreamlike state. Lots to unpack.
- Dani Shapiro, Still Writing. Part memoir, part writer's companion, these themed essays by prolific novelist and memoirist Shapiro are some of the most beautiful reflections on the writing life I've ever read. One I'll reread for years to come.
- Ron Carlson, Ron Carlson Writes a Story. Cheating a little bit with this one because I've only read excerpts. Will read the full work in time. Carlson, one of America's best loved veteran fiction writers, lets us peek over his shoulder as he crafts the short story, "The Governor's Ball."