Monday, August 13, 2007

Your Creative Story - Introduction

“How does creativity fit into your life?” I asked. “Tell me your creative story.”
I posted questionnaires, sent out scores of e-mails and linked to creativity sites. Heartfelt responses came pouring in from around the world.

From “Anonymous” to “Zacarro;” from medical specialist to record company executive; from jazz singer to horsewoman, we discover how very diverse people - of various ages and from different parts of the world - stoke their unique creative fires.

You will be inspired by these individuals – including the submissions of husband and wife – whose thought-provoking personal stories are included on this website.

These most extraordinary people reveal the very secrets of their individual creativity.

Many make concrete suggestions as to how to be more creative. Some write about their frustrations as well as their successes. Many speak of the importance of supportive people in their lives. Some detail the heartbreaking road along which they have travelled. They all share a part of their private lives with warmth and honesty.

Each one has touched my heart. I believe yours will be touched, as well.

Be ready to become inspired, motivated and moved. Just click on any of the names listed below. Enjoy reading these stories, be ever creative, and, most of all, relish and celebrate the creative process.

And, if you are stoking your heart’s creative fire, I invite you to share your creativity and insights - and light creative fire for others: send your creative story. You can use the Creativity Questionnaire in the right sidebar as a guide.

All the best,


To read a particular profile, click on any name. This list and links will be constantly updated.
Amanda - Australia

Anonymous – Anywhere, Earth

Harry van Bommel - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Roberto Cantù A - Metepec, Estado de Mexico

Cettina Sylvia Catlin Cantù - Metepec, Estado de Mexico

Violette Clark - Surrey, British Columbia

Vida Cropas - New Brunswick, Canada

Bobbie Dahdi - United Kingdom

Sherri Dickson - Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA

Elaine Rosemary Edie Froese - Boissevain, Manitoba, Canada

Nellie Jacobs - Toronto and Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

Vivian Jeanette Kaplan - Ontario, Canada

Dianne Linderman - Grants Pass, Oregon,USA

Michele Mele – Ontario, Canada

Sue Mitchell – Toronto, Canada

Rosalie Moscoe - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Monica Narula - Ahmedabad, India

Julie M. Ocean - Sunbury, Ohio, USA 

 Sandy Tobias Offenheim - "Tangled Socks and Wool"

Joan Evelyn Ongodia - Jinja , Uganda, East Africa 

Sean Michael Paddison – Ontario, Canada

Sunday, August 12, 2007

My Creative Story - Monica Narula

Ahmedabad, India

1) What does creativity mean to you?
Thinking out of the box, thinking big, thinking differently, lateral thinking

2) What is your creative passion? How do you approach it?
Writing, Developing material, Training Delievery, Learning New

3) Describe the feeling you have when heavily into a creative activity you love.
Great, Excited, Passionate, Growth.

4) What does the creative porcess do you, or for, you?

5) How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
Writing, Getting New Information, Learning New.

6) What do you do to satisfy your soul?

7) How are you creative in your life?
By thinking new and keep changing.

8) Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?
My father...I want to prove that I have a great potential to be something in life.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My Creative Story - Allison Rose

Photo by Allison Rose: Pathway to Nowhere

Gabriola Island, BC., Canada

What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity means happiness, expression, joy. When I haven't been creative for a while, all of those wonderful emotions get locked up inside me.

The second I become creative (pick up a camera, or design a website) I can feel the joy and happiness creep out of me.

What is your creative passion? How do you approach it?

I have several creative passions.

The first is photography, and I love to grab my camera and walk around my surroundings looking for interesting and unique ways of photographing the ordinary.

Surprisingly I find web programming creative. To me it's like a puzzle... I want the website to do a, b, c.... and right now I have a blank canvas. The joy and creative aspect is getting that blank canvas to do what I want.

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into a creative activity you love.
I generally zone out deep in focus. When I used to paint and draw I would lose track of time. 5 hours could go by, and I would think it was 5 minutes.

With photography a feeling of release and happiness comes over me. It feels right to walk around with a camera in my hand.

What does the creative process do to, or for, you?
Creativity, or the creative process, keeps me happy. It keeps my mind active and helps me look at the world in different ways.

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
I have found ways to be creative in every day life. My job is creative in many ways. I find both aspects of my job, designing and programming websites to be creative in different ways. I also read a lot, and find it wonderful to be caught up in someone else's creative spirit. I try to go out with my camera as often as possible.

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
I moved to a place that is IN nature.... where trees outnumber people and I can hear the sounds of nature. Nature keeps my soul happy.

How are you creative in your life?
I'm creative with my work and with my hobbies.

Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?
My family. If they were not accepting of my creativity and tried to push me into other life directions, I would probably not be in the fields I am today.

Allison's website: Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 08, 2007

My Creative Story - Marlene Walker

Thinking Spring. Photo by Marlene Walker Posted by Picasa
Marlene has two Masters Degrees: an M.S.W. and M. Sc. She has had considerable experience in several professions, including social work and property management. Currently, she considers herself lucky to be able to incorporate her love of nature, writing and photography to pursue careers as Nature Walk columnist for the Muskoka Sun newspaper, author of two recently published books about nature, keynote speaker - and facilitator of photography and nature appreciation week-end retreats in Muskoka. E-mail Marlene at Visit her website at
What does creativity mean to you?
It’s my inner essence – it takes me deep into myself. Sometimes it flows out of me and I don’t even know where it comes from.

Creativity in others is their expression of something unique to them in any form.

What is your creative passion? How do you approach it?
Nature photography and nature writing……….
I both direct it in terms of goals but often it just happens and it is such a surprise!
It also excites and stimulates me both intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into a creative activity you love.
I lose track of time – time has no meaning – the minutes and hours are of no consequence. It takes me into another dimension.

What does the creative process do to, or for, you?
It gives me great satisfaction. Sharing it is what I love to do.

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
I set goals – publishing books, writing articles, developing a theme to photograph i.e. ‘snow shadows’, maple leaves, organizing retreats

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
This question made me catch my breath.

My love of nature satisfies my soul; hearing a bird sing, capturing an image that is something so small that most people don’t see it

How are you creative in your life?
Writing, photography, sharing ideas, creative problem-solving, taking on a challenge

Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?
My parents, my husband, my friends, Freeman Patterson, my creativity group, myself

Share your inspiring story…..
I fell in love with bluebirds… it was the beginning of a love of nature that has been part of me for my whole life.

Have you had several sucessful careers changes in your life?
I guess I have re-invented myself several times. When I meet someone whom I haven’t seen in a long time, they think that I’m still doing what it was from before.

I take each of my careers and experiences with me…they become integrated into my new life experience. They are not left behind.

Describe your creative thinking.
I try to look at things in different ways…..there’s always some new way of looking at a challenge.

Tell about any creative projects that you’ve been involved recently.
Natural History and Photography retreats, PowerPoint Presentations

How would you describe Creative X-Spot?
Something deep inside of me that pulls at my creative core

Describe a serendipitous experience.
I met a woman at Chapters. We had a great connection. She and her husband are attending my retreat. One has to be open to opportunities. We are often confronted by these interfaces but we have to grab the opportunity for things to really happen.

Have you ever had a hunch you've followed to a successful conclusion?
The creation of my books developed from following my instinct. I trusted someone’s integrity and opportunities have continually evolved from our initial meeting.

Monday, December 11, 2006

My Creative Story - Rosalie Moscoe


What does creativity mean to you?
It means bringing to the surface an essence that lurks within my soul. It means saying things in my own way, with fun, passion and empathy. It means continual development either in my own field or branching into another. It means being unique, different from others, yet being able to relate to others.

What is your creative passion? How do you approach it?
Right now my passion is to write and to speak to audiences to bring all I've learned about health and wellness to others. As a board member for a foundation that promotes orthomolecular treatment of mental illness, I speak, write articles and volunteer for their many events. I bring my creativity, my excitement and belief to all I do for them.

I have had many creative passions in my life, from the time I was a child. Creative passion is getting in touch with that little ember that burns within and then fan those flames with everything we’ve got! It’s taking the things that I love and pursuing them. It started with my love of fun, music, swimming, dancing and learning at a young age. I loved school and learning. I loved music and studied violin, took ballet and tap dancing lessons, took swimming lessons and won swimming trophies at 7 and 8 years of age. We were a working class family, yet my mother found a way to have me do all these things. Folk dancing, then rock and roll music were other passions.

I recall as an adolescent learning all the words to each new pop tune that came out on the "CHUM chart" (a listing of every new pop song.) Playing in the school band and orchestra were thrilling to me. Learning international folk dance was another passion of mine along with dancing the jive. Getting married and becoming a young mother was my next passion. I made sure I learned about communication skills to help my relationship. After all, the odds of success were against me - getting married at 18. (We're still together 42 years later.)

I loved being a mother and read every book on child care and had fun with my 2 kids. I took them on subway rides, to the museum, enrolled them in karate, gymnastics, religious schooling and anything to enrich their lives and their souls. Still I strived to enrich my own. I studied creative writing, poetry, guitar, taught music for young children in the Library system in Toronto.

Later, I became a singer/performer (when my children were adolescents) I started a career in music and the arts as a singer/songwriter and part of the Canadian Singing Duo, Jim & Rosalie. We recorded three albums, were nominated for 2 Juno awards and then I was a solo performer for a few more years and recorded two more albums.

I was becoming interested in health and wellness due to the fact that at times my own health was suffering. Again I studied everything I could about it. I decided to switch careers - I felt a calling to that area. I returned to school and became a health and wellness consultant, stress management consultant and nutrition consultant.

Still I work to continually evolve and keep in step with the times, yet in step with my own direction.

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into a creative activity you love.
When I'm writing an article, or standing in front of an audience to speak or to sing, I feel an excitement, a passion to create my best, to bring to the world the best that was given to me. In a sense it's a wanting to succeed, yet it is balanced with a wanting to do good. It's a joyfulness that exudes from my soul, so that I can hardly wait to get the words out of me. It's a hope for the future, a positive fountain that keeps on pouring out what's in my heart. "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine."

What does the creative process do you, or for, you?
It makes me feel alive, that I feel I'm a co-creator in the universe. It helps me feel joyful, happy, inspired. It inspires me go forward in life. It makes me feel that life is worthwhile.

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
By getting excited about things I like to do. I studied violin as a child after begging my mother to take lessons. I took up singing, guitar, and became a singer and songwriter - as I mentioned earlier part of the Canadian Singing Duo "Jim & Rosalie". It’s all because I felt a surge of excitement each time I thought about these things. It was a ‘knowing’ that I could do it. We all have that ‘knowing’. Don’t let others or your own self doubts dampen it.

I wrote poems and studied creative writing and song writing. I wanted to become a speaker on health and wellness issues. I studied the craft of speaking, writing, presentation. I taught stress management at the same college I studied wellness. I speak on stress & wellness issues (and sing about them too). I wanted to be a nutritional consultant. I returned to school once again and became a Registered Nutritional Consultant - one who speaks and sings.

Now I want to write books and I'm learning the latest writing skills for e-books and articles for the Internet. Have I fulfilled my own creative urges? Most of them so far. But at 61, I still have many plans. To me that's the only way to live life, as if I'll never die, but yet as though I'll die tomorrow.

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
Give money and groceries to the homeless. Speak on nutrition and health at homes for schizophrenics. Volunteer as a board member of the International Schizophrenia Foundation, promoting orthomolecular treatments for mental illness. I empathize and give helpful information to people who call me with their problems with their mentally ill children.

Through nutritional consulting, I help many family members who are stricken with mental illness. I also sing when I'm driving in my car. I try to be forgiving of people who may have hurt or offended me. I notice beautiful things all around me - and take that beauty into my heart and soul; gorgeous orange/purple sunsets, striking architecture, city lights on a clear dark night, nature at every season - even winter, laughing children, beautiful clothing, wonderful art that speaks to me, enjoy beautiful people - inside and out. I pray.

How are you creative in your life?
I'm spontaneous and change course if I want to or have to. I decorate my home with unusual paint colours, whimsical decor and lots of brightly coloured furniture. I work hard, but take time for yoga, walks, voice lessons, or writing poetry. I find time to cook new recipes and bring family members together for parties.

Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?
My mother, with her encouragement, praise, love of fun and beauty in the world and her persistent nature. Her belief in me was the most inspiring. When I was a young mother, my own mother (Doris Fleishman) and I even had a mother and daughter act for about a year. It was great fun. We were called ‘The Team of Mama & Rosalie’.

Certain people not encouraging me or thinking I could not achieve in life also inspired me to plod on and achieve in spite of their lack of belief in me. For this negativity creates hurt and hurt often turns into a passion for greatness. Writers, poets and artists often get their greatest ideas when they are in the depths of despair. At times of difficulty in my relationships, I was inspired to write. When it seemed like all doors were closed to me, somehow I got inspiration to try something else. Perhaps it was God, an angel or the universe or my higher self or all of the above speaking to me - to persevere.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My Creative Story - Nellie Jacobs


It wasn’t until I sat down to answer these questions myself that I realized the difficulty of being truthful, clear and complete in responses. Thank you, thank you to all of you who have taken the time to share your creative story. And thank you to those of you who will be submitting your responses to my Creativity Questionnaire in the right sidebar.

What does creativity mean to you?
Next to my family and dear friends, creativity is my lifeblood.

What is your creative passion? How do you approach it?
I love to be creative. I love experiencing the creative process. Growing up, art was my sole interest. Gradually, writing was added to the package. And now, it’s all about trying to contain, develop and complete the multitude of glorious ideas, books and projects constantly popping up and swirling around in my head.

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into a creative activity you love?
I, like all creators, am ‘hooked’ on the feeling I get when totally immersed in the creative process. It’s like a drug - and is especially motivating when things go well.

Years ago, a relative who was a sock manufacturer came to visit my home. He asked to see my artwork. Stopping at a painting, he began plying me with such questions as, “How long did it take for you to do this piece?” and “How much do you charge for it,” I explained to him the thought process, the planning and the hours - if not days - put into each painting.

I knew he was trying to figure out the cost of time and effort creating the painting versus its price. Of course, he was comparing the result with the production cost of a pair of socks, the final price he charged to retailers and multiplied that by the vast numbers of pairs of socks he sold each week, month and year. As he realized how little I was compensated for my effort and time, he shook his head, wondering aloud, “Why do you do it?”

What does the creative process do to, or for, you?
I tried to describe the feeling I have while creating so this successful businessman could identify in some way with my explanation. First, I spoke about the creation of a sock. “You know the feeling of accomplishment you have when you develop a new sock, the process of design, manufacturing and then seeing it actually sell well?” He nodded slowly. I continued, "That’s what I get when I finish a piece of art.” T
hen I went to something more intimate:

“You know the sexual high you can get? The actual process of creating gives me much more and the feeling I have lasts way, way longer.” He turned red in his face and jumped back in astonishment. And then he said, “Aha,” a glimmer of understanding appearing on his face.

When I’m caught up in the thinking and doing, nothing can stop me from pursuing it until its conclusion. Whenever I finish it, whether I like it or not, I’m amazed at the product. I feel as though it’s a gift that has been handed to me.

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
I’ve taught elementary school, created and taught art, written and published books, designed programs and workshops, pitched and hosted television shows, developed specific projects and - my greatest creative achievement - helped to raise my children to be independent, creative-thinking and resourceful adults.

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
I read and learn as much as I can, take pleasure in good conversations with people I care about, take time to help out when I’m needed and keep creating.

How are you creative in your life?
Besides writing and creating art, I believe I’m open-minded in thinking so can come up with unusual solutions to problems that present themselves.

Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?
My husband has been a rock, even when he thinks I’m crazy. His patronage and creative thinking continue to inspire and support me in all my endeavors.

There are so many people along the way who have influenced and encouraged me: teachers and friends included. Among main supporters are three women with whom I have met regularly for several years for that very purpose. We call our group "Inspiration" and help each other work through ideas and steps to completion. I highly recommend anyone join or form a support group: it’s great to have people on your side and working in your interest. And several heads are better than one for brainstorming solutions.

Share your inspiring story about why you love what you do, how it is creative and how you do it.
At this very point, I’ve just completed my Magical MousePainting® manuscript. How it came to be was a roundabout route:

For several reasons, I haven’t painted on canvas or paper for years. Yet, I have been creating art – on the computer.

A few years ago, I used the Paint application to illustrate Six Sparks to Lighting Your Creative Fire! - a PowerPoint presentation I was developing at the time. As I describe in the introduction to Magical MousePainting®, I soon began experimenting with Paint tools as well as possible applications. In the process, I created scores upon scores of ‘paint’ings.

“What is the point of these drawings?” asked several people. "What can you do with them?" I had no idea. However, I knew I loved the process and its results: intense colors; limitless possibilities in design, subject matter and application.

And then, along came a possible opportunity to give a creativity workshop at Mindcamp. What better way to demonstrate what I’d learned to people who probably didn’t even know they had a Paint application already installed on their computer? My proposal for “How to Paint with a Mouse” was accepted.

If you have successfully changed careers several times, tell us what you have done and why. How did you get the courage to do it?
I began as a very young, very shy elementary school teacher of grades three and four. A couple of years later, when a position for kindergarten teacher became available at my school, I applied and was accepted. That summer I took the required courses needed to qualify.

After I left teaching to raise my family, I ran co-op weekly Moms and Tots play groups with friends and neighbors in my home basement (In the photo at the beginning of this article, my 2 year old daughter is having fun painting on paper, wall and floor. Her own daughter is now 3).

When our kids all fell ill at once with either chicken pox or croupe, my sister-in-law Marlene and I, crazy with being home-bound for so long, launched a stay-at-home mothers' support publication we called “MAMMA” (Modern Activities for Mothers' Mental Awareness). We were interviewed by local and national media. Over time, we offered workshops, seminars, mini-conferences and developed a skit “Engagement, Marriage, Motherhood, the Dreams vs. the Reality” performed to audiences all over the region, including national television. We were then offered a half-hour taped interview cable television show run by us and volunteers we gathered. After a year, we pitched and were accepted as a co-creators and hosts of an hour-long, live interview show "MAMMA Speaks Out," also run by volunteers. It became quite popular.

When that project ended at the end of a year, I returned to university to get a communications degree, after which I wrote a manuscript that became the book Grading the Teacher. My most recent step was to become a creativity consultant (after taking an intensive course through a training company called Essential Communications).

Each of these stages unfolded as problems needed resolving, as situations presented themselves and as opportunity knocked.

In what way(s) are you creative-thinking in your private or professional life?
In any way possible. My mind spills over with ideas, and as with many creators, implementing them is the issue.

Describe how you have approached a specific problem in a creative way.
My husband and I realized we needed a larger dining room to accommodate a bigger table for our growing family. Building onto the house was not a viable option. After considerable discussion and brainstorming sessions, we decided to change the use of some of the main rooms. The living room became a beautiful, roomy dining room; the former dining room is now a family room just off the kitchen; and our former family room became a lovely, intimate salon/living room.

What creative interests or projects have you been involved with lately?
After giving the first “How to Paint with a Mouse” workshop, I realized I had so much more to say and that the process of creating art was so beneficial to creative thinking. Wanting to reach a wider audience for the purpose of helping people reconnect with their personal creativity, I decided to develop Magical MousePainting®.

I truly believe this book is an excellent tool for discovering and exploring individual creativity. It also simply outlines fundamental art principles as well as computer functions and applications. Instructions are easy step-by-step and include scores of tips, challenges and vibrant illustrations. It's suitable for anyone of any age who can read or follow instructions. It appeals to either novice or expert to art and computers.

You can find out a bit of what the book is about on On the opening page, you can click onto links to the pages of wonderful work of some people (ages 6 to 65) who have followed my instructions.

(P.S. I've been ordered to promote myself, so here goes: If you're interested to reserve one, two or more copies of Magical MousePainting ®, just e-mail me at with the subject line "Please reserve MM." (There's no commitment to buying the book at this point.) Include your name, email address, and how many copies you're requesting and any note you'd like. I'll send you purchase details when they're available. For more information about the book, click here.)

Describe any coincidences, serendipitous and synchronistic experiences you have had.
I’ve had - and continue to have - countless episodes: however, one particular experience stands out:

In the spring one afternoon years ago, I climbed into my van to drive my young kids to their after-school programs. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a flyer lying on the passenger seat next to me. It announced the upcoming week-long summer writing workshops offered by the University of Toronto.

For some time afterwards, I carefully studied the sessions offered and decided to register for the Freefall Writing offered by Barbara Turner-Vesselago.

I asked around and not one person in my family knew anything about the flyer. No one placed it there. It was a gift that appeared out of the blue. That 5-day intensive course changed my life. It gave me confidence that I had something important to say and signaled the beginning of my writing career. It's why I persisted when submitting my Grading the Teacher manuscript to 29 publishers who turned it down.

After Penguin Books Canada published it in 1996, the book became a best-seller. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Creative Story - Amanda


What does creativity mean to you?
For me its a way to express thoughts and emotions in different and unusual ways

What is your creative passion? How do you approach it?
I love to paint and use creativity to express myself

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into a creative activity you love.
I feel like I’m free to be me with no restrains

What does the creative process do you, or for, you?
It gives me an outlet to vent me emotions and be ME

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
By doing something \'different\' or exciting

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
I think about what it means to be this world

How are you creative in your life?
I paint and express myself by using emotions and thoughts to provoke my actions

Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?
My family as well as anyone who believes in themselves to achieve anything they set their mind to

My Creative Story - Dr. Lesley Soden


Dr. Soden is an Educator/Consultant in Creativity.

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into an activity you love?
I feel fully absorbed when painting (time goes by without noticing). When singing I feel full (not as in hunger, but safe, happy full).!

What does the creative process do to or for you?
The creative process challenges me. It's complex and combines effort and no effort, a marriage of the two.

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
I haven't fulfilled enough of my creative urges! The ultimate one is my 'life" which I am forming and reforming all the time. At times it's exciting, at times terrifying. But I do feel committed to this as a creative endeavour.

As for day-to-day creative urges, they range from browsing in unlikely places (a cemetery, town dump, art supplies store, Value Village, a button store) anywhere my imagination can come alive. I love a flexible schedule so I can vary what I do each day. Also, I tell spontaneous stories to my son every night. And on and on.

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
To satisfy my soul, I:

1. drink cafe latte
2. cuddle with my son
3. read about creativity, spirituality and inspiring lives
4. work out and meditate (both once weekly)
5. laugh and tease others

These activities, and many more, combine to make me feel a bit more whole on a daily basis. There are gaps, however, and I struggle with why I do not allow myself more activities that I know would support my soul. Like singing and painting (more), taking up tennis, returning to piano, meditating daily, etc....

Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?
My father has inspired me to believe all is possible. My mother has remained a testament to humility and goodwill. My son has given me deep purpose. And somewhere, deep in my childhood, a variety of forces combined to propel me towards a life of meaning and contribution. I have still much discovery ahead of me.

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My Creative Story - Shari Vogt


What does creativity mean to you?
It means letting yourself express yourself in any way that makes you happy or allows your emotions to flow. It's following your own rhythm.

What is your creative passion? How do you approach it?
My creative passion is expressing myself from the depths of my soul. I don't have to work hard at doing this. Whenever I create a piece of art, if I don't know what it means before I start, I discover a message in the process or when looking at the completed piece.

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into a creative activity you love.
I am lost in another world when I'm deep into a work of art. I am filled with joy and awe at what is being created before me. I feel as if I'm directed from some other source or maybe a part of my brain that I just don't visit that often. I don't know where my ideas come from. They just flow.

What does the creative process do you, or for, you?
The creative process makes me whole. It allows me to connect to myself in ways I cannot reach through other means.

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
I fulfill my creative urges each time I make time to create.

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
My art satisfies my soul. I usually end up blogging about a piece after I finish it or share it with my partner explaining what it means to me. This gives my soul a voice other than the voice communicated through my art.

How are you creative in your life?
I am creative in the way I approach things. I'm the type of person who, if presented with a problem, I'll try to find a way around roadblocks or dissolve the roadblocks completely.

Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?
There hasn't been just one person, though I know I received my optimistic view on life as a bi-product of living with my father who was the ultimate pessimist. He was also argumentative. So the only way to communicate with him would be to argue and take the opposite view. To this day I find myself arguing for the positive...looking for the opposing, but positive, view.

Share you inspiring story about why you love what you do, how it is creative and how you got to do it.
I do many things to express the murmurings of my soul -- altered books, collage, assemblage ... anything involving lots of bright colors! But the most important thing I have ever done was have a site created to share my most crazy and inspiring idea -- Found Art.

This site promotes a global art project where people create art and leave it in their communities for others to find. I believe that art speaks at a deeper level that words cannot reach. By making art and giving it away, with no strings attach, artists send a ripple of generosity and an important message from their soul. No matter who finds it, how it is accepted, or if no one ever finds it, the ripple of love and compassion is still out there making a difference.

Check out Shari's Found Art website at

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My Creative Story - Cheryl Zaccaro


Cheryl is a horsewoman and occupational therapist. Pictured above: Cheryl on her beloved Syncho.

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into an activity you love.
Feeling of lightness, capacity, happiness, whistling, singing, better listener, better communicator, nothing feels bleak, time flies, empowered, and what is great is all that juice stays with me the good HDL gets increased vs the bad HDL...better than any medicine ever created!

What does the creative process do to or for you?
It can be distracting 'cause if I have a creative thought I can move away from what has to be done to what is more fun to do ...and that is to let the mind function creatively ...Funny, I never had a creative thought about doing the dishes...Eureka! Maybe that is the way to tackle everything ...think of it as a creative challenge...I am going to try that for a few days and I'll get back to you.

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
I talk to my friend ... I do some good things for other people. I connect to my husband which has really nurtured my soul. I pet my dog and ride my horse. I have a snowball fight. I play in my garden. I meet a friend for lunch.

Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?
The HYDE SCHOOL through my son...They focus on: unless you are the best you can be, your son is gonna struggle...forcing me to spend more time looking at myself and sharing with others goals I have for myself; and when you see those goals on paper and talk about it there is no escaping from working toward change.

Do you have an interesting story to tell about what you do and how you got to it? Why do you love it?
When I was a girl I use to wish for a horse. I'd wish on stars, birthday candles, 4 leaf clovers, break wish-bones. I would have sold my soul, I think. Though that wish didn't come true in my childhood the dream never left me. For my 40th birthday my husband surprised me with not any horse, but a white horse so beautiful it took my breath away. In my real life for those forty years I grew up, went to college, got married, had a couple of careers, moved around, adopted a son, and realized that one thing that nurtures my soul is helping others...enter therapeutic horseback riding.

I began volunteering at therapeutic horseback riding programs wherever I lived. At 53, I went back to school, got certified as a therapeutic horseback riding instructor. My childhood dreams and career have merged. My work is now my play.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

My Creative Story - Sue Mitchell

“Sue Mitchell is a Toronto entrepreneur whose concept 'Creative Break' is a workshop program that offers attendees the chance to try using new tools and materials in a supervised, creative space. People sign up for a three-hour workshop and go home with their own handmade project — a wooden planter, a stained-glass stepping stone or a hand-formed garden pot.”

The photo and quote above appeared in the Toronto Star, February 24, 2005. To read the entire article, visit


What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity is many things for me.

It's the opportunity to try new things, especially something that I haven't done before.

It's the opportunity to make things with my own hands, to figure out how something is made and do it for myself.

It's also the ability to think of things in a different way: to take ideas and grow them, expand them, twist them into something new.

Problem-solving is high on my creative list. I'm not terribly good at drawing or painting, so I like to find ways that I can make things using paints and other materials that look great, but don't depend on an ability to draw - I love colour. I think the process of playing with all the materials is as much, if not more fun, than the finished product.

What is your creative passion? How do you approach it?
I'm still discovering my creative passion. What do I truly love to do? I feel most creative when I'm making things, trading and building ideas with other people and helping show people how they can make things. I love it when someone doesn't think they are a creative person, but then finds out that in fact they are.

Creativity in our society seems to be related to the ability to draw, sing, dance, act, write, etc., all of which are wonderful creative expressions. Unfortunately, the creativity that we use in our daily survival so often goes unnoticed. Any woman who balances children and work is surely a creative person. I'm becoming more aware of all the things we do that are creative.

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into a creative activity you love?
If it is some concrete project that I'm working on (ie. making something) the feeling is generally one of intense concentration, lost in whatever I'm doing - very much in the moment. Although sometimes it starts to spark ideas, and then my mind gets very busy dreaming up new things.

If I'm problem-solving or being creative with ideas, then the feeling is more one of excitement as the pieces start to fall into place, as one idea stimulates another, like a set of building blocks as you see things begin to take shape.

What does the creative process do to, or for, you?
I think that the process does many things.

At times it is good for relaxing, or focusing. I find that if I'm in a bad mood or at a loss, if I start working on something with my hands, I get lost in it and it calms me down. It can lift my mood.

I feel that working with my hands making things helps to open up my thinking and makes me a more creative thinker in other areas of my life.

Sometimes it's just plain fun - a chance to play, a diversion, a reason to laugh, being silly, remembering the joy of playing as a child.

Sometimes it's about the feedback that you get, the feeling of pride when asked "you made that?"

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
I've learned that it's OK to buy stuff like paints and papers without necessarily having a concrete plan in mind. Sometimes, just having the materials around - knowing I can use them when I want is enough! I've started to experiment with different projects that I've always wanted to do, but I really need to find more time and space to pursue these things.

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
Spend time with loved ones. Pet my cat. Go for a walk in the country. Dance. Laugh.

Visit Sue's website at Reach her by email:

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Creative Story: Vivian Jeanette Kaplan


Vivian was born in Shanghai, China. She was an entrepreneur involved with import and export before she became an author. Since submitting the description below several years ago, she has more grandchildren and her book Ten Green Bottles has won awards; it has now been published in Canada (Robin Press), the United States (St Martin’s Press), Hungary, Germany and Italy.


Can you describe the feeling you have when heavily into an activity you love?
I feel a lightness of spirit and easing of tension when I can do what I want rather than what I have to do. My creative outlets belong to me alone and are some of the few times when I am not acting as a caregiver or fulfilling a responsibility of some kind.

What does the creative process do to or for you?
It allows me to express feelings and thoughts in my own way. What I like best is the solitude of the creative moment, when I don't have to explain myself to anyone and can find an element of freedom that is hard to capture in day to day activities.

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
I have always, even as a child, searched for creative outlets. I painted and wrote poetry from an early age. In child rearing of my three children I think that I was able to give them an appreciation of some forms of literature and art. For twenty years I owned my own company in interior design and established manufacturing of my designs in the Orient, specifically in China, India and the Philippines.

When I retired a few years ago from my business I began writing in a more serious way and have just had my first book published called "Ten Green Bottles" I am proud to say that it has been very well received and is being sold across Canada with expectations of translation in foreign languages and publication worldwide.

I paint water colours and am currently working on two more books.

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
For quiet escape times travelling is great. Any chance to get in touch with nature is always satisfying and soothing. Taking walks alone is usually a good break, taking notice of flowers, birds, colour variations, looking for the artistry that surrounds us. It allows me to regenerate and activates my creative flow.

I now have a little grandson and he is a source of pure pleasure.

Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?

My mother inspired me first as she is a very strong person. She is the heroine of my book and also was a very successful businesswoman. Both of my parents encouraged me to fulfill my potential and were supportive of every enterprise. I also had a female English professor at University of Toronto who was extremely supportive. She told me that I was talented and that I should never stop writing.

My husband of thirty-five years has been a supportive fan of all my creative activities.

Do you have an interesting story to tell about what you do and how you got to it? Why do you love it?

Now that I can consider myself an author I feel that I have accomplished my most recent goal. I truly love the writing process, the unravelling of a story that begins in my brain, unformed and then is translated to the computer screen to become a living entity. The characters that I imagine take on a life of their own and eventually they are fully realized and once the book is published they can spread my ideas far beyond my reach. It is an invigorating experience.
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My Creative Story - Elaine Rosemary Edie Froese


A newspaper columnist, speaker and author, Elaine is a certified coach who specializes in farm families. Read her articles online at Reach Elaine by email:

What does creativity mean to you?
It’s the ability to use your intuition, dreams, thoughts, and imagination to create something new.

What is your creative passion? How do you approach it?
Writing and painting, Making cards.

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into a creative activity you love.
Lose all track of time, it's called "finding flow."

What does the creative process do you, or for, you?
It gives a deep sense of satisfaction, and the legacy of bringing pleasure to others, myself, and making a difference in the world.

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
Writing a book. Creating cards. Going to art camp. Encouraging families through speaking and writing.

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
Pray. Play. Connect with my right brain.

How are you creative in your life?
Bringing beauty into my environment. Using the power of words to encourage others.

Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?
My family: my mom always displayed my art.

My friends: they give feedback and enjoyment.

My readers: they give encouragement to keep putting Christian thoughts into a secular paper.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

My Creative Story - Bobbie Dahdi


Bobbie left her music record company to become a journalist and writer. Her short story “Look at Me,” is part of a collection in Mordecai’s First Brush with Love. You can read a story by Bobbie online at

Do you have an interesting story to tell about how you are creative in your life?
Being a very practical person, there was little room for creative play once I grew too old to play (in my teens).

Suffering cancer was my wake-up call. I began to see that I can try to live any life I want - it's legit to be airy-fairy writerly. I have had a short play and some short stories published and am working on a first novel. I have just completed a Certificate in Novel Writing at City University. A couple of years back, I took the Writer's Mentor Program through Humber University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Have you successfully changed careers several times? Why? How did you get the courage to do it?
I added journalism to the business of manufacturing music that I was already involved in. My specialist subject was France and this grew to French economics.

I became editor and writer of INVEST IN FRANCE magazine for the French government, UK correspondent for the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce's magazine and freelancer for THE ECONOMIST, TELEGRAPH and especially CORPORATE LOCATION.

Prior to that, I changed from PA to Entrepreneur when I set up our music industry business. Regarding courage:

1. Change to business woman - sold idea and found a backer

2. Change to journalist - husband took over running of most aspects of business, allowing me more time to experiment with writing and selling journalistic ideas

3. Change to novelist - cancer and facing own mortality.

Are you creative-thinking in your personal or professional life? Tell us about it.
My head buzzes with ideas - business and creative - the whole time.

My problem is selecting which are the good ones.

For instance, the other night I thought a book of articles celebrating creative women and telling their stories would be a good thing - I expect you've had the same idea. It'd be a joy to do - and could even become a series - but it would take away from the time I'm spending on my novel right now.

I have other novel ideas backing up like planes waiting for a runway slot. So I don't know if the Celebration idea will ever get going.

How might you define the term "Creative X-SpotTM?” Humorous definitions accepted.
A delicious tingling.
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Thursday, November 16, 2006

My Creative Story - Troy Ruskamp


What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity means to me doing the best and most satisfying living. Art is life and life is art, it is doing whatever you do, and not giving a damn about what others think about you, or what you do, or how you, how you talk.

Creativity is trying to express yourself and communicate with others in your own way, it’s your own, and it may not get along with others, and for this they are going to have to get the truth. -"I don't like you"- this should be expressed and set. When two approaches or "personalities" conflict with each other, they should do as like charges on atoms do and repel. This is the one way, and may not have much to do with creativity, but…

Creativity comes from within as do the other good "behaviors" - kindness, gentleness, compassion; you know, all those, but it takes more, your "spirit", your desire for good that is in you, overall: love, but it takes an effort or mainly time, and example. But when people are loving, kind, etc., their creative spirit comes out.

What is your creative passion? How do you approach it?
My creative passion is that I'm trying to discover my creative passion still. I am a college student, so I mostly have to give time for studying, but I have just started to venture out to new things besides TV and... yep, that's about it, but I have started to read more; Shakespeare and Walt Whitman and I am trying to improve my drawing skills.

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into a creative activity you love.
I feel like I'm halfway up a hill, and I reach the top, and then slowly and steadily come down and out, and I look behind and feel that I've just accomplished something.

What does the creative process do you, or for, you?
It gives me a release of all the energy I have so I feel that at least I'm not wasting my time here, and it puts a balance in my week, it makes you feel a relief, you gain a good approach to all other activities you do, including talking, eating, just doing stuff, you have self confidence, 100%. You know your place in life. And the rest of history and the future, you see yourself as equal.

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
I have fulfilled them by taking up the practice of drawing and reading Walt Whitman and Shakespeare, and I have moments of fulfillment, but I have not finished a drawing, when I finish it, that will probably be my creative fulfillment, but you can fulfill them every day, but never be fully satisfied.

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
I don't know how to answer this, I "dig" into my soul, I long, I read W.W. and try to gather the best insights and comments on life, and try to communicate those to others and am most happy when I find someone who is with me, who is positive, who is "in tune" with him/herself.

How are you creative in your life?
I think I already answered that question, but I would like a creative hobby like drawing, painting, writing (maybe).

Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?
My high school English teacher said, "They say this (high school) is the best time of your life, but they’re wrong." She told us that your life is good and that you will be the happiest when you make it the happiest and that was truth, and she knew it, and I believe her. And from that I live my life.

My Creative Story - Sherri Dickson


What does creativity mean to you?
uniqueness, ability to inspire others

What is your creative passion? How do you approach it?
Singing, I sing in the shower, and have sung in 2 weddings.

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into a creative activity you love.

What does the creative process do you, or for, you?
Helps me relax and gives me a sense of accomplishment, knowing that I have a talent that not everyone has.

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
I haven't yet. I want to take professional voice lessons to perfect the gift I have

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
Read Christian self-help and spiritual books

How are you creative in your life?
I find creative games and crafts to do with my children. I also love to decorate my home and often change it up with new curtains, plates, bath towels, or bedding.

Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?
My parents. I have been going to college for almost 18 years, and I will FINALLY graduate next May. They have always been behind me and knew that I could do it. They also helped me out financially wherever they could.

My Creative Story - Vida Cropas


Vida Cropas says she is a survivor, unpublished writer, and student - in every sense - who lives with her family and pets in a kind and tranquil setting.

What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity is a choice, a process, a lifestyle...

What is your creative passion? How do you approach it?
Creativity can be applied in all areas of life. It simply means granting one's mind permission to expand, to explore, and to express itself...

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into a creative activity you love?
These feelings manifest themselves in different ways depending on life's circumstances and how well one's creative muses are communicating...

Sometimes they are revealed as quiet frustrations, like a nagging element seeking to join the world (e.g. what is the right word or colour??!)... Feelings as vague and cloudy as some entity trapped or lost somewhere in the ether of imagination seeking to reveal itself yet unable to get through...

At other times, it is a joyful surrender that allows greater forces to flow...It is communicating with the greater self that knows God and understands His works...

What does the creative process do to, or for, you?
No matter what form it takes, or what feelings emerge, it always reveals an aspect of self that was previously hidden; it usually comes as a surprise, then as a deeper understanding of self and others.

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
By little songs or poems that I make up on the way to work, through adding a little imagination and memory aids to my son's homework in the evenings when I get home (e.g. when learning time tables, why aren't children taught the law of 9?) by adding a little nutmeg while frying my ground beef simply because it might taste good, by reading a wide variety of books, then applying that knowledge to my own work and experience.

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
Aside of living creatively, I enjoy gardening, walking along the sea shore, and spending time with my horses; these things satisfy my soul.

Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?
"Necessity is the mother of all invention" - and creation!... Does one ever achieve hi/her full potential?

Do you have an interesting story to tell about what you do and how you got to it? Share it here. Why do you love it?
The story of my life is very complex and filled with a wide variety of very colourful characters...

When born into a life that seems as unreal and twisted as any "soap," it only seems natural to write about it in order to grasp reality, tame the beast, defeat one's demons, forgive the perpetrators, and explain it all...

So it all started out as research to try to grasp, in a fair and unbiased way, the many psychological disorders of the people who sought to destroy me, yet underestimated the tenacious little soul that they were dealing with... Why do I love it?

I simply love life, the unlimited mysterious aspects of body mind and spirit, and the quest for knowledge... I love being on the road to get there.

My Creative Story - Anonymous


We don’t know the person who submitted the following responses. We don’t know where in the world he or she live. Creativity is obviously important enough to the individual to take the time to fill out my online questionnaire ( Perhaps he/she is Everyman/woman representing you and me.
What does creativity mean to you?
We are all creative beings. Our lives are our creation and we choose how to live them.

What is your creative passion? How do you approach it?
I'm still struggling with finding it but I enjoy finding the beauty in things and making my surrounding aesthetically pleasing.

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into a creative activity you love.
I lose track of time. I don't think of anything else because I'm emotionally fulfilled and satisfied. I feel full.

What does the creative process do you, or for, you?
It's the only time I'm truly "in the moment." It gives me peace and fulfillment.

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
I'm still trying to figure that out. I try to do something artistic or creative everyday.

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
Meditation and quiet help me to get centered. Music and art inspire me.

How are you creative in your life?
I try to squeeze in creativity into any free time I have, whether that be decorating my house, coloring with my daughter, doodling, or writing about anything on my mind.

Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?
Unfortunately my parents weren't available to be as supportive as I needed them to be but I had great coaches and friends growing up who supported me and loved me which helped me to realize that my potential is endless.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My Creative Story: Julie M Ocean

Morrison Mosaics, Metal and Sculptures

I am a mosaic artist who lives with my family just outside Columbus, Ohio. I have created several large mosaics to auction off at charity events. The most recent one was the Street Corners Project in 2003, which was inspired by the Chicago Cows. Artists were sought to embellish giant ears of corn, measuring in at six feet tall. They were placed in various locations around the city.

Presently, I am working on new three dimensional sculptural mosaics for an upcoming holiday show at MacWorthington Gallerie in the Short North area of Columbus. In our studio we make 90% of the tile we use and glaze them by hand. While it is a time consuming process, we are able to embellish the tiles and glaze them with the colors we need. We are geared toward one of a kind or custom pieces. This gives them more value. To see more of my work, we encourage you to check it out at:

What does creativity mean to you?A chance for the heart and soul to express itself, reaching into other hearts and souls on a level words can not touch.

What is your creative passion? How do you approach it?Mosaics with sculpture. I listen to wordless music, light candles; try to do something unusual to start the creative process. First the sculpture: I usually get an idea while thinking, or writing or working on another project. I sketch out concepts and work on problem solving. The porcelain tile I use for mosaics is made in our studio. We also have more control over the glazing process. I roll out lots of square footage and customize it through surface textures or shaping.

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into a creative activity you love.
I start and when I am starving, hours have passed. I am pretty task oriented, so I am motivated by my inner slave driver.

What does the creative process do you, or for, you?
It is very healing. Problems that have haunted me get answered in those intense studio times.

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
Through writing when I have no pictures, and creating pictures when words fail me.

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
My relationship with Jesus, and reading the Bible.

How are you creative in your life?It is just sticking out everywhere: music going, taking pictures to put on the wall, ornaments in the garden, interior decorating, making furniture, ethnic cooking.

Who has inspired you in your life to achieve your potential? How?
My Dad. He always said I could do whatever I put my mind to and he encouraged all six of his kids to do that. He also was a creative person. I felt understood by him. He also said, if you can read you can do anything.

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