Monthly Archives: July 2021

Creatively Speaking

There’s something I want to say, but for the life of me, and regardless of how long I sit here, I’m still unsure what it is. It’s an absolutely frustrating-to-the-core feeling. One thing’s for sure, being a Creative, isn’t easy. 

When I was young that word wasn’t used that way. When I was going through my formative years, ripe with possibility, I had no clue who I was or what I should or could possibly do. It took all I had to manage my every day life. And school was no help. Sadly, I hear this is often still the case. Please know, if you were or are aimless or unsure your place, you are not alone.

I grew up in a town so small it took two minutes to drive from one end to the other. It was beautiful. And still is. But small. And unless you excelled in math, science or football, well… you were invisible. You had to find your own way. And I did. Many years later. 

Being a Creative, as it’s now termed, isn’t an easy path. In fact, its profoundly irksome. Just as much, its profoundly rewarding. But it’s also who you are so to do otherwise is akin to repeatedly shoving your foot into a shoe that’s two times too small. It won’t work. Many do it, of course; resigning themselves to a life that never feels right. Life is all about feeling to me. And I’ve spent many years living a life that didn’t feel right. It’s a slow death that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. 

I used to dream of being a writer. Spinning captivating stories. Most likely with a decanter of expensive Scotch perched beside me, slowly slipping into giddy madness. I never did live out that fantasy. And I still don’t like Scotch. But my idea was based on a limited concept. I only knew what I knew. And my education never bothered to show me how to utilize my very individualized skills. I spent much of my early years feeling as though I was somehow spectacularly unintelligent as I had no interest in much of what was being taught. Aside from one or two classes that left an indelible impression, the rest was a bore. But it wasn’t because of my lack. It was because it wasn’t meant for me. 

Life is about finding our way, discovering who we are and what fills us with passion. Even if that passion is mild and calm or wild and enthralling. It doesn’t matter. It’s our passion, our definition. For many of us, we unwittingly forfeit our first couple of decades before we stumble into discovering our niche and place in the world. School should be a time of discovery, not rote. I don’t give a flying flip about formulas, unless it’s the formula for happiness and self exploration. Because those formulas are necessary to us all.

I’m sitting here on a leisurely afternoon, surrounded by flowers with soft music playing in the warm breeze, grateful for this life of mine. But it shouldn’t take decades to find one’s place. So whether you are young or old, and feel lost and wondering your place, don’t despair. If I can do it, so can you. And if people seem wildly unhappy out there in the world, it’s because they are. There are a lot of people living a life that feels like an ill-fitting shoe, wishing for something better. 

If I were to create the world. I would spend a lot more time cultivating one’s ability to think creatively and critically. I would make sure they knew they were smart. It takes strength to find your way. I’d make sure they knew they had that strength. And if they decided they wanted to live the life of a Creative I’d warn them that it won’t be easy. There will be days when the desire sits like an itch. But also too, there will be days when they click the final key, make their final brush stroke, design the final piece or make their final edit, and it will feel so deeply gratifying. Either way, which ever path, I’d make sure they know to live it fully.; unabashed. Embraced. I wish someone had taken the time to tell me that. Well dear reader, at least I’m here to tell you. 


Just An Observation

Hedy Lamarr, 1940s

I’ve been an observer all my life. Often it feels like there’s a thin veil that separates me from the real world. Through this veil though, I can see more clearly than those who are standing on the other side. It has been the single best thing about being me, and the single worst. Its made me feel like an outsider, and yet, on a broader scale, it’s allowed me to feel more in touch with the world; to see beyond the illusion of day to day life. A true double-edged sword.

Today while walking back from the market, my sack filled with the essentials: salsa, craft beer and Panda Puff cereal, I noticed the vibrancy of the grass, I breathed deep the smell of green. I watched a Monarch butterfly flit across my path. I noticed the root that poked itself precariously above the sandy ground, and wondered to which tree it belonged. And upon entering my home I smelled the fresh cucumbers resting on the counter, and was instantly transported to when I was young, and our home smelled of cucumbers and my mom’s fried chicken. No one knew how to fill a house with the smell of good food better than my mother. 

My life has been spent in observation. It’s made me a better writer; noticing the nuances help to paint a better picture. The way Radio Shack tech smelled. The peculiar cool chill that used to fill the air on a July 4th night in northern Michigan while waiting for fireworks to light the sky. The way a friends’ face lights up when they see you arrive. The way people often move like ants in a busy downtown. The comforting sound of an airplane flying in the distance.

I also have, and do, observe things that make my heart ache. We all have. Some feel it deeper. But, we all feel it. My youth was filled with things I didn’t want to observe. Feelings I didn’t want to feel. Many of those things have taken decades to unwind. But also too, they’ve helped me to develop a part of myself, an emotional muscle that has allowed me to go deeper – even during the worst of it. When I think back to an alcoholic father, I could see solely what rested on the surface. Please know, the surface provided more than enough to absorb. But, with time, I’ve come to see the man behind those eyes. The one that only wanted peace. I loved that man. He was a good human.

My son is a cancer survivor. There were moments, the residual of which, I still feel to this day like the light stickiness of humidity on a hot day. But also too, I remember his first words after brain surgery. I remember how the high arch of his eyebrow when listening intently remained even when he had to practice walking again. I remember too, how the birds chirped outside the hospital even when I didn’t know if he would live.

Life is tricky. It’s filled with everything, always. The true dichotomy of human existence. The good, the bad and everything in between. I used to rail against God for having ushered onto my existence so much bad. When your world crumbles, it’s hard not to. And yet, once the dust settled, the Universe spoke – as it always does – and it was shown to me that there was something else for me to see. I can’t say I always liked what I had to see. I didn’t always understand what I had to see. But I knew enough to allow in a different interpretation. And within that, I found peace. 

On that note dear reader, I want to say, that it is my deepest hope and intent, that you find peace with whatever it is that you see. And if you don’t, if you can’t, give it time. Look away for awhile. Notice the butterfly. Notice the green. Sometimes Life speaks to us only when we stop looking at what’s in front of us.



There’s something magical about four leaf clovers. The finding of one. Knowing its a sign of luck. My lawn is covered with clovers, with their pretty three leaves standing tall. I was told that my aunt found a four leaf clover when she was young. I never forgot that. And over the years wondered if there was some truth behind the good fortune they bring as she sure seemed to be the one who landed a disproportionate amount compared to her only sibling, my father.

I, in all my fifty plus years, had never found a four leaf clover. I’ll be honest. I stopped looking. It was almost more deflating to look and not find one versus not to look at all. 

But my daughter shared something simple with me. And it completely changed my view of four leaf clovers. Well, I can’t say my view of clovers changed, but my view regarding finding them did.

Sometimes spiritual truths lurk in the most unexpected of places. Such as TikTok. Some wonderful soul shared with the world the fact that within the space of, oh a few feet, you’ll always find a four leaf clover. I wasn’t sure if such a thing could be true.

It was. 

Since then we’ve gone on to find numerous four leaf clovers, and occasionally a five leaf clover.  I now collect them and press them within the pages of a vintage book on word origins. Also too, I now linger in my lawn running my hand across the clovers, knowing I will find one with four leaves tucked somewhere. Sometimes in plain view. Sometimes hidden.

But they were there all along. I’m the one who expected otherwise. And I’m only certain of it now because I go into it knowing. I know I will find one. I venture out expecting it. And that is the spiritual truth that shapes much of our life – our expectation of it. I had to sigh at myself once I noticed the parallel. I will never stop learning. And for that I’m grateful. Sometimes, dear reader, I shake my head at myself. Its so easy to get caught within our stories, our certainties. And sadly, more often than not, they lean toward the negative. Which is a travesty and generally leads to a self fulfilled prophecy.

Most of us base our expectations based on our history. Historically I’ve never found a four leaf clover, therefore, I know it is nearly impossible. Or, historically if I linger long enough, I know I will find one. This is how we approach life, every day. This is often too, how we approach our future. 

Early on our expectations are formed by those around us. And of course, their life often unfolded according to their beliefs and expectations. It gets imbedded in us before we even know how to articulate what we are seeing; not to mention, understand it for what it is. Life equals expectations. Please know that this goes much deeper than just surface expectations. Sometimes the surface is only part of the picture. We need to understand our deeper beliefs. Our value, what we feel we are worth. It’s amazing how that will form our expectations as we move throughout our day.

I will end with these two simple truths. First, share what you learn. Had my daughter not shared that little video with me, I still would be holding a belief that, now, I’ve completely transformed. And two, expect good things. Know that everything is working out. It makes the natural ups and downs of life easier when you know that on a grander scale, everything is okay, and that better days are coming – perhaps hidden from view at the moment, but they are there and soon you’ll see them.