Perhaps you have this problem, too. Lots of different people living under one head (or in one).
I've been challenged to tell the story of how and what I do that ties it all together. This book, The Missing Alphabet, my teaching (here and there), art work (big and little), my work with Central American teachers...the occassional foray into designing kid's programs, training teachers at Big Thought in our New World Kids programs or volunteer work in pr for the upcoming SDA conference. (Whew!) What is the strand -- well, perhaps multifiliment cable is a better image -- that ties it all together?
At the core of what I do is a deep and well-grounded interest in the creative process, an interest, and profession, that has 50 years of history behind it. I was one of those lucky kids who found a creative path at a young age, nurtured by a very, at the time, radical children's theatre program. That was not only integrated racially, but integrated creatively. And this in Waco, Texas, go figure.
What those early experiences in inventing, presenting, working long hours, delving into personal and collaborative visions did was to give me a grounding in both the how and the what of creative work. As a result of that children's theatre I had experiences as a teen, young woman and young professional that took me from, at age 18, running a visiting children's program for 20,000 participants at HemisFair '68 to the Year of the Child with Erik and Joan Erickson (PS she was also a weaver) at the Smithsonian Institute, to a fulltime model school that won international accolades and a Ford Foundation designation of model educaitonal program, to the Kennedy Center for exhibit and program design, to Cleveland in the era of serious racial disharmony to teach in inner city neighborhoods, from there to Neiman-Marcus with window designs and products that showed up in the Christmas catalog. (again, whew) I am so grateful for such a rich and complicated creative path.
The new book for parents, The Missing Alphabet, is ONE summary of thaat informed inquiry that started when I was twelve and developed through that career in first in arts education, then in journalism, museum exhibit design, writing and art making. This book is what's come of my experiences and those of my co-authors (with similar and diverging paths) as written for parents who want their children to meet the challenge of 21st Century thinking and literacy sklls.
Other summaries have developed into courses I teach to adults, such as Creative Jumpstart, Finding Your Path as an Artist, and the Artist's Journey. But the philosophy and approach informs all of the workshops and retreats that I teach -- even those that are somewhat technique oriented. I always try to move beyond or below or above or inside of a technique or tool, teaching it as a means for someone to find as the ideal expression for her or his story. At the core of my teaching is a deep and abiding belief in the power of individual story and expression. I do firmly believe that each person on this earth has a unique, powerful and absolutely unrepeatable experience to express in some or another medium, be it art, science, music, research, homemaking, poetry or any other field you can come up with. And I make art myself because I am passionately drawn to figuring out what it is I have to say -- and, besides, how could I have any credibility in this world of wonderful artists I find myself in, if I didn't make my own statements?
I've had many ways to express my story and my creativity in my life, in my art, in my relationships, in my teaching, writing and designing. I love having the opportunity to open the doors for other's creative work though example and through nurturing connection and conversation. The personal values I have selected as guiding stars for the next stage of my creative life are: CREATIVITY, CONNECTION (CONVERSATION), ADVENTURE, IMAGINATION, and ALIGNMENT
Post Script: And speaking of conversation between the this and that of our lives, here is another wonderful piece from David Whyte: