Favorite Five Friday: Habits that Stir My Imagination

It’s easy to be inspired, motivated, “on fire” when you first launch a project. When the glow of excitement fades though, you need to fall back on your habits to keep you moving in the direction of reaching your goal and completing your masterpiece. Here are a few habits I rely on to keep my imagination factory pumping and propelling me forward.

Favorite Five Friday Habits that Stir My Imagination

“Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going”–Jim Rohn

What habits do you rely on to stir your imagination? Please share! When I wrote #5 on my list, I was thinking of many of you who often inspire me by the way you view the world. 

Fear, Loathing and Photography: A Mad Journey into the Heart of Hunter S. Thompson

Portrait of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson at his home in Woody Creek, CO ©Jeffrey Aaronson 1990

Behind the Scenes: It’s late January 1990 and Jeffrey Aaronson is photographing on assignment in Aspen, Colorado for Town & Country. The magazine is doing a major feature about the shakers and movers of this tiny mountain resort as well as the many bigwigs and socialites who flock there during the winter.

Editor, Anne Hearst, has flown in from New York to conduct interviews and coordinate several of the photo shoots. Her list includes everyone from billionaire David Koch to socialite Teran Davis to celebrities like Jill St. John and Robert Wagner.

“Gonzo journalist” Hunter S. Thompson is also on Anne’s list, which amuses Jeffrey since Thompson has always prided himself on being a counter culture icon–the complete opposite of everything the magazine represents. He’s skeptical Thompson will even agree to be photographed.

Midway into this grueling weeklong assignment, Jeffrey is beat. He’s been on the go since the crack of dawn once again—this time photographing models on snowmobiles in Aspen’s early morning light, in ten-degree weather, no less. Knowing he has another full day ahead of him, he turns in around 11:00 pm, only to be ripped out of his REM sleep an hour later. It’s Anne.

“Hunter Thompson just called and said we can do the shoot right now.”

Jeffrey groans, “You’re kidding, right? What time is it?”

“A little after midnight. Sorry…he said he’s just waking up.” Continue reading

Popping the Cork for Cork

Photo of Cork MillnerIn Memoriam
Cork Millner 1931-2013

Cork Millner, my writing mentor, whom many of you know I adored, passed away recently. I say “my” writing mentor because I felt a close connection to him, but clearly he was not just mine. His memorial service earlier this week was a testament to that.

Dozens of friends, family members, colleagues and former writing students all came to pay tribute to him.

Cork touched each of us in different ways, but it was clear we all shared one thing in common: gratitude for having had him in our lives.

The day of Cork’s memorial service couldn’t have been more spectacular. The sun arose with aplomb, casting a blaze of color across Santa Barbara’s morning sky, perfectly symbolizing the richness Cork added to our lives with his charm and colorful personality.

Sunrise over Santa Barbara on the day of Cork's Memorial

As we gathered for his service inside the cemetery’s intimate chapel, we were wrapped in Celtic harp music, then reminded by Reverend Miriam Lindbeck, Cork’s lovely, long-time friend and former writing student, of all the things we loved about Cork.

He was “old school stoic,” strong and private, yet sensitive and open. He loved fine wine, fine cars and fine writing. He was charming and dapper, and appreciative of humor–especially his own, which was wry and occasionally acerbic. He was confident, hard-working and fiercely proud of his family and his military service, which included 850 aircraft carrier landings.

Photos of Cork Millner's memorial

And then, of course, there was his name. Continue reading

Favorite Five Friday: Quotes about Creativity

As the magic of autumn begins sending its creative sparks through the air, I can think of no better time to share some of my favorite quotes about creativity.

Favorite Five Friday Quotes about Creativity

What are your favorite quotes or ideas about creativity? Leave your comment in the comment box. I’d love to hear from you! Happy Friday everybody!

Positively Counteracting the Ninnies in Washington

This morning I was so filled with disgust about the toddlers running our government that I was ready to write a rant like no other. But then I stopped before I even got started, deciding that my writing tantrum would be akin to their childish behavior. And there’s nothing more absurd than grown, thinking people carrying on like two-year olds when they don’t get their way.

I also decided that I didn’t want to waste another ounce of my precious energy on all this negativity. So off went CNN. Away went every browser blasting headlines about the shutdown. And up went my blog.

Hello awesome peeps!

I decided the best way to counteract these ninnies in Washington is to surround myself with positive, creative, motivated people like YOU.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m mad as hell like everybody else, and feel our elected officials are an embarrassment to our nation right now, but I can see beyond these self-absorbed nitwits to our extraordinary country, which is brimming with smart, caring, talented and creative people.

So what do you think? Instead of giving our so-called “leaders” any more of our attention as they puff and spout and lay on the floor kicking their arms and legs, what do you say we tune them out and DWELL IN POSITIVITY? As in… Continue reading

Inspiration in a Time Capsule

The other day my friend Sarah sent me a fun link about a lost time capsule recently found in Aspen by the crew of National Geographic Channel’s Diggers. The capsule was from the 1983 Aspen International Design Conference and it contained a bit of tech history–Steve Jobs’ mouse from his first LISA computer, along with an eight-track recording of The Moody Blues, a Sears Roebuck catalog, the June 1983 issue of Vogue, a Rubik’s Cube and a six-pack of beer.

Photo of time capsule from the 1983 Aspen International Design Conference

Credit National Geographic Channel

When I read the story, I chuckled out loud and thought, Only in Aspen, as a wave of nostalgia washed over me about the town my husband, Jeffrey Aaronson, and I called home for so many years.

It also reminded me just how much I love time capsules.

In fact, every New Year’s Eve I put my family through the same exercise—creating a written time capsule in which we list all our favorite things and most interesting moments from the year, along with epic world and national events. We often include photos and a few mementos that capture the spirit of our year. Then, so we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we unceremoniously bury it in the junk drawer.

I have to admit, I’ve already unearthed a couple time capsules from five or six years ago, and even in that short time, they already feel historic and full of whimsy. The best part is that I know I never would have remembered some of the things we documented, had we not written them down at the time.

Drawing of the Pearl Chase HouseTime capsules come in all forms—some of the most interesting ones are unintended, arriving out of necessity or happenstance. Being lovers of old houses, Jeffrey and I have bought and sold and renovated several historic Victorians, a Craftsman and even a barn. During those renovations we’ve almost always found interesting items stuffed in the walls—things like newspapers from the 1880s, used as insulation, or historic tools or tidbits buried beneath the foundation. Each time those discoveries  have made us stop and linger, thinking about previous owners and bygone eras.

In some ways being a writer is like creating small time capsules for others to discover, and hopefully enjoy and reflect upon.  Continue reading

I Cannot Tell a Lie and Other Modern Day BS

My mom often said, “If you always tell the truth you’ll never have to worry about your memory.” Or was that Mark Twain? I can’t remember.

That’s because I am fast becoming a big fat liar with a mud-clogged memory.

Photo of the flu vaccineHere’s a perfect example…yesterday my husband and I went to Rite Aid to get flu shots. In order to receive our vaccinations we each had to fill out a two-page form. It was standard stuff like name, address, birthdate, email, allergies, yadda, yadda.

My defenses suddenly went up at the sight of this questionnaire though. Why does Rite Aid need to know my birthday and phone number and where I live? So without thinking too hard, I wrote in mostly fake information—a long ago disconnected fax number for my phone number, a PO Box with the wrong zip code, a fake birthday. My husband did the same, as he always does with stuff like this. The difference is that he’s memorized all his fake info. I wing it every time.

This time I got caught. Continue reading

Happy 95th Birthday Nelson Mandela!

Photo of Nelson MandelaThere are no candles bright enough to match the light you have added to our world.

Thank you for dedicating your life to others and transforming muddy caverns of darkness into bright fountains of hope and understanding.

Thank you for demonstrating that anything is possible when one has enough courage and perseverance.

Thank you for proving that humanity will always do the right thing—eventually—if reminded that there is room for everyone in this world.

Thank you for exemplifying compassion, courage, integrity and fortitude, and demonstrating that one person can make a difference.

Most of all, thank you for showing us that there is always hope.

Photo of Nelson Mandela for President South Africa 1994

On Mandela Day, the day we celebrate you, it is a privilege to give back to my community in your honor.

I encourage others to take part in this celebration too, by doing 67 minutes of community service for the 67 years Nelson Mandela spent fighting for the rights of humanity.

If you need a few ideas on ways to make a difference, click here to see 67 ideas.

Nelson Mandela Day Poster

 Happy Birthday, Madiba! We salute you.

Love and Cookies-The Winning Entry

Congratulations to Laura Bergerson for her winning entry in the Mother’s Day 7-word mini-essay contest. Here’s what she wrote about her fabulous mom, Charlotte Eckart:

Mom: source of love, hugs, and cookies!

Portrait of Laura Bergerson and Charlotte Eckart

Aren’t they adorable?

Thanks to everyone who entered and shared their thoughts about their mothers. Your essays were all terrific, making it extremely difficult to choose a winner. Somehow the cookies said it all.

Share Your Seven-Word Essay about Your Mom

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful, hard-working mamas of the world! In honor of this special day, I’m hosting a seven-word essay contest. What seven words best describe your mom?  Leave your “mini essay” in the comment box below and share what is/was unique about your mother. Humor is welcome! The winner will have his or her essay posted on my blog along with a photo of you and your mom.

Photo of Mom Green, Becky and Olivia

Here’s mine: Loving, supportive character with fabulous funny bone.