Tag Archives: music

What Makes Your Life Extraordinary?

What Makes Your Life Extraordinary?

In Dead Poet’s Society, Mr Keating takes the boys to the hallway to see the photos of past students and whispers the immortal lines, “Carpe diem. Seize the days, boys. Makes your lives extraordinary.”

A current television commercial runs the slogan, “Escape ordinary.”

What makes a life extraordinary?

People buy into this idea of your life having to be a Broadway extravaganza or a Hollywood blockbuster ALL. THE. TIME.

We are presented with hyper-idealised notions of reality. Do life BIGGER, BETTER, FASTER, LOUDER, MORE DEMONSTRATIVE, IN YOUR FACE and (dare I use it because I hate the acronym) YOLO! It’s perfectly captured in the Selfie Generation: LOOK AT ME, I’M IMPORTANT AND I DESERVE YOUR ATTENTION.

It is the wrong perspective.*adjusts cardigan and puts on slippers*

What’s wrong with ordinary? Ordinary is where I live and find my inspiration. I joke my life is coloured beige for boring, making my life extra ordinary.

For the creative person, extraordinary is a way to burn out because it demands you give out so much more of yourself than is returning to you.

“The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long.”

For me as a writer, the greatest stories are not the ones we see in films, the lives of movie stars, but in the embarrassing ordinariness of people doing things in their every day lives that benefits others. The ones who don’t see their work as anything important; they are filling a need, taking care of their community, advocating for the poor and disadvantaged. Living an extraordinary life is one lived in service of others and pursing your own dreams. Balancing the self with the care of others. Telling their story is an extraordinary privilege.

I like to think of the word as “extra-ordinary.” The one thing that defines the ordinary from the extraordinary is passion. Mr Keating exhorted his young charges to engage with the aspects of life that they were passionate about.

For the creative person, the passion manifests itself in the choice of medium whether it’s writing, art or music.

As it relates to creativity, to continually produce great art, to live an extra ordinary life, requires repetition, ritual and reflection.


Not once, not twice, not even thrice but continually and habitually. Continue to produce art: write regularly; sketch, doodle, scribble whenever possible; practice scale and rudiments.

Repetition can become staid and uninspiring so it requires a dedication and committed work ethic to maintain your focus on being creative.

Early efforts will be complete and utter rubbish. But that’s the point of repetition: you do it until you get better.


Setting aside an assigned time to work on your creative project is like attending church or settling onto the couch to watch your favourite television show or sport team compete. Like repetition, it is a repeated event but the goal is one of individual development.

Ritual provides structure and is an active reminder to develop a disciplined approach to our creativity.


Movement without reflection will only end up with you moving in a circular fashion, only ever returning to the starting point without having learned or progressed.

Every once in a while it is important to reflect on your goals, your progress in terms of work produced and skills developed. Are you improving? Has anything weakened? What else do you need to know?

Creativity makes your life extraordinary because you have embraced repetition, ritual and reflection. You are taking the ordinariness of life and giving it meaning through creating great art.

This makes you extraordinary.

Addendum: This morning in the shower (place of many great epiphanies along with the kitchen sink while washing up) I had another idea to add. It was the one thing that makes a life extraordinary: Relationship.

Without relationship, we are merely individuals without community and connection. In relationship with other creative people we make our lives extraordinary because we have companionship, connection and community. We are no longer alone. This is fundamental in making our lives extraordinary.

A Creative Person Teaches People to Listen

Dame Evelyn Glennie is an extraordinary percussionist and gave this insightful TED talk in 2003 (I only came across it recently) in Monterey, California. And she has a beautiful Scottish lilt in her voice.

It has been sitting in the back of my head, slowly composting. As a writer and a drummer, I wanted to find the connection between music and writing, to apply the principles of music to that of writing and creativity, and what it takes for a creative person to teach others to listen.

It’s a long presentation (just over half an hour) so here is the TL;DR version of highlights I picked out.

Evelyn Glennie – How to Truly Listen

One of the first comments she makes is that her job as a musician is all about listening. It is foundational. And it is the same for the writer and the creative person. We listen to stories, to the world around us to inspire and teach us. To teach to listen is to teach people to translate the meaning from their heads and hearts.

I see it as having two parts. The first part is listening as a creative person, listening to the world around you in order that you can create. The second part is the listening by the audience and receivers of your work. We have control over the first part, but not the second.

As a creative person a translation is reading the given text as it is, without adding your own personality to it. It is the technical aspect of reading a piece of music, a novel, a piece of art or film. It is absorbed as data, fact, neutral information.

Evelyn points out that the literal translation of the music will only take you so far. It requires an interpretation.

For a creative person to interpret we assimilate the raw data and begin to synthesise it through the lens of our values and beliefs, gender, perspectives to create. We assimilate and synthesise through listening. Listening to ourselves.

But how do we listen?

Evelyn is profoundly deaf, and has written about her deafness. She says, “I hear it thr0ugh my ears. And through my hands, feet, stomach, cheeks, every part of my body. Listening through the walls; listening far more broadly than simply the ears.”

She goes on to ask the audience, “When you clap, what do you use? Just your hands? How about your body, the floor, thighs, jewellery? Experimentation = improvisation.”

It is about learning how to listen with a different set of “ears.”

As a percussionist, Evelyn uses a range of different sticks. They produce different sound colours. It depends on the weight of the stick, the type of head (rubber, woollen, wooden) and produce different sound colours. They are the tools to allow her to interpret the music and can be likened to our own likes, dislikes, personality, temperament, culture.

As the percussionist uses drumsticks as a tool, what tools do we use to produce our art? How do we use them? To what effect?

Performing a piece on the glockenspiel, Evelyn points out the resonators beneath the instrument. Their purpose is to amplify the sound made. She comments that we are all connected to sound and become a participator in the sound. What the eye sees, sound is happening, being imagined. We are all participators of sound. When we listen, listen carefully, we become the resonators and participators.

As writers or creative people we listen to be able to say something through our creativity. To create a piece of art where the reader and participator experiences the whole of the sound, in the entirety of the journey from the breath to the striking or plucking of the instrument to make sound; in the reading of a novel, watching of a film, appreciating a piece of art.

A creative person teaches someone to listen. First they listen to the text they are reading before it is internalised and filtered. Then they can hear what we are saying through our art.

Communion Of Silence – Micropoetry

The briefest of silences
In the collective inhalation
Before the guitars conduct
A communion of celestial
cheers and whistles

Post It Note Philosophy #14


At the heart of creativity is the belief in the power of the story, the image, the music to transform, to develop understanding and to be understood.

Creativity and Disability – Will You Listen?

Pick your label:

Downs Syndrome.

Asperger’s Syndrome.


Cerebral palsy.







All of the above.

Any I may have missed?

When used in relation to people with a disability we use distinctions and nomenclature to quantify who someone is, something other than “normal.”

To pacify our guilt and discomfort at a person’s lack of physical or intellectual ability we offer art and music as a remedial activity. It is put forward as a pastime to keep someone occupied, a way of staving off boredom.

Why do we relegate arts and creativity as a remedial activity; as something to amuse or fill in time?

To do so is to mute the voice of those who have none and to disempower the individual. 

When a person with a physical, mental or intellectual disability is given the opportunity to speak in another voice, they are empowered.

Creativity (art, music, literature) is a voice for those who do not have one.

Don’t dis my ability. Not disabled.

Differently abled.

We disempower them because we refuse to listen to their voice; we believe they have nothing of value to say. We are sanctimonious and privileged in our opinion that a person with a disability cannot be creative.

I believe in the power of creativity to tell your story, using your own voice, your own expression, your own understanding and your own perception of the world.

When we relegate creativity to a remedial activity, a pastime to occupy and amuse, we diminish the role of the creative arts and silence the voice of the individual.

Creativity is a voice with which to speak. Voices with unique timbre and quality, even if the words are not easy to understand.

Hear my voice regardless of how I speak. Don’t view me as disabled or look at me through my disability; listen to what I have to say. 

Yet sometimes, art and creativity is the only voice with which someone has to speak.

We ostracise the artistic rather than balancing it against the academic and logical, the scientific and practical. Even in these areas there is great creativity.

Can we help tell their story? Give them the skills and techniques to create their own works of art? I believe in the dignity of the humanity of each person and it should be respected. 

Allow each person to find their voice. Give each person permission to speak.

We must move beyond treating people with a physical, intellectual or mental disability as incapable of having a voice.

The ad promoting the London Paralympics Games in 2012 gives me goose bumps every time because it is a powerful statement of voice. You can watch it here.

Art, like sport, is transcendent of language. The coded symbolism is independent of the alpha-numeric symbolism of codified spoken and written language. Culture and knowledge informs the construction of the work of art; we may not speak English or French or Spanish or Mandarin or Afrikaans but we understand the message coded in the art.

When we speak with and through art, we use a commonality of language that gives voice. When I look at and appreciate a piece of art, I do not need to know the background of the artist, their ability or disability. I hear their voice in their work. Knowledge of their background enhances and brings clarity of understanding to their message, but it is not essential.

There are many great organizations giving voice to people with disabilities. One of them is Studio ARTES  (They are also on Facebook) – a facility for people with a range of physical and intellectual disabilities, for life skills training, art training and socialization. It has been something I’ve encountered for many years because my mother was one of the founding members. She was working as an occupational therapist at a school for students with specific needs and her creative partner, Wendy, was the art teacher. Their vision was to extend the opportunities for people with specific needs post school.

I have seen the power of art when people are given a voice to express themselves. Lars was a young man with an intellectual disability who gained a remarkable voice through the nurturing of his artistic talent. His art was bought by members of parliament and hung in the foyers of well-known companies. He had a droll, dry wit and was a remarkable talent. 

On the occasion of his passing, Member of Parliament, Judy Hopwood, had this to say. Hansart Transcript 

You can see retrospective collection of some of his works on Facebook

Besides painting at Studio ARTES, many are involved in the practice of Saori weaving (‘sa’ = difference; ‘ori’ = weaving), a Japanese art form that has come to represent the ability of all to be creative without preconceived notions of correctness.

The beginnings of Saori start with Misao Jo who wove a cloth but because of a missing warp thread it was perceived as flawed. Undeterred, she wove more cloths with ‘flaws’ and ‘faults’ and produced beautiful cloths, praised by a high-end cloth merchant. Read about the philosophy of Saori here.

When teaching her students, Misao taught them the basics of weaving and left them to do as they pleased; an opportunity to discover their true self. My mother has had the pleasure of meeting Misao Jo on occasions when she has visited Japan.

Hence the application for people with disabilities is inexhaustible because there are no preconceived rules and boundaries; it is the individual who creates. Carmel, a client of Studio ARTES, is deaf and blind and spends hours at the loom using the texture of wools, twigs, feathers, ribbons etc to create beautiful works of art.

It removes the pretence of ‘correct’ and gives power to speak.

When will we let go of the idea that people with disabilities have no need to be creative? To let go of the notion that they cannot be creative? That art and music is only remedial and a pastime to stave off boredom? When will we allow them to speak with their own voice instead of presuming we know how to speak for them?

We must stop treating creative arts as a sidelined respite and return it to the centre of our cultural heritage alongside mathematics, science and the humanities. Creativity inhabits the spectrum of cognitive disciplines; it is not the domain of one and nor is it limited to those considered “normal.”

If you are without a voice, borrow someone else’s until you find your own.

I want to spend some more time amongst the people of Studio ARTES, to hear their stories, to be their hands to write when they cannot and project their story when and where I can. There is a beautiful lack of inhibition in many of the people who attend the studio, and a great deal of candor; they will tell you how they feel, direct and to the point. It’s a voice I want to hear more of.

I know that we won’t truly learn to love our neighbour as ourselves if we do not hear their story. Not for the sake of pity or sympathy, but for the dignity of the individual.

I have written before that everyone needs a creative manifesto, a reason why they create. I have also spoken about creating from a place of pain (and it has relevance to people with mental illness like depression or anxiety or bipolar) and I believe it is appropriate for a person with a physical or intellectual disability to have the same belief in their creativity.

I had a couple of responses when I put the idea of creativity and disability out there on Facebook one day.

Writer Marc Nash (@21stCscribe), put forward this point, “The people who can’t speak for themselves or can’t be heard, are unlikely to be able to read the words of those who want to help amplify them. That is an inherently political act of writing, which is how I regard my own approach, but it still is one based on certain privileges: – literacy, education, technology (e-readers) and the free time to write. These I find are paradoxes as much as inspirations.”

It is a paradox and a dichotomy but I want to stand for those who are marginalised and to help speak for them.

Two others commented:

“I had never given it a thought until a heard an interview on Radio National a fortnight ago with a burlesque teacher who was given the privilege of teaching a young woman with Down syndrome. At first I thought it sounded exploitative, but it gave the young woman so much joy and made her feel like a regular woman.” 

“A friend of ours has a son with Down Syndrome who has been a regular at our local Uniting Care. They have really done wonderful things with him (and others apparently), introducing him to art (painting, sculpture etc) and music. He has since taken to painting like a duck to water (even selling some of them through his parents business) and has recently taken up music lessons. Uniting Care need to be commended for both developing a sense of worth for this boy but also for their commitment to more than just paint-by-numbers in their approach.”

Tangential Question: what other avenues do the disempowered and marginalised have for speaking? Rap? Hip hop? Graffiti? Heavy metal? Poetry? Painting? Sculpture? Photography?

Are we listening to the marginalised and disempowered?


Let me hear your voice without words.

Let me hear your voice through the images you paint.

Let me hear your voice through the music you play.

Let me hear your voice through your hands, your heart, your mind.

Speak, and I will listen.



Eat Your Heroes

After my post on Tuesday, Is Comparison Killing Your Creativity? a good friend of mine, Deane, sent me a lengthy response.

I have his permission to reproduce it here because it dovetails nicely with Tuesday’s post.

Deane has been a creative inspiration to me, even before I applied myself to writing, music and teaching. He’s the kind of guy whose artistic vision and creative endeavours leaves you slavering for more. When he talks about the things he wants to do, intends to do, gets around to doing, you want to go there with him and see it all happen.

Tuesday’s post dealt with the danger of comparing yourself to others and how it kills your creativity. Deane discusses the effect of slavish devotion and imitation of your creative heroes. And it comes with a warning. 

Eat Your Heroes


Even the most ardent and individual creator needs input to learn, excel and eventually dominate their field. We all want to be like the giants of our chosen art form, and we read their books, blogs and imbibe their art as part of the process of learning to bring our own endeavours to life.

I recently read the first chapter of a book created by a personal inspiration: photographer Gregory Heisler. The book delves more into the mind-set rather than the technical approach of a man who has shot more than 70 Time Magazine covers.

I have wanted to expand my photography. I have one light. I have one short lens. The only thing smaller would be a body cap with a hole drilled in it as a pinhole camera. I usually have 5 minutes or less to craft a portrait that is intended for a wall sized print.

But in the first few pages, the master suggests that he too wished that he had more than 5 minutes to take a picture. He emoted his desire to just travel with one light. His description of the need to keep a certain distance (not to close, not to far) suggested I had the perfect lens.

I was looking for the magic beans, the formula. Perhaps, dare I utter the words, a reproducible technique?

Heisler said in a recent interview, “You can learn a technique, but the first time you get in a situation where it doesn’t work, you’re done.”

As artists, we look up to the pantheon of heroes who have gone before us. Prize winners. Gallery wall limpets. Best sellers. Icons of cool.

We wonder if we need to have the same tools. Perhaps a Moleskine, or a Mont Blanc. An original Les Paul or a Steinway. Leica or Hasselblad.

When we grow up, or at least reach the understanding some tools are too expensive for mere noob mortals, we try and ape technique.

Portraiture is based on trust.

Everyone who has every written about Mr Heisler mentions how he gains the trust of his subjects – forging a quick but mutually respectful relationship. To him, trust outweighs any equipment, because his photos depend on a connection with the person (not merely a talking meat puppet) he is engaged with.

That’s who I need to become in order to approach that level of work in my field. That’s character, not technique. You don’t learn character in an ‘Idiot’s Guide to Legendary Artistic Achievement.’

I am all for learning the basics – and certainly practicing till your fingers or your neighbour’s ears bleed. But art is not a mechanical achievement. The mechanics are necessary, but they don’t put words in your head, a song in your heart or an image in your eye.

You must learn the heart of those who have gone before you. You must partake of their motives, their emotion and their reason. This is why you must choose your inspirations carefully.

Better to choose Christopher Nolan (Inception) than Lloyd Kauffman (The Toxic Avenger).

When selecting a role model, look at who they are – because that’s the direction your life is headed for at least the next few months or years. It’s who they are, their character, that truly informs their art.

This means you are free to be inspired by many people outside the narrow confines of your niche or genre. You can revel in the creativity of a wide range of very original individuals – and you (and your speciality) will be richer for it.

You are what you eat – and you will consume your role models. You will forage the interwebs for every morsel from their mouths and every project they every let loose in the public domain.

When you are ready to learn from a master, take a good long look at who they are and ask yourself: would I put that in my mouth?

Deane Patterson is a portrait photographer and sometimes composer and filmmaker living in rural New Zealand.

Visit him at http://itellstories.co.nz/

Find his work on flickr and National Geographic Your Shot.

Creating Community and Collaborative Creativity

Creating Community and Collaborative Creativity

Making my own music is ALL about self-expression. Working on other people’s is all about the privilege of helping realise their visionSteve Lawson (@solobasssteve)

Music, like literature, art, film, photography and dance, any other creative medium or form, are aspects of self-expression. As a writer, I use words as my vehicle for self-expression to create stories. I use words to create imagery, atmosphere and stories to create emotional responses in the reader.

Literature, music and dance are the foundational aspects of community; an integral voice of culture and community as representative of a society. It celebrates, connects, questions, makes political statements, raises philosophical debate, criticises and praises.

Without community we are isolated individuals trapped by the artificial boundaries surrounding ourselves. Literature, music and dance create a cultural identity and shared awareness of each other.

“Here we are now, entertain us.”

When did the creative arts become an entertainment rather than a shared community experience?

I postulate we’ve made art, music and literature an entertainment. In doing so, we have made creativity a product, a brand, an identity. Survey the popular artists and look at the products they are flogging apart from their music: perfume, clothing, jewellery, personal hygiene products. It’s hard to see a writer being asked to endorse a product, as if the writer him/herself is a brand and an identity to market.

Music has become a spectacle and an entertainment, dividing the artist from the audience. You go to a pub, a coffee shop, an opera house, and you go to see someone perform for you. You are transferred into the world of the performer as they create it for you.

There are transcendental moments of euphoria, a shared connection with the musicians or performer on stage. I’ve been to gigs where the excitement and passion are almost palpable, but I know I am there to be entertained. I have no personal connection with the artist nor the audience. We share physical space, unknown to one another except in shared connection with the music we are listening to.

I like music, literature and art as entertainment but I want to explore the community aspect of the creative arts. Artists have collaborated and supported one another for millennia. Ultimately I see creativity (literature, music and the arts) as a shared community and communication. Creativity takes on a stronger voice when we combine as a group of people to create, to share, to communicate.

Creativity as entertainment is passive. Creativity as a communication is active and engaging.

The Dichotomy of Audience and Community

What if we changed the perspective and stopped talking about an audience for our work, whether it’s literature or music or art, and talked about community instead?

When we speak of an audience, we are speaking of one-way communication from the artist to the receiver.

When we speak of a community, we enter into a dialogue. Our voice becomes stronger when there are many to spread the message.

Our stories, our music, our dance, our art; this is the voice we have to communicate our message.

By having the artist/audience dichotomy we have weakened our voice to communicate our message.

Creating Community

In the age of digital connection and hyper connectivity, the link between artist and community is ever present and easy to do.

Amanda Palmer’s (@amandapalmer) TED Talk, “The Art of Asking” is a brilliant explanation of her art. It’s worth your time to watch and engage with her vision.

Here is a summary of her vision as I see it and its relationship to creating community in the creative arts.

Art is metaphorically, and sometimes literally, falling into your audience and trusting one another. It is an act of asking because through the act of asking, you make a connection and when you connect, people want to help you. But asking makes you vulnerable and you have to have trust in your tribe (or your community). Give and receive freely. Ask without shame. Musicians and artists (and writers) are part of the community; they are connectors and openers. Celebrity is being loved from a distance instead of being loved up close.

This is what I want from my art, my writing: the direct connection with the reader so that we create a community. In my last post, “What Will Be Your Creative Legacy?”, I spoke about what I will leave behind. I’m not worried about my words; I’m worried about my community. It’s about direct connection with people and creating a moment of contact, a moment of prolonged contact in order to build trust and build a community.

How Do You Create Community? You Ask.

In the last few years the rise of crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding has caused debate in and out of the creative community, but I see it has benefit for musicians and artists like film makers, more so than for writers. Think kickstarter, pozible or indiegogo or something similar. These platforms are generating the community aspect to creativity.

Here are a few examples that I know of where creative people have asked for help:

Australian-based metal outfit, Twelve Foot Ninja (@twelvefootninja) had a comic written for the release of their album, Silent Machine and had the largest and most successful crowd-funding campaign for their new video clip because they had engaged their community.

Helen Perris (@helenperris) was recently able to attract enough funding to record her new EP. One of the contributors was rewarded with time in the studio with Helen and try her hand at backing vocals.

It’s about creating community and connection, rewarding contributors and engaging in meaningful conversations. If you’re an artist, offer the reward to create art and liner notes or design work (cut them in for a share or a fee – I’m all for the artist being paid.) Some may choose to volunteer their time or efforts, but there is also a place for paid contributors.

Other Ways To Create Community?

What if we made venues conducive to community? What if coffee shops, cafes, art galleries and libraries made it a point of creating community between musician, artist, writer and their clients?

Create spaces for creative communities by moving into cafes and coffee shops, parks and houses for art groups or writers groups (I know they already exist but let’s broaden the horizon), perform music in the form of house concerts (Steve Lawson is big proponent of house concerts) and have literature groups meet in art galleries.

Let’s learn from the DIY aesthetic and bring the crowd right up to the band and share in the dialogue and discussion.

One of my favourite bands, Sydney-based post-rock band Dumbsaint, make short films to accompany their post-rock instrumental songs. Both music and films stand alone and the experience of watching the film and the band perform live is fantastic. Check out their new song, The Auteur.

With my current penchant for post-rock (instrumental music) in the likes of sleepmakeswaves (@sleepmakeswaves), Meniscus (@Meniscusmusic) (representing my home town) I’d like to write short narratives based on the titles of their songs to appear on the CD liner notes or on the band’s website. I haven’t asked the bands yet but what if you could engage with the artist in a creative collaboration?

I first came across this idea when reading the liner notes to King’s X album “Gretchen Goes to Nebraska.” You can read it here.

What about collaborating with a band to create a short film or video clip or a visual background for one of their songs? Offer to create visuals for their flyers, website, album artwork. Ask. Ask a writer if you could design a book cover. Ask a dancer if you could write a piece of music for them as the inspiration for new choreography.

It’s about connection (and fandom; can I get a fan “squee”?) and extending the focus outwards, not inwards.

As a writer, collaboration is a great way of helping someone realise his/her vision. The epistolary serial I co-wrote with Jodi Cleghorn, Post Marked: Piper’s Reach, was a way of realising Jodi’s vision for a new writing adventure. We are now at the editing stage, turning it into a novel and pursuing publication options.

The vision we hold for our own creative and artistic endeavours is our self-expression, our goal and purpose.

Yet, it is better to give than to receive.

To help foster and create community and assist others in realising their artistic vision is a remarkable privilege. By creating a positive and encouraging artistic community we enrich our lives.


Be involved.

Create community.

Car Park Symphony

Car Park Symphony

Friday Flash

Opus 39


He pulled into the car park as dusk gathered her skirts and rustled them like autumn leaves around the gutters and across the playground.

First Movement

With the keys removed from the ignition the radio ceased its duet with the engine. The keys jingled quietly until muted in his palm.

Second Movement

The staccato squeak of swings and the arpeggio laughter of two toddlers formed the opening prelude as he walked to the boot of the car.

Third Movement

In the open the boot he rigged a music stand, attached a light and pegged down the music before opening the case and taking out his violin.

Fourth Movement

Cradling the violin under his chin he plucked the strings to tune midst an abrasive chorus of screeching lorikeets roosting.

Fifth Movement

He rested the bow against the strings, pausing to listen to the sounds surrounding him. A smile formed on his lips as he added his own song.

Sixth Movement

His song finished as the orange and red blended into velvet blue. The lorikeets were silent and the swings had ceased their metronomic pulse.

Seventh Movement

The toddlers stood hand-in-hand, eyes focused on the violin. He bowed and they ran back to their mothers. The music echoed in their footsteps.

The Power of Creativity to Tell Your Story

The Power of Creativity to Tell Your Story

“What’s your story, boy?”

“I haven’t got a story.”

“Everyone’s got a story.”

The Saint of Fort Washington


I believe everyone has a story.

I believe everyone needs to tell their story.

Why tell stories?

Stories help you make sense of the world.

Stories help you imagine the possibilities.

Stories help you map the path you’ve forged or taken or destroyed.

Stories help you understand and question your own humanity.

Stories help you celebrate the good events of life.

Stories help you learn from the dumb mistakes you’ve made.

Stories help you question humanity when they do dumb things.

Stories help you to have courage, overcome fear and pursue goals.

Your story gives someone the knowledge that they are not alone in their experience.

What is your story?

When I meet you for the first time, I ask for your name.

I am asking for more than nomenclature. I am asking for the identity and meaning of who you are.

I am asking, “What is your story?”

Everyone’s story is valuable and interesting.

The collected snapshots on your phone are specific, potted memories that make for an opening conversation about who you are.

The chain around your neck is symbolic of your story.

The tattoo on your shoulder has a story behind it too.

Tell me who you are.

Tell me how you see the world.

You do not have to tell me the minute details of your life; I want to understand how you see and perceive the world.

How do you tell your story?

I choose to use words. But I will not be writing a memoir or autobiography.

I will write stories because they tell you how I see and perceive the world.

You may choose some other symbolic visual representation.

Your story can be represented:

  • linguistically (story, memoir, diary, poetry)
  • visually (photographs, film and video, painting, sculpture, art and craft)
  • verbally (song, performance poetry, recorded oral history, speeches)
  • physically (dance, theatre)

But it is your story. You choose the message. You choose the medium.

Your story doesn’t have to be a public document. It may simply be recorded in a journal for you and you alone.

You can choose to blog your story, give it away for others to read and learn from.


Find your voice to tell your story.

How you tell your story is up to you.

Everything Is Interesting

Everything Is Interesting

For the creative person, everything is interesting.


Every thing.

Every natural wonder, every man-made phenomenon, every moment of human interaction no matter how small or insignificant or significant or world-changing or spontaneous or planned or tragic or brutal, every design or act of chaos is a fascinating study of “Why?”

Every thing is the spark for an opportunity to create.

Every surface is a medium for the intended message.

Every person is a character study for a writer: facial response to sucking a lemon; every mannerism, action, the way the old man eats cake with a knife and fork in a cafe; the way a girl rummages through her backpack; the way pigeons scatter when a child runs through them.

Every sound is a potential sample for a musician: the rattle of a stick down a fence; the clack of a typewriter hammer; the echo in a public toilet, the note of a truck’s horn in traffic; the tempo of the indicator light in the car.

Every colour and shade is an inspiration for a painter: the tomato sauce squeezed from a sachet; the blue of a new born’s eyes; the chocolate smeared face of a toddler; the crisp whiteness of a piece of paper; the triple stripe colour of toothpaste.

Every smell is an olfactory repository for the chef contemplating new flavour combinations: barbequed sausages and onions; the tang of salt on hot chips and the bizarre smell of the pitch-like viscosity of Vegemite.

Every touch is a tangible representation of sensory interaction: the cold metal of a handrail in winter; the stubbly roughness of a three-day growth; the warm sticky flakiness of a freshly cooked cinnamon doughnut.

The mundane is interesting because it allows time to reflect and rejuvenate.

The boring is interesting because it allows your mind and body to rest and let the subconscious sift through the noise of the day.

The spectacular is interesting because we get to see the ingenuity of humanity’s thinking and the testing of the limits of physical, mental and emotional endurance.

And it spurs us, pricks the sides of our intellect, pushes us to create, to stretch our boundaries and create.

For the creative person, every thing is interesting.