Creativity Talks: Pamela Viola

In January, I announced a new feature of my blog: Creativity Talks, short interviews with creative people about what drives them to create, how they work, what advice they might give us, and whatever else comes up…
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Pamela Viola is a photographer and mixed media artist who lives in Old Town Alexandria, not far from me. I met her about 14 years ago, in creative writing classes at Duke University, in North Carolina. I recently reconnected with her.
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About Face

faces

I’ve been doing test runs with different personas over the last 48-years, looking for aspects of identity I might use. I’ve built internal stories and altered my appearance to help me adapt to new places and people. Despite all the changing around, though, I’ve never wondered WHO I am. Every one of the personas, even those appearing only in a photograph, has been an expression of me. As the late Oliver Sachs said, “We have, each of us, a life-story, an inner narrative — whose continuity, whose sense, is our lives. It might be said that each of us constructs and lives, a “narrative,” and that this narrative is us, our identities.”
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Forget the Name of What You Are Seeing

5-waterlilies-claude-monet.I’m not wild about Monet’s art. But I am wild about what he had to say about seeing, producing, creating. He, an art master of great renown, expressed so perfectly that with which I have been unsuccessfully flailing about. Namely, the importance of SEEING. Not just looking at things, not just naming them and moving on, but slowing down, actually removing yourself from thinking, and seeing what you are looking at. Continue reading “Forget the Name of What You Are Seeing”

Prayers for the Earth

EarthDay.2Since 1970, and the first celebration of our planet, Earth Day has been an important day for me. I set aside time that day to meditate on my relationship with the Earth. And I inevitably feel enormous gratitude for being sustained by this planet in body, mind and soul. Not just sustained, however, but inspired to create, to respect and protect the environment and all life. Continue reading “Prayers for the Earth”

Finding Light in Times of Darkness

(From my 2016 Holiday Letter…)
2016 was not a good year.
It was not kind to the health and well-being of some of those near and very dear to me. Then, on November 8th, America–not the America I thought I knew–elected a mercurial, bullying, racist lunatic, and I—along with many other like-minded citizens—fell into a trough of helplessness, depression, confusion and powerlessness.

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