My garden is an enormous blank canvas that I get to paint on every spring. I surround myself with color, texture and fragrance. I fill the spaces with flowers that lure the birds, butterflies, and all sorts of critters. A small waterfall splashes in this personal oasis. Whatever I put into it, I get back.
Food. I love to eat it. I also love cooking it, arranging it and: farmer’s markets, spices, cookbooks, packaging and labels, plates, platters and bowls.
Travel. Especially on a bicycle. Travel fuels imagination, ideas and understanding. My mind becomes a sponge, open and absorbent. Everything feels fresh and new and I want to know more.
I carry a tension between seeing the detailed parts of a structure and the impact of the whole thing, between tiny macro photographs and huge wide angle panoramas. Whether I’m listening to one voice or a large crowd, hearing a few words or following a long story arc, I love seeing how it all fits together – the individual and the community, single moments and sweeps of history. Maybe it’s from growing up in Colorado, where there is so much huge geological time etched by so many drops of water one after the other – humbling and empowering all at once.
Whether I am hiking, birding, canoeing, kayaking or camping, I am happiest when I am enveloped by the natural world. Yellowstone National Park in the fall, when the elk return from the high country and the rutting bulls are bugling, may be my favorite place on Earth. I am also a voracious reader and patron of the live arts. At their core, the best novels, plays and songs are all different forms of storytelling — a strong sense of narrative that, hopefully, permeates every story I write.
I love experiencing people’s creative passion. It goes way beyond whether I “like” what I see or hear as I am grateful to be invited into the artist’s energy. I benefit from the shared experience and leave with wider eyes. I am also endlessly inspired by the creative re-use of the “stuff” we accumulate and then trash. I delight in age-old crazy quilts and the stories they reveal with their design mash-ups of textile scraps and handwork. In my hands, a ladderback trash-picked chair became a mosaic table for my daughter. What could we learn from that broken chair and what memories will my daughter make with that table? I am truly inspired by collaborative conversation and creative problem solving. With a tweak here and an “aha” there, the process of moving an idea into reality is invigorating and – dare I say it – fun.