Pollinators: The Creative Process and Big Ideas

Pollinators spread pollen. The definition is “one that pollinates: as a: an agent (as an insect) that pollinates flowers b: POLLENIZER”

I am thinking of a metaphor of people in your life that help spread good things in your life. Do you have friends who cheer you on and encourage you when you try new things or go outside your comfort zone?

This photo is from my garden. We were headed out last Sunday to my in-laws our weekly Sunday dinner.  My husband and I both had bad colds and were feeling under the weather. He got in the front passenger seat after buckling in Ben into his car seat. I got in the driver’s side and saw this butterfly feeding on a Tiger Lilly in our garden. It was surreal. The butterfly was huge. I longed to have my longed to have my long-range camera, but only had my cell phone.  I told my husband I was going to take some photos.  He looked miserable and as a wife I thought, “Let’s just go and get to my in-laws.” But as an artist, “I thought you have now or never. I mean when are you going to have this chance again to photograph a butterfly feeding on tiger lilies in your own garden only a couple of feet away? Artist wins.

So, I got all up in this butterfly’s business and held my camera phone as close to it as possible.  I took several photos which are below.  I love the photo above. I did not edit it at all.


Bumblebee on a marigold in my tomatoe garden area,


Butterfly muse


More shots of butterfly






So, there you have the sequence of photos of the butterfly.  The funny thing is that I spooked the first photo in this sequence (the first image in this post) and it flew off and seemed to chase me. I scampered away.  A friend was surprised to see a comment that I was freaked out by the butterfly chasing me.  I had posted the photo on Facebook via Intsagram.  That butterfly was huge and I had totally got up all in its business. I would have been irked too. She was quietly sipping her nectar of the butterfly gods and I got all nosy. I would have been better off with my long-range camera. Anyway, I scampered around the yard running from a butterfly. I know, funny!

I watched the butterfly circle the garden after it spooked me back.  A butterfly does not have a direct path it seems when it flies. It goes in a non-linear motion and it made me think about my own creative process and how that process for most artists and creatives is non-linear.  The butterfly eventually made it back to the Tiger Lilly and continued drinking. We drove off and it enjoyed the beauty on its own terms.

What is your creative process?  I go from A to Q and then back to B and then loop over to T and swing back to H and hop over to Y while doing X,Y, Z.

Bumblebee on sunflower in my garden

Bumblebee on sunflower in my garden

Back to pollinators… really think about the friends and people who support your process and pollinate ideas by encouraging you and adding to them and also passing them on by sharing them with others. Nurture these relationships.  Drink the nectar they provide. The creative process is difficult and often done in isolation, but the pollinating is done with people who encourage and help you build that non-linear bridge that loops and droops and soars.

I would like to thank a friend who is a pollinator for me. She has never dismissed me and actively listens to my ideas no matter how “out there” they are. She is my pollinator. Thank you Sus. There are so many more pollinators in my life. And you know who you are and I thank you.

One more I would like to thank is Mike Shay.

Mike and Chris Shay and me in front of the Wyoming Arts Council in 2009

Mike and Chris Shay and me in front of the Wyoming Arts Council in 2009 in Cheyenne, WY

He works at the Wyoming Arts Council.  I walked into the Wyoming Arts Council more than 15 years ago with a crazy journal packed with signatures  and memorabilia popping out of the pages from travels and interactions with random people. The premise for The Original Journal  is I ask random people to sign my journal. I tell them there are three rules: 1. There is a Front Door (Rated PG-13) 2. There is a Back Door (Not Yet Rated) 3. There are nb rules. Then they write/draw/share whatever they want. All original signatures from original people with original thoughts. Here is a video I made of some of the signatures: http://animoto.com/play/AUZnc4F5a1d8Ja54pbG61Q.

This had been my “Big Idea” and eventually (I may be walking with a cane by the time it is published) it will be in bookstores as a gift book collection and journal series.  You can check out my blog for The Original Journal and learn all about it here. Mike pollinated this idea by just listening and encouraging me. It took me 15 years just to organize the idea into something concrete and tangible, but I did create a blog for it and a Facebook page. I also wrote a book proposal for it that went all the way to the acquisition stage at a major publisher. I am working on the book proposal and preparing a mock sample of the product. If you like Humans of New York, Post Secret, and/or The 1,000 Journal Project, you would dig The Original Journal. Will you sign the journal? Hope. Wish. Dream. Be. Journal Your Journey.

Cover of The New York Journal (Front Door cover). This journal was created in 1998

Cover of The New York Journal (Front Door cover). This journal was created in 1998

Mike pollinated and encouraged while I described The Original Journal.  And that moment, he helped pollinate this artists/writer/photographer.  This process turned into a great mentor/mentee relationship which resulted in fostered creativity and also I wrote over $20,000 in grants and successfully implemented them as a Language Arts/Special Education teacher at Attention Homes Residential Treatment and Crisis Center. Here is an interview I did with Bob Beck on Wyoming Public Radio about The Diverse Voices of Poetry,  (cue audio recording to 16:08 for my segment) which was a grant I wrote to bring professional Spoken Word poets to Wyoming.  It started with a Individual Professional Development grant I wrote to go to a Teachers & Writers Spoken Word training in New York City in 2004. That experience pollinated the idea of bringing Spoken Word to Wyoming. Which resulted in me being a presenter on Spoken Word in the classroom at the Wyoming School Improvement Conference.  And then I wrote a Wyoming Arts Council Grants to Organizations grant with a project value of $9,151 (The Diverse Voices of Poetry). Pollination!

Poetry Workshop

Article about "The Diverse Voices of Poetry in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, October 2005

I love the arts and all those who pollinate. Thank you.

PS — I am very concerned about the honey bees, but that is a post and conversation for a different time.  I do not like the fact that Monsato has recently bought out the leading bee research firm. I am not a fan of Monsato and of course that is a subject for a different time.

Bee on sunflower

Bee on sunflower


I am in the process of working on writing a blog post to catch everyone up to speed.  But honestly, the last week has been a whirlwind of creative connection, human connection, technology connection, and soul connection — and oh, how can I forget — writing connection.

I want to put some links here that will give you an idea of how connected we all are and also what I have been up to creatively.

1.  Talenthouse:  My photo, Brain Tumors, which is a photo of my mother in the hospital the day after she almost died.  The photo was taken last year in May.   The photo received over 1000 votes and they are still coming in.)  The support all over the world has been incredible.  Just click on the link, Brain Tumors and take a look around to see what’s going on over at Talenthouse.  I have met so many amazing artists through this website.  I really appreciate what Talenthouse is doing for artists and creatives.  What I really like about their website title is it reads: “Talenthouse – ALL CREATIVE.”  The winner will be announced March 15.  You better believe I will let you know!

No doubt about it - I am a right brained brainiac.

In a nutshell — I entered the photo, Brain Tumors in a creative invite at Talenthouse to work with Tiffany Shlain, who was honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century.”  “Tiffany Shlain is a filmmaker, founder of The Webby Awards, and co-founder of The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. A celebrated thinker and catalyst, Tiffany is known for her ability to illuminate complex ideas in culture, science, technology and life through her unique films and her dynamic talks and projects.”  Tiffany also recently did this film, Connected. She is beyond raderific!  She is also a mom.

2.  Attachment Parenting International:  I am a regular contributor to their online blog, API Speaks and magazine, The Attached Family.  API is a great international organization and I practice attachment parenting with my son, Benjamin.  My essay, Magic Mama, which honors and celebrates my mother’s legacy and giant spirit, is posted there right now.  This essay has been getting retweeted and has had an incredible amount of readers.  It actually got retweeted by Tiffany Shlain after I tweeted it to her and other organizations having to do with brain tumor support and information.  I am honored to share my mother with the world.  The essay was also linked to via this post, Motherhood is hard, with a pingback to my essay, Magic Mama, when Lara, the mom blogger said, “How on earth did our own moms make it all look so easy?”

Attachment Parenting is an international website, with over 20,000 fans on facebook.  That means 20,000 people, all over the world, potentially read this essay, which celebrates the beauty and dynamic of the mother-daughter relationship.  I also made arrangements with the director of the nursing home where my mother is at, to have someone read her Magic Mama.  This makes me happy.  I wrote this essay for my mom, so it is fitting she hear it.

3.  Mamalode: My essay, Take a Number, I Just Got to Town was published on Mamalode’s website last week.  This is also a magazine and website I am a regular contributor for.  I can’t tell you how much I adore this magazine.  It is a collection and community of honest, down-to-earth mamas, telling you how it really is, how they wish it were, and how sometimes it isn’t anything they even understand.  This magazine has subscribers in every state in the US and a presence internationally.   Check out their Spring issue, themed Flow, coming out this week.  You can subscribe via the link above.  This issue will feature an article by Kelle Hapton about writing her new book, Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected, which goes on sale April 3rd.  You can pre-order a book at her website.

So, how we are all so connected — by technology, by the human condition, by our hearts.  I have connected with an artist in the US and one in the Ukraine because we both lost our fathers; these connections were made on Talenthouse.  I will be writing about these connections later on this website (here at memomuse.wordpress.com). Right now, I am just trying to get out the basics so you all can be caught up to speed.  Anyway, there just feels like there is so much to tell you.  Like how someone I went to junior high with in Chicago, posted the Brain Tumors  link in his 20th high school reunion facebook feed.   Or how Tiffany Shlain retweeted my essay on Mamalode because I had tweeted it to her, as well as, to the American Brain Tumor Association.

How are you connected? How does it bring you joy?

Thank you for following my blog and reading this post.  Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.

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4. Wheat Thins Review: “What do The Colbert Report, Family Guy, a disbelieving twitterer, a hiker stuck under a rock, and Wheat Thins all have in common? They all are part of the new advertising launch of the new Wheat Thins made with 100% whole grain.”  I was asked by Grovery.com to write a review for Wheat Thins.  This is a great website with articles, reviews, information, coupons, and news of the grocery industry.  We all need to eat, so we all need to go to the grocery store.  Here is the link to the review.  It was fun to write and it is funny.  I promise you will laugh.  Really, I do.

Have a museful day!