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


"Follow your heart and you will never fail." - Stacey @ Moonstruck from "The Original Journal Project."

“Follow your heart and you will never fail.” – Stacey @ Moonstruck from “The Original Journal Project.”


Carry love in your heart; you will have a lighter load. ~ memomuse

Carry love in your heart; you will have a lighter load. ~ memomuse

You are perfect.

You are perfect.


Megan Oteri © All Rights Reserved memomuse.wordpress.comHope. Wish. Dream. Be.

Megan Oteri © All Rights Reserved memomuse.wordpress.com
Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.


Grace -- from the Original Journal Projectwww.theoriginaljournal.wordpress.com

Grace — from the Original Journal Project

Kahlil Gibran on Love

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Source: http://www.katsandogz.com/onlove.html



I saw this photo on Facebook today.  And that made me think of ee cummings’ poem, “I Carry Your Heart With Me.”  It really is powerful when you believe in your dreams and weed out negativity.  I have been working on this.  And I have also been praying about it.

“Would you carry all your mistakes, regrets and failures in a bag and take the bag with you where ever you go? Most people would say no. Then why carry them forever in your mind. Many of us carry a lot of unnecessary baggage with us everyday. What happened yesterday is gone forever. New days should bring new adventures. Everyday should be explored to its fullest.
Have a great day and remember to spread the message of positive thought with those that you meet. Carry in your mind, all the goodness and value you bring forth into into people’s lives.”
~Lessons Learned In Life

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Carry love in your heart; you will have a lighter load.

Anyway, I wanted to share it with you.  And feel free to comment about what your hopes, wishes, and dreams are.  Hope. Wish. Dream. Be. © – memomuse

Maybe by just writing them down, you can start the magic.  “If you build it they will come.” – Field of Dreams

By the way, I have been to Field of Dreams in Iowa.  I traveled cross-country with some friends after college, and we stopped there.

And I’d like to share my favorite Walt Whitman quote, “Be curious, not judgmental.”  Walt was a fine man, who followed his heart, which is at the center of the Attachment Parenting philosophy — following your instincts to love and nurture your child.

“Follow your heart and you can never fail.” – Stacey @ Moonstruck

Really, it’s an ancient thing.  Dr. Sears did not invent it, he just coined the term.

That’s my two cents on that!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  I will be posting a special post about Memorial Day.  My father was a Marine, who fought and survived one of the worst battles in Marine Corps history: Inchon.  He was a member of the Frozen Chosen.  I miss the heck out of my marine.  He passed away in 2003.  I am proud to be his daughter.  When I watched the documentary, Chosin, about this horrific war, it broke my heart to know my father went through this.  It was so cold — their eyeballs froze.  It’s in the documentary. 

Temperatures dipped to frigid levels and a veteran recalled a “mind-numbing” cold so intense that the troops’ eyeballs would freeze until they put their hands up to warm them. “It was 30-below zero,” Wiedhahn said. “You lived in 30-below temperature, all the time.” – Quoted from Military Connection article.

Megan Oteri © All Rights Reserved

Another interesting article about frostbite and skin cancer — the Korean War and frostbite.  My father had 70% frostbite in his legs.  He fought really hard to get disability for this too.  I remember how all the paperwork stressed him out.  He was a right brained person like me.  And yes, he had skin cancer.

Needless to say, I cried while I watched it.  He never talked about the war.  I wrote this essay about my dad and how he found peace in gardening.  He had a poet’s heart.  He taught me to marvel at nature and to be curious, not judgmental.  He taught me honor and respect.  In the video below — the first line one of the Frozen Chosen men says, “Freedom is not free.”  The website is http://www.frozenchosin.com/.

This photo was in the patio garden my mom and dad created.  That’s my marine.  I love you Dad!  Happy Memorial Day.  My father is buried at Arlington Cemetery.

This is a photo of my father, while he served in the Marines, during the Korean War. He is what some refer to as, a member of the “Frozen Chosen.”

In the documentary, Chosin

This is what my dad wrote in my journal.

“Keep up courage and hope.” – Dad 

What’s in your heart today?  I carry my father in my heart.  I carry courage and hope.  What do you carry in your heart?