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Cynthia Morris Interview : Page 3 of 4

Artist, Writer & Creativity Coach Cynthia Morris

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Q: Your Journey Blessings and Creative Fortunes are such an ingenious idea — portable inspiration! How did you come to create these beautiful little messages? What is my Creative Fortune for today?

A: Thanks — I think they're fun, I had the idea for creative fortunes early last year and immediately made up a bunch of packets. But when I showed them to people, I got limp feedback, which was discouraging. So I just included them as a bonus when people bought my book.

The Journey Blessings were part of the whole Journey Juju inspiration. I thought it would be cool for travelers to spread good juju by leaving these places. A packet is included when you buy a shrine. I'm giving them to people I meet as my business card.

Both of these are fun ways to play with inspiration and creativity, and I have to say that they have also worked to boost my spirits when I need a boost.

Your Creative Fortune for the day: Your imagination is like money in the bank.

Q: The Travel Shrines you have created are a beautiful way to combine spiritual and creative work. Could you explain how to make one, for our readers who may want to try this project?

A: I want to encourage others to make shrines for travel and life. Some great shrines could be devoted to: writers, artists, test taking (filled with A's and gold stars!), gardening…basically you can make a shrine for any endeavor that can use some good juju.

You can use any kind of box — a matchbox, a small tin, anything that is portable and small. Then think about what is important to you when you travel and fill the box with your special talismans. I glued a map on the matchboxes first, then affixed other images that evoke distant lands. You can put a magic number on the shrine, sign it, stamp it…the possibilities are endless.

There's a post on my Journey Juju blog that explains how to make your Shrine more personal. It offers a fun way to play with your travel shrine.

Q: What inspired you to create Travel Shrines?

A: One day last year I was over at my good friend Carl's and I saw a shrine that I had made for his birthday. It had a match in it, a candle, and a couple of other fun things. I loved it! (It's such a rare and awesome thing when you love something that you create!)

Having seen that, when I got the idea to move abroad, I thought of the shrines and the whole thing mushroomed from there. I plan to make shrines from the road, bigger shrines that embody the essence of a place and my relationship with it at that moment in time.

Twenty percent of the proceeds from the Shrines were lent to Dorothy Siaw, a woman in Ghana who is participating in the microlending program. It was great to see some good juju go to someone in need.

Q: Can you discuss the spiritual or sacred aspect of creative work in your life?

A: This is difficult for me. I find discussing the sacred is difficult — how do you put the ineffable into words? I guess the only thing I can say is that when I am creating, I am in touch with something outside myself. It's a relief to relinquish control, planning, and thinking in service of creating. It's soothing. It's a gift. Ideas come. I implement them. It's this essence of creating that I want for everyone. I think it's available to us all, this timeless creative space, and it frustrates me when we prefer to struggle and fight it.

I'm constantly asking myself why I want to create. I don't think I need to do this. I think creating is a primal urge, a birthright for all of us. I get lost when I try to think about it too much! So I'll leave it at that. Except to say that Frederick Franck's book, Art As a Way really resonated with me as a great way to think about art as a spiritual practice.

Q: Your book, "Create Your Writer's Life: A Guide to Writing with Joy and Ease", seems different than other resources and books about writing that I have seen. I love the fact that you offer insight into what it takes to commit to the life of a writer, as well as to create a writing practice that is sustainable, workable, and uniquely designed to suit the individual's needs. Can you discuss some of the reasons you decided to write this book?

A: Thank you for noticing that it is different than other books on how to write. I agree, which is why I wanted to write it. I am a trained and certified coach; I use a specific set of skills and tools when working with my clients. I found that using these tools was a very effective way to get writers on track.

Common wisdom says one must write a book to become known, and I wanted to have a way to share what I kept telling clients. Now I can just direct clients to certain chapters for homework. I feel that this book helps people to personalize their writing practice and go beyond the notion that there is one right way to do it.

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