Tracking Wonder with Tara Mohr: Your Other Names as a Creative
Tracking Wonder Conversations (TWC)
talks about creative momentum in work and life
As someone who thrives on creating day-in, day-out, you know that creative momentum requires more than “getting things done.” Along the way, you must make space for wonder as your ally. The Tracking Wonder Conversations aim to do just that. Join us for lively twists of talk each month as we speak with scientists, teachers, designers, coaches, musicians, entrepreneurs, writers, and others who flourish in their fields about topics that matter and questions that aren’t always easily answered.
Tracking Wonder with Tara Mohr:
Your Other Names as a Creative
In this premiere episode of Tracking Wonder Conversations, I speak with author Tara Mohr, an expert in well-being & women’s leadership, about the role of knowing thyself as a creative professional and creative practitioner.
Know what matters to you and what you want and how to go about getting it, and you should be able to create day-in, day-out the life and work you pine for. Right?
Umm…except one question: Who are you? The Greek Delphi adage “Know thyself” is not so easy to follow. At least according to psychologist and author of Stranger to Ourselves Timothy Wilson. In that tidy, seminal book, Wilson lays out a key tenet – that most of what shapes what we think is important to ourselves, how we act, and the life choices we make is, well, unconscious.
And how do you tap the unconscious? How do you know what’s unknown? Psychology offers one series of routes. But, as we’ll explore today, so does creativity and tracking wonder.
Tara and I discuss this topic in the context of reading and writing poetry whether you’re a poet or poet-lover or not, the importance of making “white space” in your life, the restrictions we creatives impose on our self-conceptions, and much, much more.
TARA SOPHIA MOHR is author of the women’s handbook “10 Rules for Brilliant Women” and the recently published poetry collection Your Other Names. She thrives on helping people lead authentic lives while thriving with compassion, conviction, and bigness. With an undergrad focus on Shakespeare studies and an MBA, she’s well-versed in drama on stage and in business – and how to handle the former with aplomb and grace. Some of her pet projects include the Playing Big global women’s leadership program and The Girl Effect Blogging Campaign, “through which hundreds of bloggers write about the importance of investing in girls’ education in the developing world” (that last detail cribbed from taramohr.com). You can stay in touch with Tara’s wisdom and thinking at The Huffington Post and at her blog at taramohr.com.
Tracking Wonder with Tara Mohr
[00:00] – Introductions
[2:24] – Your “other” identities can change the way you create and craft your life
[6:26] – How we creatives are each a member of larger families
[8:40] – Our “round table” of selves & alleviating stress and debilitating ego-talk
[10:33] – Creative activity engages us in more expansive identities
[12:17] – Poetic language versus heroic therapeutic language as a way to engage in authentic creative exploration
[17:00] – Tara reads “The Inner Whistling” from her book Your Other Names
[19:13] – Holding space for both your inner creative self and your public persona
[23:49] – Making white space for creative openness
[26:35] – How interactions with other people inform the creative process
[29:43] – How institutions have historically not supported women to engage in writing sacred poetry or in other creative activity (and how other segments of society – some of them male – likewise have not been encouraged to think divergently, expressively, or imaginatively)
[38:15] – Tara’s Playing Big Project
[40:42] – What tracking wonder means to Tara
[42:22] – Tara reads “The Art-Making Poem” – an instruction guide for tracking wonder (!)
DROP IN THE HUT:
How do you open up to your “other names”? How do you make room for “white space”? What do you think about our conversation regarding women, creativity, and institutional restrictions – especially in light of Meg Wolitzer’s essay The Second Shelf? Any questions for Tara?
See you in the woods,
I have a comment! Tara, that poem you read at the end, “Art-Making Poem,” contained a line that dragged a grateful sob out of me: “You are not making to be good. You are making because it is the great romance of your life.” I am in the middle of writing a story that may become a book (after years of writing poetry), and I constantly feel crippled by the fear that it isn’t good enough– despite the fact that I have several readers who say otherwise. The line from your poem is a tool that sets me free from that way of thinking. Thank you for reminding me of a very important truth.
Xan~I love that poem and that line, too. That “good-enough-ness” can be crippling, can’t it? Sometimes, it helps me to check in with that voice to see if it might be prodding me later to refine my writing and make the experience for readers better. In which case, I try to say something like, “Thanks, Heckler. I’ll get back with you later. Right now, I’m enjoying the drafting.”
I’ve forwarded your comment to Tara.
Good luck with your book. No easy task.
Jeffrey, would love to listen to this interview with Tara, but I can’t find the link for the recording. Is this archived somewhere on your site?