Golden Heart Finalist – Elisa Beatty!

Elisa Beatty loves moving between contrary worlds: raised on the East Coast in a deeply “historic” Revolutionary-War-era town, she now lives on the West Coast, just north of uber-progressive Berkeley, California. Her parents were scientists, but she fell in love with the arts, especially theater and writing. She went on to do doctoral studies in literature, specializing in Shakespeare and gender studies, but is fascinated by popular fiction—her bookshelves have Dostoevsky, Donne, Woolf and Foucault rubbing shoulders with scads of romances.  An English teacher by trade, she spends whatever free time she can grab (including SUMMER!!) writing Regencies.

In addition to being a two-time Golden Heart finalist, she won the Historical category of the 2009 Golden Pen, and so far in 2010 has finaled in the Emily, Great Expectations, and Fab Five, with a double final in the Beau Monde’s Royal Ascot. You can learn more about her her website  and at the 2009 Golden Heart finalists’ website, The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood.  You can also friend her as Elisa Beatty on Facebook.

Elisa’s 2010 (and 2009) Golden Heart manuscript is A MOST IMPROPER GENTLEMAN, which finaled in the Regency category both years:

Octavia Hathawood’s too smart to fall for her own worst enemy. So why can’t she resist the improper advances of David Castleleigh, Earl of Atherton? The man’s vicious half-sisters drove Octavia’s family from the ton with gossip branding her late father a murderer. Now, with the Hathawoods facing the poorhouse, Octavia returns to London seeking decent marriage, only to find the earl apparently bent on convincing the ton she’s about to become his mistress.   

They engage in a battle of razor-sharp wits, and of surprisingly vulnerable hearts—and half the time Octavia’s not sure whether her pulse is hammering out of anger, fear, or anticipation of the next time David’s touch will turn her flesh to flame. Meanwhile, her father’s murderer reappears, and this time he’s got Octavia herself in his sights. Does Octavia dare believe David’s insistence he’s nothing like his sisters, and trust his claims he genuinely longs to cherish and protect her? Or—as she fears—is his seductive charm actually the most dangerous weapon leveled against her?

 And now a little about Elisa:

1)  How long have you been writing?
 I was babbling stories as a toddler, so learning to actually write down stories in first grade was the greatest thrill I could imagine—even though I was so physically uncoordinated no one could decode my messy handwriting before junior high. My brain is still constantly concocting stories, and I talk to characters in my head all the time, though I’ve finally learned how to keep my mouth shut when I do it. 

2) Did you always want to be an author or is this something you fell into later in life?
Well, I ALSO wanted to be a and an astronaut and an actor and (when I reached adulthood) a teacher, which is what I spend most of my professional time actually doing, but I’ve always, always needed to write. Back in college, I submitted a couple stories to The New Yorker, and got what I now recognize as extremely encouraging rejections. But it’s only been the past couple of years that I’ve gotten serious about pursuing publication. 

3) What do you do in your “other” life? (Day job, family, etc.)
 I’m the mother of two amazing kids: a daughter who’s almost twelve, and a son who’s about to turn six. My husband’s also a teacher and writer, and has serious artistic and musical talents too (ironically enough, his parents were science people, like mine), and the artistic streak seems to have been passed to our kids. We live in a creative hive: all of us writing or painting or making music or (in the case of the youngest) building elaborate space stations out of Lego. The dog thinks we’re completely nuts. 

4) Who are your favorite authors?
 How long a list do you want?  There are SO many, and I love them for so many different reasons. Shakespeare, of course, and Iris Murdoch, Nawal el Saadawi, Toni Morrison, J.K. Rowling, Patricia Gaffney, Georgette Heyer, the Brontës, Patrick O’Brien, Dorothy Dunnett, Milton, Virgil, Mary Balogh, Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran, Tony Kushner, Elizabeth Bishop, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, and Joanna Bourne.  I’ll stop there, or you’ll run out of blog space.

5)  Do you have an agent?
Not yet. I’ve decided to finish my second book before I move further on trying to sell my first. The second book, The Devil May Care, has been doing really well in contests this year, and has several agents and editors I’d love to work with waiting on the full. Now that summer’s here, I have ten glorious weeks to be a full-time writer (!!), so I should have Devil finished before Nationals, and the third book underway before school starts in September.

6)  Where do you see yourself in five years?
Well, I’ll have a few more finished books under my belt, and my goal is to have at least one three-book deal with a major New York publisher. I have multiple sequels in mind for both Improper Gentleman and Devil, and lots of other ideas clamoring for attention in my head. I’d love to be able to support myself writing, so I can give all these ideas the time and attention they need.

 And now, in Elisa’s own words…

The Creative Urge

Awhile ago, a new acquaintance told me, “I’m not a creative person. That’s just not something I have in me.” She shrugged, as if this were a trivial admission, along the lines of saying she didn’t care for asparagus, or had never been to Wisconsin.

I was struck dumb. Not a creative person? It was like she’d said, “I don’t breathe oxygen. That’s just not something I do.”

I assume humans are innately creative. Evolution demands it. How else could small, soft, clawless, fangless creatures survive and thrive? Something inside drives us to make new things where only raw materials existed before—mud huts, bows and arrows, fishing poles, leather shoes, venti non-fat mochas with whip cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon, stuff like that.

We invent, we imagine, we see things anew every day, or….we freeze to death, or get eaten by bears. Or at least get really bad caffeine-deprivation headaches.

Until a generation or two ago, our ancestors did some form of creative work almost every day: farming’s essentially creative, after all, as are weaving and sewing and knitting, and furniture-carving, and barn-building, and making cooking pots out of copper or clay.

Creativity’s in our DNA.

Or maybe not….

I’ve seen counter-evidence before. I’ve heard people say they have boring dreams (what an oxymoron!)—no sound, no texture, just flickers of black and white, replaying their day at the office, with, at most, a talking parrot in place of their boss.

And, in the classroom, lots of my students seem baffled by Aristotle’s definition of mimesis: the deep urge to create artistic “imitations” of our world. Invariably, I explain it by saying, “It’s that pressure you feel inside, when you see something happen, and you just have to, have to, have to write about it, or paint about it, or compose a song about it!” About a third of the kids nod eagerly, like that urge is a daily part of their lives, too. The rest look utterly blank.

Still, I can’t wrap my brain around the idea that some people (most people?) live without that creative urge. What must consciousness feel like for them?

We may live in a world where warmth and safety don’t depend on our creativity, where we get woven blankets and cooking pots with a swipe of the charge card at Target. But some of us still have to make things. Or…our brains will explode.

For me, the creative medium is language. Strand me on a deserted island, and I’ll be fine with eating scorpions and getting soaked by monsoons. But if I don’t get hold of some berry juice and a leaf I can write on, that’s when there’ll be trouble.

It doesn’t matter that every other responsibility in my life is screaming at me for attention. It doesn’t matter if I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks. It doesn’t matter if I walk around talking to myself like a crazy-old-cat-lady because some characters in my head are deep into dialogue, and that’s all I can hear. It doesn’t matter if no one else ever reads what I write. I have to do it.

And I suspect that’s just how it is for other writers.

On my writing desk, I have a coffee mug with these words from the painter Claude Monet: “Color is my day-long obsession, joy, and torment.”

Obsession, joy, and torment. Yup. That about sums it up for me.

What about you? Do you feel the creative urge? Where do you think it comes from? Does it bring you mostly joy, or mostly torment? Can you imagine your brain without it?

47 comments to “Golden Heart Finalist – Elisa Beatty!”

  1. Angi Morgan
    June 22nd, 2010 at 8:29 am · Link

    I can’t imagine living without the torment & joy. When the words are there at the tip of my fingertips: torment. And when I watch someone read what I’ve written and watch the facial expressions they make: pure joy. All the torment is worth getting these unfamilar words onto the page. Words that come from some part of my subconscious that I have no control over. I think it’s extremely cool. My husband thinks I’m wired weird.

  2. Lizbeth Selvig
    June 22nd, 2010 at 8:37 am · Link

    Hi Elisa!
    Wonderful post–you represent our genre (the writers’ world in general) with such obvious intelligence and humor. I love getting to know you better.

    I do feel the creative urge and, like you, I only have to worry that people will slowly creep up behind me with a comfy little straight jacket when I’m nodding and ‘mmmm-ing’ and responding to the dialogue in my head. My husband has stopped asking What? when I do it in the car. He’s learned to sigh (or laugh) and ask, “Who’s talking now?”

    I worry when ideas aren’t flooding my brain, which happens occasionally. I feel like I have the flu or something else is wrong. I definitely “take two pages and call my writer-friends in the morning.” Like you, I can’t imagine a life without the voices!

    Thanks, Elisa, great job–I can’t wait to meet you in Orlando.

  3. Lynda Bailey
    June 22nd, 2010 at 8:49 am · Link

    Hey Elisa~
    Great post! Ya, the creative urge – sometimes it’s joy, sometimes it’s torment. Ebb and flow. For me lately, it’s been nuthin’ but torment, though. Waiting for my creative “ebb” to end truly sucks.
    Well, gotta bet back to the torment. LOL!
    Can’t wait to toast you and all the other finalists in Orlando.

  4. Elisa Beatty
    June 22nd, 2010 at 8:57 am · Link

    Thanks for coming by, Angi, Lizbeth, and Lynda!! One of the very best things about getting to know the 2009 and 2010 GH finalists has been finding a group of people who TOTALLY understand the peculiar madness of having stories bursting in the brain and needing to write them down!!

    We’re all “wired weird”, I think…but I’m very glad we are!

  5. Autumn Jordon
    June 22nd, 2010 at 9:08 am · Link

    Upon my children viewing the new creation thier child has created with me, their grandmother, they said, “You’re just like Nana, mom.”

    My mother is a crafty person and while my kids hold their special moments with their Nana close to their hearts, they don’t seem to have the creative gene. I often wondered why? Or is it dormant? At the opportune time, will that gene sprout and they too will leave something behind for mankind to enjoy. I hope so.

    Great post. I think it’s so cool you and your hubby share so much.

  6. Cat Schield
    June 22nd, 2010 at 9:15 am · Link

    Great post Elisa! It amazes me too when people don’t have the burn to create things. Then I realize they’re creative in their own ways, remodeling, day dreaming, going shopping for the perfect outfit, teaching your dog tricks. All those things exercise the creative spirit.

    Writing isn’t my only creative outlet. In the past I’ve done needlework, sewn quilts and scrapbooked. But it’s the one thing I make time for.

    Enjoy your summer off. Looking forward to meeting you in Orlando.


  7. Elisa Beatty
    June 22nd, 2010 at 9:22 am · Link

    Hi Autumn and Cat! Thanks for stopping by!

    Definitely, the creative urge can drive us to lots besides writing. Kelly Fitzpatrick, I believe it was, did a post on crafts on the Ruby Slipper blog awhile ago, and all sorts of writers were coming out of the closet as mad quilters and knitters and stained-glass-window makers and any number of other wonderful things.

    My maternal ancestors include a lot of seamstresses…my grandmother always told me one of her earliest memories was sitting on the skirts of a wedding dress her mother was making and sewing horsehair lining onto the hem. My sister spent some years as a theatrical costume designer. Very creative work! Unfortunately, I lack the 3-dimensional visualing ability (not to mention the hand-eye coordination) to sew. I can barely manage Halloween costumes.

  8. Keli Gwyn
    June 22nd, 2010 at 9:42 am · Link

    Wonderful post, Elisa!

    I felt the urge to write since I could hold a pencil in my hands and form letters. However, I didn’t believe I was creative until later in life. I used to say that what I wrote read like an encyclopedia. Boring! And, sadly, I believed my negative self talk.

    Thankfully, many wonderful people through the years disagreed with me and offered much-needed and greatly appreciated encouragement. Four and a half years ago, I embraced my dream of writing romance, and a whole new world opened up. I realized I am creative–at least to some degree. If the joy I feel when I’m writing is any indication of creativity, than I’m not nearly as boring a writer as I used to believe.

  9. Bev Pettersen
    June 22nd, 2010 at 10:33 am · Link

    Loved your post, Elisa and congratulations on A Most Improper Gentleman. Sometimes I wish this “creative urge” would take a short vacation. I get so irritated when I lose my writing time–similar to a runner’s high, I guess.

  10. Kimberly MacCarron
    June 22nd, 2010 at 10:40 am · Link

    It’s always great to hear other relatively normal people talk to their characters (or speak their lines, at least) out loud. I end up doing a lot of that while driving, and every once in a while I forget that a couple of kids are in the car. Then I hear a whisper, “Who’s she talking to? You?” Then I start laughing.
    Regarding creative outlets….I have craft closets jammed with every crafting obsession that has come my way–rubber stamps and embossing powders to cross stitching and fabric paints. I’ve got it all. Unfortunately, I don’t keep with anything for long. That’s where the writing is different. I’ve always written. From diaries and children’s stories when I was younger to journals and other stories later. At least one obsession has remained with me!
    Your dog probably adores your family! I doubt if he thinks you’re all nuts. It’s great to have creativity in the family. I can’t stand when kids say, “I’m bored.” I just say only the boring are bored. Go read or write or paint or something!
    I look forward to meeting you in sunny Florida! See you
    Kimberly MacCarron
    GH finalist (YA)

    Kim MacCarron

  11. Elisa Beatty
    June 22nd, 2010 at 11:00 am · Link

    Hi, Keli, Bev, and Kimberly!

    Keli–I’m so glad you found validation for your creative side; you’ve clearly got one! I’m convinced joy-in-the-doing is a serious measure of talent!

    Bev: I hear you on the runner’s high thing! I get UNBEARABLY cranky if I have to go even a couple days without time to write.

    Kimberly: My kids are always asking me “What?” in the car when I’m in the midst of some internal dialogue with my characters… My daughter’s so sensitive, she’ll pick up on my facial expressions. When I was a kid, my dad used to ask me why I was so quiet in the car, and I was sort of baffled by the question; I wasn’t being quiet–things were very loud inside my head.

  12. Cynthia Justlin
    June 22nd, 2010 at 11:28 am · Link

    Elisa, I find it very interesting that in your family creativity stems from a science background. My degree is in the chemical sciences and yet I’ve also always been consumed with music (I play violin & sing) and creative writing. My boys are the same way: analytical on one hand and super creative on the other.

    Your GH book sounds fabulous, btw! 🙂

  13. Gillian Layne
    June 22nd, 2010 at 12:19 pm · Link

    Creativity keeps the world is glorious color, doesn’t it, even when the days are gray and dreary. Congratulations on your GH finals; I can’t wait to read your stories when they find their home. 🙂

  14. Elise Hayes
    June 22nd, 2010 at 12:20 pm · Link

    Loved the “back cover blurb” of your book, Elisa!

    Creativity: It’s funny–I don’t FEEL creative. I don’t have characters talking to each other in my head like some of the writers I know (hey, I’m a plot gal). But I love the feel of *crafting* a story–really trying to capture the thoughts, rhythm, and sound of a character’s voice, thinking about what shape a scene, a chapter, an act, a story should have. It doesn’t feel like creativity to me–it just feels like breathing 🙂

    Best of luck at Nationals with this second GH final!

  15. Elisa Beatty
    June 22nd, 2010 at 12:26 pm · Link

    Hi, Cynthia–thanks for being here!!

    Cynthia–in grad school (when I was trying to avoid letting literature completely take over my life) I deliberately arranged to share a house with grad students in the sciences–chemistry, volcanology, physics. And every single one of them was into music. Maybe it’s something about the combination of logic / order / curiosity that fuels both fields? They also tended to be into philosophy. My biochemist mother was a serious pianist, too. And my dad writes poems. The art/science dichotomy can be a false one. (Plus, I’ve LOVED every science class I’ve ever taken…I find it incredibly exciting to see how the world works, which isn’t so very different from finding it exciting to figure out a world for my characters.)

  16. Elisa Beatty
    June 22nd, 2010 at 12:29 pm · Link

    Thanks, Gillian and Elise, for stopping by!

    Gillian: Can’t wait to see you in Orlando! It’s been fun sharing the Regency category with you!

    Elise: I like the idea of the “feel” of crafting a story–sounds like carving a violin. (I love watching people who do that…that wonderful curvilinear shape, matched with incredible precision.)

  17. G. Jillian Stone
    June 22nd, 2010 at 1:17 pm · Link

    Those French Impressionists knew about creative joy/angst. Here’s more coffee cup fodder from Pierre-Auguste Renior: “La chanson este haute que la lutte.” The song is higher than the struggle.

    🙂 Jillian

  18. Elisa Beatty
    June 22nd, 2010 at 1:44 pm · Link

    Oooo, awesome quote, Jillian! Thanks for being here!

  19. Rita
    June 22nd, 2010 at 2:20 pm · Link

    OH! I will be hooting and hollering when you WIN that Golden Heart. Can’t wait.

  20. Erica O'Rourke
    June 22nd, 2010 at 2:35 pm · Link

    That blurb is fabulous, Elisa! I can’t wait to read the book — it sounds irresistible!

    I think most people have a creative urge, but many of them don’t feel it particularly strongly, or they don’t have the self-discipline/obsessive nature necessary to finish the project (says the girl with the obsessive nature). After all, how many people, when they learn you’re a writer, say, “Oh, I have a great idea for a book!” Approximately eight frillion, but only eight or so actually put pen to paper.

    You’re wise, though, to point out that creativity manifests itself in many ways. I may be creative enough to finish a book, but I’ve been on page eight of a scrapbook for the last four years, and we won’t discuss the 4-H sewing debacle of my youth…

  21. Sharon Lynn Fisher
    June 22nd, 2010 at 2:55 pm · Link

    Elisa, your posts are such a joy to read!

    Your topic brought to mind a few things I hadn’t thought of in years. I always think of myself as the only creative person (oddball) in my family. My brother’s an engineer, as was my father, and my mother was a college math teacher and later a developer. What I had forgotten somewhere along the way was that my brother has owned an electric guitar since he was a teenager. My mom took folk guitar lessons and sang in the church choir, and she made some of our clothes and Halloween costumes. My father restored old cars and built all kinds of useful things. Maybe I didn’t fall so far from the tree after all.

    So thank you for reviving those memories! Congratulations on your contest success, and can’t wait to meet up in Orlando!

  22. Gabrielle
    June 22nd, 2010 at 3:15 pm · Link

    Elisa, several things: 1. your book blurb rocks. 2. So happy for you that you have the summer off to create. 3. Yes, how *do* other people live? I liken it to people who are happy with where they live–I almost wish I was like that, because it must be so easy, instead of continually thinking about moving to another country. 4. Love the Monet quote, think I might just have to print that out. In color, of course 🙂

    The worst, worst, WORST thing to ever happen to me was being undiagnosed with Hashimoto’s thryoiditis. Forget the joint pains, the fatigue, the brain fog, the hair falling out, etc, etc–I just couldn’t create, I couldn’t think of how to do it. For the first time in my life, instead of having too many manuscript ideas vying for attention, I had none. I sat there and cried because I thought I wouldn’t write again. And then I was diagnosed and started on meds and it all came back. I’ve never been so joyous to be so tormented 😉

    Best of luck for the GH and beyond!

  23. Elisa Beatty
    June 22nd, 2010 at 3:18 pm · Link

    Hi, Rita–LOVE YOU!!!

  24. Elisa Beatty
    June 22nd, 2010 at 3:20 pm · Link

    Hi, Erica! So glad you like the blurb!!

    And, yes, you’re right–the perseverance part is critical. I used to teach creative writing at a college full of serious wannabe writers, and so many were more than talented enough to go on to publish….but very few stuck with it. They just *stopped* writing…and went on to become lawyers and doctors and other perfectly excellent things, but not writers.

    Somewhere recently I saw someone’s advice about getting published: “You need talent, luck, and perseverance, but if you have perseverance, you only need one of the first two.”

  25. Elisa Beatty
    June 22nd, 2010 at 3:23 pm · Link

    Hi, Sharon! (madly waving)

    Thanks for being here! And I’m glad the post reminded you of how creative your family really is…. (Most of my ancestors who weren’t seamstresses were farmers–I have the gardening gene in a serious way, and I’ve come to learn that, however, “unartistic” farming sounds, there’s nothing more creative than coaxing vibrant life from seeds and dirt.)

  26. Elisa Beatty
    June 22nd, 2010 at 3:24 pm · Link

    Hi, Gabrielle– Squee! Glad you like the book blurb.

    And no kidding on the Hashimoto’s!! Me too, and about half my relatives on my mom’s side. I spent a long stretch of grad school wondering where all my energy went…. It was AWFUL. Glad you got diagnosed and got your energy back!

  27. Jamie Michele
    June 22nd, 2010 at 3:45 pm · Link

    “Obsession, joy, and torment”

    Hear, hear. Elisa, I appreciate your cerebral approach to romance writing, and look forward to seeing your work on paper someday soon.

  28. Liz Talley
    June 22nd, 2010 at 4:35 pm · Link

    Loved the interview and though I’ve put my Regencies away for another day, I really, REALLY love those historical. I loved the blurb and though I’ve read it before, reading it again made me want to have that book in my hands. Hurry up, New York. Jeez. Readers want Elisa Beatty books!

  29. Elisa Beatty
    June 22nd, 2010 at 4:37 pm · Link

    “cerebral approach to romance writing”….LOL!

    See, it’s actually another one of those “embracing contraries” things….I’m totally intuitive / emotional as a writer, and am TRYING to learn to be a little more of a thoughtful, organized “plotter.” That’s hard for me.

  30. Elisa Beatty
    June 22nd, 2010 at 4:39 pm · Link

    Hi, Liz! Thanks for the visit!

    “Readers want Elisa Beatty books”…from your lips to God’s ears, my dear. (Or Avon’s ears. Or Berkley’s. Or Ballantine’s. Might help if I started sending the darn thing out. Just wait: book #2 is nearly done!!)

  31. Heather Snow
    June 22nd, 2010 at 9:15 pm · Link

    Hi Elisa,

    Lovely post. I would say that my left brain can suppress the creative urge for quite some time, but eventually it surfaces. When I look back at my younger years, it seems I was much more comfortable with my creative side. But maybe it’s like a muscle…the more I use it, the stronger it will become.

  32. Elisa Beatty
    June 22nd, 2010 at 9:19 pm · Link

    Hi, Heather….I think of it like an old-fashioned water-pump…if you don’t use it, nada. But once you get started…pure flow.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  33. Vanessa Barneveld
    June 23rd, 2010 at 1:08 am · Link

    Hello, my Unsinkable Ruby sister! It’s only just a matter of time before you make those three-book deals come true.

    I don’t know where my creative urge comes from. All I know is that it keeps me entertained.

  34. Jane Sevier
    June 23rd, 2010 at 6:21 am · Link

    Elisa! You got actual personal rejections from The New Yorker? That is a coup, girl! No wonder you’re a two-time GH finalist with agents and editors scrambling after your WIP. Brava!

    Isn’t Sherry Thomas amazing?

    I’ve always had a powerful creative urge and have told stories since toddlerhood, too. If I’m not writing or doing something creative, I’m deeply unhappy. It’s as necessary as breathing for me.

    Where does it come from? Well, I’m from a long, long line of Southern storytellers, so I figure it’s in my blood. My father was famous for his stories, my sister is also a writer, and my brother is the author of a book about chemical litigation (which must have taken enormous creativity to get through).

    Whatever the dog thinks, life at your house sounds like a blast!

  35. Gwynlyn MacKenzie
    June 23rd, 2010 at 10:06 am · Link

    I have often told my hubby that there is a reason necessity is the MOTHER of invention; Fathers always require the proper tools! 😉

    I believe creativity, just like any other part of the human experience, needs to be exercised to flourish. In a world of instant everything, video games, and stores for everything, the creative “muscle” has taken a hit. I near cried when our local Wal-Mart took out the fabric and sewing section (the fabric stores themselves were already defunct!) because I enjoyed designing costumes and such for our Ren Faire outings.

    Bring back the big boxes, I say. Crayons for every child. Stop doing everything for them. Let them exercise that creative muscle as children are meant to do. They are the future of the arts as well as of everything else. Yes, it helps to have the “proper tools,” but when those tools aren’t available, having a strong creative muscle can always get the job done!

  36. Elisa Beatty
    June 23rd, 2010 at 11:10 am · Link

    Hi, Vanessa– I love the idea that we’re Unsinkable Rubies!!!
    Thanks for being here!

  37. Elisa Beatty
    June 23rd, 2010 at 11:13 am · Link

    Hi, Jane–

    Thanks for stopping by! Yes, I think Sherry Thomas’s voice is incredibly fresh and exciting, and finding her led me to Meredith Duran (they share a blog). If you like Sherry, check out Meredith–her debut, Lord of Shadows, is very moving, and the writing’s GORGEOUS.

    Oh, and yeah–those New Yorker rejections….they even said “we’d love to see more of your work! Please send other stories!” And I was too young and green and dumb to have any clue that that was something special.

  38. Elisa Beatty
    June 23rd, 2010 at 11:15 am · Link

    Hi, Gwynlyn…. YES YES YES on the big cardboard boxes…some of my fondest childhood memories are of building cities out of those, and battering the heck out of them from playing in them so long. In the end, we took the fragments and used them as grass-sleds to ride down hills. WAY better than plastic toys.

    Cheers to you, one of the most inherently creative people I know!

  39. B. A. Binns
    June 23rd, 2010 at 11:59 am · Link

    I think people are more creative than they realize – just witness anyone after a traffic stop explain why they shouldn’t get a ticket, or a student explain why they didn’t get their homework done. Too many people think of creativity as a hunk of inspiration descending from on high, and don’t realize that to make something real, they need to take those small flights of fancy and work hard to turn them into something big and strong.

    Congratualtions on doing just that.

  40. Darynda Jones
    June 23rd, 2010 at 1:12 pm · Link

    Great post, Elisa!!!

    I once read an article where the writer said, “If you ever got in trouble in school for daydreaming, chances are, you’re a writer.” And I was like, “Wow!!! I was ALWAYS in trouble for daydreaming! And I want to be a writer! What a coincidence.”

    I agree with some of the other commenters. I think we are more creative than we know, just in very different ways. I can’t NOT write stories, but my husband thinks in terms of chords on his guitar. So he’s definitely stranger than I am. 🙂

  41. Jane Sevier
    June 23rd, 2010 at 4:24 pm · Link

    Meredith Duran is good, Elisa. I read Bound By Your Touch, and it was fabulous. Gorgeous writing, indeed! Had it in my head that BBYT was her debut, but I’ll have to check out the other.

    Sent anything to The New Yorker lately?

  42. Elisa Beatty
    June 24th, 2010 at 8:25 am · Link

    Hi, Barbara and Darynda!

    I definitely agree that people are more creative than they know. Every time I’ve helped out in one of my kids’ elementary school classrooms, it’s a crack-up watching how much all the parent volunteers love working with the paper and scissors and paste.

    They do a fundraiser each year where you can “buy” a couple square feet of the playground blacktop and do chalk drawings…. the adults are always having as much fun as the kids.

  43. Elisa Beatty
    June 24th, 2010 at 8:25 am · Link

    Hi, again, Jane– Oh, DEFINITELY pick up Duke of Shadows!!!!!!

  44. Darynda Jones
    June 24th, 2010 at 8:33 am · Link

    LOL, Elisa! I just spent a year in kindergarten, and you are so right. Not to mention, they get rather competitive. *giggle*

  45. Leigh Stites w/a Elisabeth Burke
    June 25th, 2010 at 6:53 pm · Link

    I’ve always believed that everyone is blessed with some kind of creative spark–no matter how deeply they bury it. If we’re made in the image of the Great Creator, how can we NOT be creative?

    When I was first rediscovering my dream of writing novels, I worked through a great book (The Artist’s Journey by Julie Cameron), which really helped me break up a logjam in my head that was blocking my creativity. Once I’d gotten the river flowing, it’s been at flood stage ever since. Don’t let anyone tell you they can’t be creative. It’s in there, they just have to find it.

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