Cecilia Santos [cecesgr8]
How and why did you begin to be creative?
Born that way. I used to make dolls for my sister, wrote on the walls of our house with crayons when a kid. In fact, my mom used to say, "You are so creative" so often, I started to wonder if she was using it as a substitute for, "You are annoying the crap out of me. Stop trying to recycle, stop drawing on walls and leave my sewing supplies alone."
Your mind is your work tool. How do you take care of it?
Reading, reading, reading. Reading different books, different genres, everything and anything on the Internet, newspapers, articles, everything and anything. Also, I like to write and play suduko. Yoga is also good, as well as long dog walk and getting enough sleep. Oh! gardening helps me get centered too.
How do you avoid repeating yourself, or falling into formula? How do you stay fresh?
I like to talk to different people, who have different outlooks in life. And, although it can feel frustrating, I change professions all the time. Teacher, salesperson, graphic artist, dog sitter, real estate agent, senior manager, marketing manager, web designer, coordinator...these are a few of my jobs from the last couple of years. I'm working on my next transformation...and think it might be professional writer!
Do you have a ritual like retiring to a lonely place from time to time to cleanse your mind?
My most habitual ritual is walking my dogs. I also knit. A lot. Blankets mostly. But I knit purses and dog outfits and scarfs and fingerless gloves and pillows. Anything that I can envision without following a pattern.
And I read. A lot. I'm kind of a speed reader. Lately I've been watching movies. But I don't find that as rewarding, because it's kind of like listening in on someone else's dreams and I'd rather dream my own dreams. I do like action movies, though. Especially football movies or Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, for some reason. I feel Arnold should just make movies, and stay out of politics.
What cultural sources do you draw from the most?
Okay. I love the news. It's funny I can look at something in the news and see it in a totally different way than anyone else. For example, with McCain, I predicted he'd go with a 40-something, white woman as his VP, long before he did. And I just see things differently than other people. I find a lot of everyday events humuorous.
Who have your teachers been?
Whew. My best teaching moments have often developed from experiences I wouldn't want to repeat and from people I don't want in my life. For example, my last supervisor was a mess, but she did me a lot of favours (she'd probably be livid if she really thought about it). The people she screwed over where her friends. She left them in a horrible situation. She taught me that sometimes your worst enemies do you the most favours.
Also, my dogs are my best teachers. They are teaching me to trust my instincts, to live for the moments and appreciate the little things in life and that trust, love, food and warmth are really all that matters. Oh! And that, much as I hate to admit this, a little discipline in your life is a good thing.
When you accept a job, how much value do you place on each of the following? Money, creative liberty, visibility, and to work with the best.
1) Creative Liberty- I value probably the most. Not being able to do things well and to my standards is beyond frustrating. It's untenable.
3) Money- Living in Silicon Valley, means I cannot survive here unless I put money up at the top of my values. It's sad, but it's what this valley is all about.
3) Working with the best- Like attracts like. So I don't worry about this priority. If I am doing my best, I will attract others of the same ilk.
4) Visibility- My blog is anonymous. 'Nuff said.
Have you ever had a job that was so stimulating that you could not get your mind off of it?
The one answer that came to mind was grad school. My Master's was in Instructional Technology and I was able to create web sites, brochures, graphics. It was a lot of fun.
I also like writing. Right now, I'm working on a novel and I've rewritten tons of times in my head. I only have about 20,000 words right now, so I do need to get back to it.
"To give birth to ideas." Is this only an expression, or are there really parallels between giving birth and creativity?
Yes. Actually having given birth, I think there are a lot of parallels. In many ways, when you give birth to an idea, you have very little control over the process. The process takes over and you almost have to step out of the way. Because if you don't trust your instincts and your faith, you will hurt the end result. Also, both are very spiritual. Sometimes, when I look back at what I have created, I feel as though I was just the conduit. And I wonder how it happened.
Does spirituality contribute to your creativity?
Yes it does. I already answered that. It was in my last answer. Is anyone really going to be reading this?
It is possible to fall in love with a bad idea simply because it is yours. How do you avoid this?
Well, you have to be able to project out and visualize what your next steps will be. And you can only do that properly if you can put your ego aside. However, by that defnition, there are very few truly creative people in the world since so many tie their output to their egos.
Must someone be the leader or boss in order for a creative team to function well?
No. Everyone should just do what I say and stop trying to second guess what I say. I live in Silicon Valley. Everyone wants to be the boss here, because the boss makes the bucks. However, 99% of the time, the person who wants to be the boss kills the vision.
Declaration: With what person or business would you like to work?
I want to work with technology. I want to create an online business and global outreach. I want to work with others on my terms. I want to create what I want without demands from anyone else. Go away. But, before you do, bring me a paycheck, gourmet food, and massage my toes.
What criteria do you use when selecting someone to be a part of your creative team?
The armchair psychologist: Is creativity an act of rebellion for you?
No. Creativity is like breathing for me (okay, now I'm not joking).
What is the best advertisement you've seen recently?
I just saw the MacAfee video and the actor looked like the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. No kidding! He really does.
Here's the link.
Do you work well under pressure?
If I have to. I work better without a lot of unnecessary pressure.
What city in the world currently attracts you due to its creative environment?
Key West, Florida- I love the ocean and the islands.
Yosemite, California- Nature is the most creative environment.
How is an idea sold?
By finding out what the buyer wants and presenting the idea in a way to meet the buyer's needs.
What do you feel when, after two or three years, you see an idea of yours again?
Wow! Did I really do that? When I'm creating it, I always feel like there is one hundred different ways to make it better. And years later, when I look at it with 'new eyes', I'm so impressed. I think, "What a great idea! How perfect!"
Ideas can come simultaneously to different people in different places with no connection to one another. How do you explain this phenomenon?
Genius knows no geography.
You are as good as your last idea. Wouldn't you like to have a more secure type of work?
I've tried to get more secure work. But this is my fate.
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I first read the newspaper. I remember looking at it, when my parents were reading the newspaper at the table and seeing patterns that all the articles made on the page. And then being able to see the individual words. Learning to read was very freeing. I wanted to know what was in that Newspaper.
I first wrote my name, then I wrote cards to my parents. My first story I wrote as a small child. I also wrote up rosters for my students and tried to come up with the most outrageous names I could think of. It was fun!
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I like so many different books and ideas, it's hard for me to pick one favorite genre.
Here's a link to my blog; http://www.blogofamilliondreams.blogspot.com/
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I run through what I'm going to write about in my head. And then I rewrite it in my head.
Then I sit down and just start writing.
Sometimes I look at a news website or stop and read something for a break. But usually I just start writing.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Probably news stories. There so many really strange things going on in the world. And lots of times, it's funny.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
A hook. Interest. Humor. Action. A different perspective than what people would normally think.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I guess write in first person most of the time, so I have to say that.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Terry McMillan. Steven King. Edgar Allan Poe. David Sedaris. Agatha Christie. Jack London. Hemingway.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
Matching actions with intentions. I create mine by knowing how the person would react to a given situation and the fact that, sometimes, the character is based on a true person.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
Myself and my soul.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Internal Conflicts are sometimes just that. They don't always make their way into my writing. Writers should be conflicted. It makes the writing better because it makes you really think about something.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Yes, absolutely. Sometimes I'll write something and someone will comment on it and I'll look back and reread what I wrote and think, "NO! That's not what I wanted to say." And I then can see why a reader might look at what I wrote and take the wrong idea from it. So, I'll delete it or rewrite it or clarify it.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I have, but not seriously. I started Nanoramo, but never completed it. I need to look at more competitions and consider entering them.
I think I might start to do that. Why not?
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Yes, but not regularly.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I just like to talk! Okay, okay, I know you are asking about "my voice" in regards to writing. Yes, I think I feel pretty confident in my writing.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I have just decided that I need to revisit this issue. I do have a schedule and I would like to tighten it up. Additionally, I write down daily goals. I also have long term goals that revisit daily.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I write on a computer and I also am surrounded by spiral notebooks, which I write in relentlessly. I don't print out that much but will when finished with a rough draft. I do like to start to correct on paper and then go back to the computer to finish.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
I go to interesting blogsites, news sites and google all the time.
What has been your experience with publishers?
I sent a novel I wrote to some publishers once. It was a bad novel and shouldn't have been published. While they agreed, only one publisher actually got back to me and said such (wrote a letter).
What are you working on now?
A humorous novel about my experiences working in a Program Improvement School. The characters there were unbelievable! And I'm not talking about the students! The faculty, Administration and staff were out of a Meatloaf movie. Our librarian actually told the kids on a daily basis, "I ain't checking out no more books to you. Sit your asses down and shut up and don't gets out of your seats no more. I ain't your momma and I ain't gonna listen to any of yours crap. I'm your li-BARE-EE-an, NOW SIT YOUR ASSES DOWN!"
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
My dogs always find my previous works enthralling. On Saturday nights, I'll pour myself a glass of wine, pull out past anthologies and have them look at me with rapture as I read aloud from my past works of art.