As part of my ongoing quest to explore what it means to live a creative life, I periodically invite kick ass creatives to come play with us on the blog. First, I ask them five questions about creativity, and then they get to ask you something…
… and that’s when the real fun (and wild generosity) begins.
The extraordinary magic of dapper, stylish & fabulous elderly people… and yet another hell-yes sort of give away!
I can’t remember the first post I ever read by Alexandra Franzen; it was many, many perspective-altering posts ago. I do remember the one that got me hooked, though. It was called “How to throw a rave inside your brain.” I didn’t read it when she first posted it. I found it later, when I was confused and terribly disheartened, and what I needed most was to plug into something fun, irreverent and seriously life-affirming.
Enter: Alex. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Alex is on a quest to inspire ecstatic self-expression — in life, love & business. She’s been spotlighted on over 50 blogs & radio programs on creativity & entrepreneurship, and in a handful of books, including Grow Your Handmade Business, When Talent Isn’t Enough and The Declaration of You!
Her first book — 50 Ways To Say You’re AWESOME — will be released in Fall 2013, through Sourcebooks.
She serves up laser-lucid lessons on life, love, work & writing at AlexandraFranzen.com.
j: Life is demanding. What are your tricks for getting into a creative space?
Alexandra: I’ve learned that building playtime into my daily rhythm isn’t a “luxury” — it’s an absolute necessity.
Doing yoga, flipping through glossy magazines, having lunch with my girlfriends, baking, resting, snuggling, perusing the latest trinkets at Jonathan Adler, going to the movies to see a saccharine romantic comedy … those are the times that I get my very best ideas. And then, when it’s time to get back to work, I’m happy & rested — instead of brittle & resentful. Go figure.
j: What’s the weirdest thing that inspires you?
Alexandra: I love extraordinarily dapper, stylish & fabulous elderly people. All I can think is, “If I play my cards right, someday, I could be YOU.”
j: How do you deal with critics?
Alexandra: I’ve been blessed with very few critics — that I’m aware of, anyway! And on the rare occasions that someone does lash out at me, they’re usually (a) a total stranger who’s unfamiliar with my work & what I stand for, and (b) kinda, oh, let’s say … emotionally imbalanced?
Criticism upsets me. I won’t lie. It hurts, it burrows into your brain, and it can easily become The One Thing you think about all week — regardless of how much praise, kindness & validation you’ve (also) received.
But it’s part of the deal — if you’re expressing yourself in a public space, you’re making yourself vulnerable to all kinds of reactions. Nothing to do but ignore what you can, release what you can’t, and respond when it seems appropriate.
j: What energizes you, solitude or engagement?
Alexandra: Solitude. I talk to myself, on the regular.
j: A box of old comic books, a rickety wooden chair, two walkie talkies, and a lifetime supply of Sharpies: What will you make?
Alexandra: A tidy profit on eBay.
(I am completely inept, when it comes to handmade crafts.)
Now it’s your turn. Here’s Alex’s question for you:
How will you PLAY with yourself (teehee!) today?
(Why, yes. I do love that question!)
Answer in the comments section (or just say hello), before Friday, January 11th, and I will pick a commenter at random to win Alexandra’s wee-book, 100 Ways To Play With Yourself. It’s filled with 100 ways to infuse your life with creativity, cheeky humor and a spirit of profound curiosity. You’ll find prompts and challenges to shake up your communication, self-presentation, physicality & sensuality, down-time, meal-time, friend-time, and more; plus playdates with inspiring artists, coaches, chefs & entrepreneurs, and a parcel of print & play worksheets!
And since normally $5 of the purchase price for this book goes to The Women’s Earth Alliance, I will make a $5 donation in the name of our winner.
I love when everyone wins, don’t you?