About a year ago I reached out to a woman I’d crossed path with many years ago in the online world, Daphne Cohn, because I saw that she had a podcast, The Creativity Habit™, that looked like it might be a good fit for me to be a guest.
It took over a year, but eventually that interview happened, and it wasn’t just a regular, old podcast interview.
It was really special.
Daphne had prepared me that her interviews are long — 90 minutes to two hours. But ours went even longer than that.
I didn’t realize going in that Daphne would be digging deep, starting from my earliest memories of creativity.
She’s a Story Whisperer, Daphne. Her superpower is drawing people’s stories out of them, and then connecting the dots to reflect their stories back to them.
At the end of our allotted time together — two hours — we’d only gotten up to age 27, so we made a second appointment for the next day, and we spent a second two hours together.
The entire experience for me me was profound.
Now, I’m a dot-connector by nature. I find meaning in my life, in experiences — that’s what I do. I’m more self-aware than the average bear. And Daphne remarked on that.
But as I said, Daphne is a Story Whisperer. She is extremely gifted at pulling stories out of people, and finding the larger meaning in those stories.
And as I shared with her afterwards, having my life story curated by her — seeing the beautiful page she made for the episode on her podcast, with the photos I sent her, and the words that she carefully chose to represent my episode — it almost knocked me flat.
I’m used to hearing compliments from people, but I’m not used to seeing myself described in the way Daphne described me.
She’s very special.
Here’s what she wrote that brought tears to my eyes:
Artists hear voices. Often. Voices like, “You don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t have what it takes. Everyone will laugh. You suck.” Voices like that.
Melissa Dinwiddie is an amazing talent. At 12 she was placed in adult-drawing classes. At 19 she was a dancer at Juliard. When she was 27 she was in galleries for her paper-cut art and by 29 she had her own business making commissioned calligraphy and papercut art for clients all over the country.
But she burned out. No more making, or selling, art for clients.
It was the voices: “Be the best. Be better than the best. It’s never enough.”
And then she found play and everything changed.
Because play shuts down the voices and makes the hard, easier.
Now Melissa runs The Creative Sandbox. It’s a consulting agency, retreats, and playdays. But most of all it’s a way of life where art is just art and creativity is (almost) always fun.
Some of the things we talked about included:
- abandoning drawing in 7th grade because I wasn’t “good enough”
- getting into Juilliard at 19 and dropping out at 20
- starting my own business at 29 making, and selling, art
- getting divorced, shutting my business down, and starting over
- my new life, my new business, and the number one thing every artist must hold on to
It occurred to me that, although I’m quite transparent here on the podcast and blog, my audience has never seen me in quite the way I shared myself with Daphne.
So I asked Daphne if I might have her permission to re-publish my interview on The Creative Sandbox Way™ podcast, and she graciously agreed.
“As far as I’m concerned,” she said, “the value in the podcast is you. So it’s yours to share.”
So this week and next, I’m pleased to share with you not only my story, but this wonderful podcast that you should know about. Because The Creativity Habit™ is truly special.
Daphne is amazing, and I hope you’ll add her podcast to your feed.
So with that, here is Part 1 of my story.
(Something Cool is on a hiatus. I’m off to Europe on 8/17, and in the interest of self-compassion, rather than knocking myself to record extra episodes between now and when I leave, during the weeks that I’m away I will be sharing some episodes from the archive that feel especially yummy for August and early September. I’ll be back with new Something Cools after I return!)
Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!
What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!
- Melissa’s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
- 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it’s neuroscience, baby!)
- Why “I’m not creative” is always a lie, and how to bust it.
- How to turn creative blocks into friends.
AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself.
“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice—and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup
Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.
Thanks for Listening!
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