Nov 5, 2020 • 39M

Episode 27: Creative Communities with Kayleen Asbo

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Emerging Form is a podcast about the creative process in which a journalist (Christie Aschwanden) and a poet (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer) discuss creative conundrums over wine. Each episode concludes with a game of two questions in which a guest joins in to help answer questions about the week's topic. Season one guests include poets, novelists, journalists, a song writer, a circus performer, a sketch artist and a winemaker.
Episode details

“Find what you long for and be brave and vulnerable enough to offer it to the world.” So says Kayleen Asbo, our featured guest on this episode of Emerging Form in which we speak about how to foster and shape creative community. Asbo is a cultural historian, composer, musician, writer and teacher who weaves myth, music, psychology, history and art with experiential learning. We talk about passion, about ways to help a group find juice, about how a group leader can encourage trust and intimacy, as Asbo says, by leading “with your own breaking open heart.” At their best, creative communities refresh, encourage, support and inspire us--and offer us discipline. This episode is full of thoughts and tips on everything from creating commitment to how to create intimacy online.

Kayleen Asbo holds master's degrees in music (piano performance), mythology and psychology. She has been a faculty member at the Pacifica Graduate Institute and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Osher Life Long Learning Institutes at UC Berkeley, Sonoma State University and Dominican University. She teaches on a wide array of topics, ranging from Jungian Depth Psychology to Dante to the History of Classical Music. As theCreative Director and Resident Mythologist for Mythica, Asbo used to spend three months a year leading workshops and retreats in sacred sites in Europe and has turned her treasury of pictures and stories from these pilgrimages into online "Virtual Pilgrimages."

Kayleen Asbo

Virtual Pilgrimages

To learn more about Christie’s freelancing workshops, visit or email


The Hero of the Imogene Pass Race

--Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

When I think of encouragement,

I think of Jack Pera,

who stood every year

at the top of Imogene Pass—

in snow, in sun, in sleet, in fog.

On race day, a thousand plus runners

would reach the top,

weary, having climbed

over five thousand feet in ten miles,

and Jack, he would hold out his hand

and pull each of us up the last foot,

launching us toward the long downhill finish.

I remember how surprised I was

the first time, and grateful,

grateful to feel him reaching for me,

grateful to feel his powerful grip

yanking me up through the scree.

“Good job,” he’d say to each one of us,

cheering us though we were sweaty

and drooling and panting and spent.

After that first race, I knew to look for him

as I climbed the last pitch,

trying to make out his form

at the top of the ridge.

And there was. Every time.

“Good job,” he’d say

as he made that last steep step

feel like flight.

There are people who do this,

who hold out their hand,

year after year,

to help those who need it.

There are people who carry us

when we feel broken,

if only for a moment.

When I heard today Jack had died,

I couldn’t help but imagine

an angel waiting there above him

as he took his last breath,

an angel with a firm grip and a big smile

holding out a hand, pulling him through that last effort,

telling him, “Good Job, Jack. Good job.”

And may he have felt in that moment

the blessing of that encouragement,

totally ready to be launched into whatever came next.

Good job, Jack Pera. Good job.