Discover more from Emerging Form
Take Your Creative Practice on the Road
Laurie Wagner on how travel invites attentiveness, curiosity and presence
“Travel helps us practice moving slower and try to keep seeing things anew. And if that isn't a metaphor for finding beauty, I don't know what is.” —Laurie Wagner
Preview: Episode 69 Laurie Wagner on How Travel Fuels the Muse
“Travel is an opening of the senses,” says writer, process guru and creative writing teacher Laurie Wagner. She teaches in Nepal, Mexico, Bali, and of course stateside, and, as she says, “travel has been a wake up.” In this episode, we talk with her about creative habits on the road, the value of a creative community away from home, how attentiveness and vulnerability drive creative practice, how to treat even a trip to the post office as “travel,” and how to allow the after effects of travel to help us “stay barefoot.”
PLEASE NOTE: we are taking a short summer break after our Episode 69 bonus next week. If you are a paid subscriber, your subscription will be put on hold (you won’t be charged) until we’re back in late August.
Laurie Wagner has been publishing books and essays, and teaching writing for the last 25 years. She is a process guru and has a genius for holding space, helping people unzip what’s inside of them, and get ink on the page. A creative brain-stormer, she specializes in out of the box ways to tell your stories. Her Wild Writing classes are the cornerstone of her live work. She teaches weekly, small groups, and also hosts The Wild Family, a large group of writers from around the world who write together weekly. She is the author of Living Happily Ever After: Couples Talk about Long Term Love, and Expectations: 30 Women Talk about Becoming a Mother. Check out her blog at: 27powers.org
What We’re Reading and Listening to:
Poet Wendy Videlock, (featured in Episode 51: Beyond the Binary) has a fabulous new collection of poems, Wise to the West. Grounded in the flora and fauna of the west, her poems are wise, indeed, though the wisdom is hidden in playfulness, spaciousness and even whimsy. I think that’s what I love so much about her poems—how they sing off the page, delighting in their own music, while meanwhile they twist with paradox and lay bare difficult truths.
Which women poets have helped set the landscape for the soul? In Wild Nights: Heart Wisdom from Five Different Poets, we hear the voices of legends: Sappho, Emily Dickinson, Amy Lowell, Sara Teasdale and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Though very different in style and register, I love reading these poems that continue to, in the worlds of Sara Teasdale, “sting us into tears.”
I loved this Oliver Burkeman column arguing that “we often make ourselves miserable – and hold ourselves back from what we might be capable of achieving – not because we're too pessimistic, but because, in a sense, we're not pessimistic enough.” It sounds like a downer, but it’s not. “When you grasp the sense in which your situation is completely hopeless, instead of just very challenging, you can unclench. You get to exhale.”
For High Country News, Diane Sylvain wrote a lovely essay about finding her home. “All my life I had been a compass, and never known it until the needle at last swung round, and pointed me here: led me here, at last, to the home of my heart.” The essay is illustrated with Sylvain’s beautiful artwork.
The smallest change in perspective can transform a life.
They return arm in arm,
linked by elbows and laughter,
linked by memories of women weaving
and warm fresh tortillas and the girl
who begged them to bring her home with them.
They are the same girls who left,
only more spacious, filled with vast lake
and tropical rain and the generosity
of the people who live with little.
They are more citizens of the world, now,
having sat on the earth and around tables
with children and elders so different, so the same.
Having left in service, they return the richer—
oh sweet paradox,
how in giving of themselves they are beautifully changed.
—Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
A Note About Paid Subscriptions:
First, we want to thank ALL our subscribers! We are so grateful you join us in this conversation about what it is to engage with yourself, the world and others in a creative way. And a BIG thank you to our paid subscribers. You make this podcast possible. Starting this month, only our paid subscribers will receive our bonus episodes as a thank you for their financial support.
This week, Laurie Wagner shares why her creative days begin with her cat, how and why we might “mulch” the creative brain, and how connecting with the self is the primary act in creative practice. If you are not yet a paid subscriber, you can go now to our website, EmergingForm.substack.com or by clicking the button below. Thank you!
(share your answers with us here on Substack or in our FB group)
How does your muse respond to travel?
How do you connect with other creatives when traveling?