Well, thanks, Carmen! I write for kids, picture books through middle grade. I guess I sort of identify with growing up in rural Kansas and living in a small town today. I love that I can easily get to a place where there are absolutely no streetlights and sky is so black you can almost feel the depth at which the stars are scattered.
As a kid I spent a lot of time with my three brothers and many cousins, building fantastic hay forts and riding four-wheelers through the mud. Probably we did a lot of stuff we shouldn’t have, like jump out the hay loft window or climb around on the roof of the chicken house. But I think that kind of wide-open space (both in the landscape and in the freedom we enjoyed) fosters creativity.
We’re dying to know, what inspires you more than anything else in the whole world?
My kids! When I am with them, really with them, that is to say, present with them, they are a vast source of inspiration and positive energy. Often when I pay alert attention to my kids, whether we’re playing or just talking, there is an expansive sense of . . . I think the word would be aliveness, a place where things grow. My family is really the foundation for everything I do. My husband and kids, we love to be silly, tell stories, make up games. And being with them has a steadying kind of effect that I need.
I love the way you describe aliveness – so pure. I have to ask, what is your big dream? Yes, the BIG one! That really, super big, pee your pants when make it happen dream. The one you feel a wee bit nervous saying out loud. Yep, that one!
Well, publication is a big one. I recently had the thrill of seeing one of my picture books illustrated and produced as an e-book for MeeGenius.com (more on that later!), and I would love to have that kind of experience again. But beyond that, I think maybe the big dream is writing something that is truly meaningful. Something that you read and it sort of stops you, holds your full attention, even just for a moment. I think if I could do that, really grab you, whether I make you cry or make you laugh or make you think about something you’ve never thought of before–that would be the big one.
What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail and fear didn’t exist?
I’m not sure. That is a very interesting question. But I guess to some extent I think failure and fear can be my allies, though, of course, I don’t enjoy experiencing them. Most of the time, if I’m open to it, if I let it come, failure brings me something new. Maybe it’s a release, a let down that sort of frees me from a path that wasn’t working and sends the project in a new direction. Or maybe it’s just a seed—some part of my idea that I can plant and grow again.
Wow, love your perspective! What are you working on right now that you could use some support and encouragement on?
Right now I’m competing in an online writing contest at MeeGenius.com. Though I was picked by the editor’s to enter the finals, the winner will be decided by online votes. If you’re reading this and have thirty seconds to spare, please check it out! You can visit on MeeGenius.com to view my story, Robot Party, and click the button that says “like” to vote. I am so grateful for your support!
I am so excited for you! What a fantastic opportunity! So what advice, tips, resources, and overall good-to-know information would you offer someone just starting out with regards to finding passion & inspiration and digging in?
I think perhaps the most important thing may be to find that quiet place inside you. This sounds like a paradox, but I believe spending some time not doing and not thinking is the best way to find true inspiration and fuel quality work. This stems from my belief that, beyond all the thinking and doing we engage in, there is something greater. You could say we are part of it, or it lives inside us, but you have to be quiet to feel it, connect with it, and let it flow through you.
If you’re not sure what I mean, or if you think that sounds weird, I don’t blame you. I have a hard time describing or explaining it, but it’s one of the ideas I’ve taken from the writings of Eckhart Tolle, whose books have really been nothing short of life-changing for me. If you’re interested in exploring his ideas, Stillness Speaks might be a good place to start.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I’d like to thank you, Carmen Torbus! You are an Agent of Artsiness, a Venture Virtuoso, a Master Motivator, an Inspiration Sensation! Seriously, you rock. Thank you so much for your interest and enthusiasm.
My pleasure Gwendolyn. Thank you so much!!
And for those of you reading this… pop over to MeeGenius now and vote for Robot Party – Gwendolyn’s adorable story about the power of friendship. Speaking of friendship, you can connect with Gwendolyn on her Facebook author page right here and on Twitter too.
xo & belief in you,