Cover of "common ground" magazine from May 2014 featuring an illustration of a baby within a glowing orb, with various article headlines around the edges.

May / June 2014

May-June Creativity Issue

It is our great honor to publish an entire issue dedicated to creativity. As Grace would have it, we spoke to the oracle on the subject, Anne Lamott, two weeks after her 60th birthday. What a treat. It’s a busy time for Lamott, as she is finalizing a draft of an upcoming book. Our interview was confined to an extended car ride, during which she picked up her grandchild, Jax, from preschool. A narrow span in clock time, but sufficient to pluck ample gems about the essence of this extraordinary woman’s blazing soul.

Born to intellectually progressive parents who were disdainful of Christianity, Anne desperately sought an acceptable Eastern approach to know God but wound up a deeply dedicated “Christian girl.” She lectures frequently on both faith and creativity, often finding her notes on the subjects to be interchangeable.

Known for her keen powers of observation, self-effacing humor, and love of God, she is a writer’s writer. Her first novel, Hard Laughter, published in 1980, chronicled her father’s demise with brain cancer. With a stern sense of material reality and the discipline required of artists, she taught tennis and cleaned houses to support her writing habit. Not until the success of the classic Bird by Bird in 1994 was this struggling single mom able to ditch her day jobs. An old-school contemplative who advocates for “scritching on paper” as a sacred creative ritual, she nonetheless has a tremendous following on social media. Check her lengthy Facebook posts, which are routinely liked by tens of thousands. Anne Lamott is fascinating and packs much wisdom and advice into an interview. She believes that we all have innate creativity, and the world’s collective enrichment—if not survival—depends on our tapping into it. “Creativity is life and begets life and, ultimately, oneness and joy.”

Besides our popular festival roundup and a stunning pictorial by the Japanese American woodcut artist and environmental activist Mayumi Oda, Suzanne Clores shares her essay “Extraordinary Consciousness: Paranormal Patterns and the Creative Process,” while Carolyn Gregoire tells us of the “18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently.” Steven Pritzker offers insight into how creativity is being taught in schools, while Jack Matson shows us how failure can be a catalyst for innovation.

If you’ve ever wondered about the creative and healing properties of calligraphy, read Diana Holland’s informative article about it. Aviva Gold reminds us of the importance of reconnecting to Source to awaken our artist’s soul. There’s much more, and we want to thank all the contributors to this particularly inspired issue.

This is a double issue, as is our upcoming July-August Summer is sue, which typically includes our popular Burning Man preview. More creativity is in store. We hope to see you at some of the awe-inspiring music-art-wellness festivals during these next warm months. It makes me shiver just thinking about the deluge of creativity—at so many levels—that surrounds us by the bay; I can hardly contain myself.

As ever, please show appreciation for our advertisers, for this free community magazine. Recommend them to your friends, for they are the best. Please consider becoming an advertiser yourself. Common Ground is in its 40th year, thanks to this bond. We’re planning another birthday celebration in the fall. Thank you, from the depths of my heart.

Creativity Is Life,


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