The Creative Life
I began writing my monthly column, The Creative Life, in January of 2016. The column explores the diverse forms of inspiration available to us as residents of Santa Cruz County. Through interviews, local artists of all types share the habits that help them stay inspired, motivated and productive. Together we explore the science of creativity and learn how to stoke our personal creativity on a daily basis.
Arriving in Santa Cruz in the early 1970s, the writer Stephen Kessler found Santa Cruz to be “a cultural frontier town” in the sense that if you wanted to start something…you could. He took the challenge to heart, and over the past four decades has made significant contributions to the community of outstanding writers who call Santa Cruz home.
A regular contributor to local media, Kessler has written ten books of poetry, sixteen books of literary translation, three essay collections and a novel. As a founding editor and publisher of Alcatraz, an international literary journal; the Sun, a local weekly that closed after the ’89 earthquake; and The Redwood Coast Review out of Mendocino, Kessler has cemented himself as a founding member of the local literary scene.
Best-selling author Cara Black writes one of my favorite mystery series featuring the stylish French-American heroine Aimée Leduc. Black’s first book, Murder in the Marais, came out in 1999 and she has published one book every year since 2003.
Each book is set in a different arrondissement of Paris, and with the publication of her 16th book this past June — and Paris only having 20 arrondissements — San Francisco-based Black may be getting close to the end of her highly engaging series.
Amber Coverdale Sumrall
Not only is Amber an incredible poet, she is also a gifted teacher and guide and has a knack for gathering the most incredible writers into a space where magic is practically guaranteed. If it weren’t for Amber Coverdale Sumrall, I would not have grown nearly as much as a poet or as a woman.
I cannot underestimate the influence she has had on me — and continues to have. I know I am not the only one who feels this way about her, as she has been a long-time supporter and nurturer of the local writing community through her co-production of the long-running Celebration of the Muse, among other events.