In light of the All Things Girl “Color” Edition, it is only fitting to speak to Christine Mason Miller, artist, author and ATG Alumnae. We each have our own inner color, a creative energy bursting to get out through our thoughts, actions and talents. I had the opportunity to interview Christine about her book, “Desire to Inspire”, her art, and living life in constant celebration.
Tell our readers about your background: where are you from, and what led you to write for a living?
I am originally from the east coast, but switched coasts in 1995. I initially moved to Santa Barbara and have since made my way to Santa Monica, where I write, create, and do whatever I can do to inspire others to live a passionate, meaningful life. My work has always been about inspiration, encouragement and personal growth, and the ideas, stories and experiences I have wanted to share have been expressed in a number of different ways. I have used illustration, licensed products, graphic design, mixed media artwork, books, classes and stories. My work has shifted more towards writing over the past few years, an evolution that feels natural. As my personal work and beliefs have deepened, I have wanted to be able to express more specific ideas, and I think writing is the best way to do that.
What inspired you to tell this story?
I have, for a long time, been very curious about why so many of us (“us” as in our creative community) have this desire to inspire others and make a positive difference in the world. We all have this sense of service and purpose and light within us, and I wanted to learn more about how that came about and how that can be expressed and lived and shared.
How did you find the 20 women to help tell the story in “Desire to Inspire”?
They are all women I know. I have a lot of extraordinary friends and connections!
What prompted or inspired you to write your most recent piece?
I would say my most recent piece was a blog entry I wrote last week about not always feeling like I have my act together. It was a short piece, and very simple, very honest. I received some amazing comments from that entry ~ readers were appreciative of my willingness to be truthful about the days when I feel decidedly out of the flow.
We know about this book, but what else have you written that we may not be as familiar with?
I wrote and illustrated a gift book called Plant Your Dreams and the Miracles Will Grow and I created and published Ordinary Sparkling Moments. I’ve also written a number of essays that haven’t yet seen the light of day because the literary journals and essay contests I submitted them to rejected them!
You are both a writer and an artist. How do these two creative outlets work together to inspire your work?
Writing is very precise, very still and very quiet. It is, at least physically, a fairly tidy way to work. It is work that is mainly done from within, and expressed solely through my fingertips. Creating artwork is, for me, very active, physical, messy and a little bit wild. I get lost in the work and create from my gut. Being able to do both enables me to experience a sort of yin and yang of creativity ~ it helps create a certain creative balance in my life that I really appreciate.
Where do you do your best writing (your office, curled up in bed, in public spaces)?
In my studio, at my computer, in the quiet.
What advice would you give to other creatives who aspire to have their voice be heard by a large audience?
Do your best work. Your. Best. Work. Don’t try to figure out what the public will like or what they want. Do what is uniquely yours.
You speak about celebrating the ordinary moments in life. How do you celebrate the magic of your everyday?
A lot of it has to do with living in silence. I rarely have music on and we don’t have TV. Quiet enables me to be more full present, and in that presence I am living in celebration, no matter what I’m doing.
Most writers are also avid readers. What authors did you read as a child? What authors do you read today? Do you have a favorite book or author?
I actually wasn’t a big reader as a child. I was more interested in being outside ~ riding my bike, playing in the woods, playing with my friends. If I got in trouble, my punishment was always the same: I had to stay indoors. These days I am reading a lot of books on spirituality, including the Bible, which I’ve never read! I am reading the New Testament, John O’Donohue, C.S. Lewis, Hafiz and Pema Chodron.
What project is next on your to-do list?
A magical retreat in my favorite place in the world. That’s all I can say for now!