Interview with Christine Mason Miller

With the launch of her soon-coming book Desire to Inspire: Using Creative Passion to Transform the World, we thought it would be an excellent time to catch up with our friend Christine Mason Miller. We asked her a few questions and thought you’d enjoy her answers.

What is the one-sentence elevator pitch for Desire to Inspire?

Desire to Inspire is a beautiful, full-color book that explores different aspects of creating a meaningful life as shared by twenty astounding contributors – artists, writers, entrepreneurs, and more.

Where did you get the idea for the book?

I have long been fascinated by the fact that so many women I know – particularly creative entrepreneurs – have a deep desire to inspire others. I held a retreat for nine of these women in 2006, and during this retreat we all talked about our work – what we were doing, wanted to do, and loved to do. Every single one of these women talked about this desire to inspire, and that is when my curiosity about this topic was first sparked. I found it fascinating that even though we did different types of work, our underlying mission was the same – to be a force of good in the world.

Where did your desire to inspire come from?

At its essence, it comes from gratitude – for the fact that I have been able to create and build a creative career, for my health, my family, for all the large and small circumstances that have made it possible for me to do what I love. Getting to live the life I live, I can’t help but want to give back.

Share an experience where creative passion – either yours or someone else’s – transformed your world.

That is actually an easy answer – it was when I was in graduate school and working in Columbia, Missouri for a summer internship. I majored in Art as an undergrad, and always knew I wanted to be an artist. But I have an incredibly practical streak in me, so decided to earn a Master’s degree in Adult Education as my fall back plan. As much as I loved grad school, I went through it with plans of pursuing an art career even though I had no idea what that might look like.

Then right in the middle of my program, my college roommate sent me a copy of SARK’s first book – Creative Companion. I opened the package in front of the building where I worked on the campus of Stephens College, and my entire world shifted. Reading SARK’s words and holding such a unique book in my hands gave me the exact spark of inspiration I needed. Creative Companion showed me the way. It was then and there that I decided I wanted to create art that would inspire others to follow their dreams. It was a moment I will never forget – when SARK’s creative passion transformed my world, and just a few years later I launched Swirly.

What if someone isn’t necessarily interested in transforming the world? Do all creative passions and endeavors need to be so grand?

When I talk about transforming the world, I am actually talking about very small actions, because it is in the smallest of actions that change happens. I am not talking about lunging a giant boulder into the water in order to create immediate, giant waves of transformation; I am talking about tossing small pebbles in, one by one, and seeing how the ripples they create travel far and wide. Someone who has inspired me throughout my entire life is my grandma. She never set out to “transform the world” and loved nothing more than to spend hours in her garden. She was very crafty, worked for most of entire life, was practical, independent, funny, and kind. In other words, she just lived a “normal” life, never wanting to make too much fuss about it. She inspired me to work hard and create a meaningful life just by being herself – just by living her life in the best way she could.

My point is that the simple act of living a life that is meaningful to you is going to create a positive example for others to follow. Yes, there are countless artists and authors and filmmakers and other transformative figures in the world that have inspired me, but it is the smaller, day-to-day examples I see that really stick with me.

And then it goes like this – I am inspired to create a meaningful life, then others close to me, perhaps, are inspired to do the same, and then everyone close to those people can be inspired, and on and on it goes. That is the kind of transformation I am passionate about – the kind that gives one person after another after another the example they need to create a joy-full life.

Can you imagine what the world would look like if we all had this kind of encouragement?

Christine Mason Miller is a Santa Monica-based artist, writer, and explorer. Her next book – Desire to Inspire: Using Creative Passion to Transform the World – begins shipping later this month! Follow her adventures on www.christinemasonmiller.com. Featured photo courtesey of Tracey Clark. Insert photo of book cover.

Leave you comment here between now and Friday night 11/18 at midnight EST for a chance to win a copy of Desire to Inspire!

 

Comments

  1. Corrie says

    What a fantastic view in regards to changing the world… still waiting for my world changing moment!! :) I'm sure it will come when I least expect it…

  2. Beth says

    My partner and I have been talking a lot lately about how to inspire each other, how to create a meaningful life together. This book sounds like wonderful inspiration for us!

  3. Tammy Snyder says

    Sounds like a truly inspiring book for artists to read. Small amounts of love to those around us amount to so much more.

  4. says

    Thanks for this lovely interview. Sounds like a wonderful book! I love the visual of pebbles with their ripples and our corresponding real life actions rippling out and touching others.

  5. says

    i like Christine's response to your last question…to take on transforming the world is a bit overwhelming, but by being a living example and inspiring others to do the same we can all then contribute, in our own way to making this a better world!

    wonderful interview!!

  6. says

    After surviving the pregnancy loss of our first daughter, finding healing through photography myself, and now using my gift to inspire and teach others this book is calling my name. I would love the opportunity to win it – I'm already drooling over all the inspirational goodness that must lie within its pages. xo.

  7. says

    how inspirational this book sounds!
    i have a card someone sent me of christine's many years ago.
    her words are those i want to always remember-i still carry it in my wallet. ; )

  8. merlin says

    In this season of my life, the middle years, I am seeking inspiration to discover who I am, the treasures hidden within, and the authentic life I wish to live. Grateful for the chance to be gifted a copy of this book.

  9. says

    I adore your phrase, 'desire to inspire…' I've recently left my job to follow my dream of being a photographer. I love what I do…but best what I love best of all: when someone says that a photo or a blog post inspires them. It's a magnetic feeling.

  10. says

    Christine sounds like a wonderful person. I love seeing all of these women setting out to inspire others. I, too, have been inspired by my grandmother, who had no idea the small things she was doing would send out big ripples and influence so many other people.
    Coincidentally, Christine went to school where I live! I'm about a mile up the street from her alma mater!

  11. says

    I was telling my friend about this sort of thing recently–about how I like to create these photos, but I don't always have a direction with them. In the back of my mind is a desire to make the world a better place, but I'm not sure how the two connect. It's good to know that there's something out there to help me make that connection. Thank you for sharing this!

  12. says

    Very inspiring indeed! My "word" for this year is "inspire". I picked it randomly but can't list the countless ways it has been confirmed and re-confirmed since I made my choice. Little did I know … now I can say that I truly want to spend the rest of my life inspiring and creating. It may be my "word" for life!

  13. Kirsten Alicia says

    This book is already on my book wishlist & if I'm not fortunate enough to win it, I shall be buying it as my Christmas gift to myself. Christine is hugely inspiring.

  14. says

    You have just brought me to tears reading about how your grandmother inspired you by just being herself. It brought to mind warm images of my own grandmother when i was a child. She was a seamstress and therefore creative by nature. I ended up in fashion design and now i create jewelry from polymer clay. I can't help but think she had something to do with that.If fact i KNOW she did! Thinking back to her now, i realize that she inspired me by just doing what was expected of her in life. Women didn't have the creative and inspiring circles that we are so fortunate to have today. The on-line orld is just so full of incredibly powerful women. After reading so many beautiful blogs lately i hope to never JUST live my life because I think i'm doing what i think i should. I want to be mindful and grateful for every breath i take. My grandmother hasn't been alive for many years now, She died at the age of 92 whan i was about 20 years old. However, my mother (her daughter) is still here! Your post made me realize that she was such an inspiration in my life (and still is). That's when the tears started to roll donw my face. I don't think that i have ever told her just how much she has enabled me to be living the creative and free life that i am. You have inspired me to let her know just how much she means to me and how grateful I am that she's still in my life! Thanks from the bottom of my heart for that. (that small stone you threw sure made a big ripple here!) I rarely leave comments and certainly never any THIS long! Thanks for the space and the tears (although, i'm sure that hormones contributed to that in some way as well) Take care, I'm off to go and figure out just how to show my mother all the gratitude that is owed to her!!!

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