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.
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