June 28, 2021

Q & A Interview with Australian Mystery Author Ellen Read!


Creativity allows us to view and solve problems. It opens our minds. Especially in difficult and lonely time’s creativity is the best self-therapy and healing solution for our heart, mind, and soul. Creativity is the ability to generate, create, or discover new ideas, solutions, and possibilities. During this horrible global pandemic crisis, everyone was challenged in one or another way, which gave me the idea to feature a few creative guests in my summer blog series Corona & Creativity.

My next guest in my blog series 2021 is the lovely and talented published Australian author Ellen Read. Ellen is the author of the Thornton Mysteries – a series of five murder mysteries set into the late 1920s in Australia and more books.

Dear Ellen thank you so much for being my blog guest. Please tell me what means creativity to you?

Creativity is an expression of my soul, my heart, my mind. I can’t imagine my life without creativity in it. Like sunshine, it brings light into my world.

What is your favourite creative activity?

My favourite creative activity is my writing. When writing, I can lose myself in different worlds and various eras. I’m always thinking of my stories, principally the one I’m writing but other ideas occur to me at the oddest time. Writing ideas down in note form is essential.

I also love photography, particularly photos of flowers and nature. I adore the varied shapes of flowers - some soft while others are architectural in form - and their colours, everything from vibrant to delicate. I like to explore how light can bring flowers to life.




And what is your favorite color?

My favorite colour is teal – that beautiful mix of blue and green. Like the sea on a sunny day where the deep waters mingle with the shallows. Being a Pisces might have something to do with this. I also love shades of teal, including aqua and turquoise. Teal is a colour that brings me joy. I love the sea and ocean, although not so much when I’m in it, but I do enjoy being close to it.

Did you discover a creative activity or new passion during the corona Lockdown? What exactly?

I didn’t really discover a new creative activity, but I found time to do more writing. I have a passion for reading too and I read a great deal. I love books, holding them, and I enjoy collecting them.

Ellen, do you think creative people are happier in general?

I know I am happier when I’m writing or taking photos. However, creativity has more than one aspect to it. We put our hearts and souls into creating something but then it has to go out into a world that is not always respective and kind to it. I’m always nervous when a book is released, even though it has been through many drafts and has been edited. I don’t know what people will think of it. I mean, if my editor and ARC readers consider it’s good, that is a hopeful start, but even when receiving five-star reviews, it is crushing to receive harsh comments. All creative people wear their hearts of their sleeves. Yet despite this, I am much happier when I’m writing.

Would you say creativity is kind of self-therapy?

I would indeed. I think creativity allows us to get in touch with our deeper self. It allows us to work through problems without even realising it. We simply know we feel calmer and sometimes more reflective.

Well said. Would you say that creative people are more driven and disciplined?

I believe creative people are more driven, and they certainly need to be disciplined. Creativity is something deep within us. It’s what we are.

Creatives need to be disciplined. I have had three books published by Crimson Cloak Publishing. My next book is already finished and with my publisher. I’m writing the fifth book now. Even though I have a publisher, I don’t have a boss, a person, in my study telling me I haven’t written enough for today. I have to discipline myself. I find a routine is the best way. I write in the morning until about 1pm. Some days I might get more words down than other days, but I don’t worry about that, as long as I’ve done as much as I can. Some days, checking on research notes slows me down. Later in the day I do social media, which is also important to creative pursuits. Marketing and creativity don’t naturally fit, but it’s something that has to be done.

The meaning of “Creativity” is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness! Creativity is going beyond the usual, stepping outside the box. It can be defined in many ways, such as how a person explores ideas or uses different ways to solve issues and how one experiences life. So, what was your original idea, or what did you create during lockdown?

Lockdown in Queensland Australia, where I live, wasn’t as long as it was in many places, but it has had an impact. Altogether, I wrote two novels and a novella. I had one book published by my publisher Crimson Cloak Publishing. I also self-published a novella.

I also took many photos, although with not being able to travel, I had to confine myself to local areas. I have a lot of flowers in my garden, so I took multiple photos of these.

While you may have natural creativity skills, there are also skills that can be learned and developed over time. Would you say your creative skills are natural or trained?

I think my creative skills are a mixture of both natural and trained. I created stories in my head all through childhood and wrote from quite a young age. I wrote my first novel at eighteen. That doesn’t mean that training isn’t important. Taking courses helped to develop aspects of my writing. I think we need to learn and adapt all the time.

A new study from researchers has found that women are engaged in creative fields like art, music, and literature at higher rates than men and are generally more creative than men. What is your thought on that?

I’ve been involved with music and literature all my life, starting with writing, piano as a child, and ballroom dancing. My husband and I had a ballroom dancing studio for twenty years. I sang in choirs and was part of a musical theatre production company, both on stage and off, for over twenty years. These activities overlapped. My writing fitted in there as well. I found there were definitely more girls interested in ballroom dancing lessons. In the choirs, there were also more women than men involved. Tenors in particular were a vanishing breed. In musical theatre, I always found both more women and men were equally interested. In writing, I think it’s also fairly equal.

Oh wow, you had your own ballroom dancing studio for twenty years? So I'm sure my next special guest's life story and view on Creativity will fascinate you. I had the honor to do a Zoom Interview with an incredible ballet dancer for my blog series. Australia is part of the Eurovision Song Contest family for a while now. So you must have seen his performance at the Second Semi-Final in 2021. Stay tuned for my Zoom interview with dancer, choreograph, and writer Ahmad Joudeh, the King of Dance. 

Thank you so much Ellen for being my Australian blog guest in 2021 and best of luck with all your creative activities and projects. I haven't been to Australia yet, but I really hope one day I can discover the beauty of your country. All the best, Lily xxx

If you like to know more about Ellens books, follow her on Social media or visit her website!

The Thornton Mysteries – a series of 5 cosy murder mysteries set into the late 1920s in Australia – now published by Crimson Cloak Publishing.






 

June 26, 2021

Q & A Interview with young German Author Alexandra Lorenz


Creativity allows us to view and solve problems. It opens our minds. Especially in difficult and lonely time’s creativity is the best self-therapy and healing solution for our heart, mind, and soul. Creativity is the ability to generate, create, or discover new ideas, solutions, and possibilities. During this horrible global pandemic crisis, everyone was challenged in one or another way, which gave me the idea to feature a few creative guests in my summer blog series Corona & Creativity.

My next guest in my blog series 2021 is the young German author, book reviewer, and book blogger, Alexandra Lorenz. She has published a book series of four to this date about the adventures of her cute dog Cupcake. 

What means creativity to you?
Creativity is maybe the most powerful part of me and my life. Its Relaxation, productivity, fun, Charity, and self-fulfillment!

What is your favorite creative activity?
Oh, that’s a difficult question, I love crafting all arts. Painting, Sewing,... Just everything that is creating one totally unique thing.

What is your favorite color?
My favorite Colors are Sunshine Yellow and bright Blue.

Did you discover a creative activity or new passion during the corona Lockdown? What exactly?

Yes totally! I started Crafting Wirth peroxide Harz, it made me super happy to create little Accessories for my friends. Even if I can’t see them a lot in this Pandemic but can make them Smile anyway. I also started to create Dog and Cat beds out of old furniture’s, like a playpen, a little garden table, or an old night table. It’s so nice to see the people of the Animal shelters being so happy.


Alexandra do you think creative people are happier in general?

I think Creativity can be so much and it can mean another thing for anyone. So sometimes people are Creative without noticing. Some people getting happier with it, others find their happiness in Sports, family, friends or something completely other.

Would you say creativity is kind of a self-therapy?

Yes. It totally can be a kind of self-therapy. With Creativity can be so much handled inside, without the need to be conscious! I myself can say I totally use being creative as Self- Therapy at some point.

Would you say that creative people are more driven and disciplined?

Not all of them. There are a lot of people who are, but also a lot who get lost in their Creative minds. So they start Projects and never bring them to an end because the very next idea is in their minds already.


The meaning of “Creativity” is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness! Creativity is going beyond the usual, stepping outside the box. It can be defined in many ways, such as how a person explores ideas or uses different ways to solve issues and how one experiences life. So what was your original idea, or what did you create during lockdown?

I started to publish my Books in lockdown, to make kids smile and have a good time even they can’t see their friends a lot. I also started to help in Charity actions. My latest Book "Cupcake und die Wolken" helped a handicapped Kid to accept himself, and the Clouds I created as Goodies helped to make the Money to getting him a stairlift and a wheelchair-accessible car.




While you may have natural creativity skills, there are also skills that can be learned and developed over time. Would you say your creative skills are natural or trained?

After all, I think it’s a combination. I am a very creative person, and in my mind are so many ideas. But not all ideas can be done without a little training.

A new study from researchers has found that women are engaged in creative fields like art, music, and literature at higher rates than men and are generally more creative than men. What is your thought on that?

If I look at the People I know, I can super agree. But I think it’s a thing of developmental psychology, with Kids I can’t see any differences between Boys and Girls in Creativity. At any point in the lives of these kids, the social signals that it’s okay for girls to like to draw and stuff. But Boys "should" concentrate on other things. I for myself think this is not a good thing, because Creativity is for everyone!

Do you think being creative and productive is also related to season? For example are you more creative in the summer or in winter?

For me, not really... I have some phases where I am the creativity in person, and sometimes not at all.

Alexandra, find creative words to describe yourself to my blog visitors.

Hi, i am Alexandra Lorenz. I love Creativity and Animals... And being creative with my animals. My Books are about my dog Cupcake and I am a "world better maker" by doing little things that make others Happy.


Thank you Alexandra for being my blog guest and best of luck with all your creative activities and projects. If you like to know more about Alexandra's books and book reviews on Instagram, follow her on Social media or visit her website!

www.alexandralorenz-autorin.de

Instagram

Twitter

Cupcake has reviewed my book "Lucky, From Zero To Hero"! 

Thank you Cupcake for a lovely 5 star review on Amazon! :-)




June 25, 2021

Creativity travels the World!


Looking back at these years, I find it kind of ironic, that my mum’s creative and hard work was able to travel the world, while we were stuck in Switzerland and not allowed to leave the country because of our refugee status. My mum’s designs were presented in the biggest concert halls in Europe and Asia, while we felt trapped in a gilded cage.

In our “nasSima design 20 Jubilee online magazine”, you see all the pictures from these colorful stage costumes that my mum made for the Swiss Best Selling Artist DJ. Bobo and his entire dance crew. The costumes were made for two world tours. 

I remember how proud I was to see my mum's beautiful designs and hard work traveling the world and how I wished I was one of the costumes. :-) Creative work was all we had to survive the most difficult, lonely, and isolated time in our life. Thank God time goes by and we have survived these unbelievably challenging years! 


























STAY TUNED FOR MY SPECIAL BLOG GUEST 
DANCER AHMAD JOUDEH  
COMING SOON...



June 24, 2021

Creativity brings people together!

During difficult times, music is definitely one of the best medicines for the soul. In one of my most hopeless and saddest times when I felt completely stocked and screwed by destiny, my only joy was my love for music and art. Writing about this time now feels like I’m not even writing about myself. The memory of this difficult time is more like a shadow of me.

In a time when my mum and I didn’t know how to pay our rent and were trying to survive, I met the band Backstreet Boys several times when they were only at the beginning of their careers. Today, they are worldwide known, fully respected, and admired musicians. But at the time we met the boys, nobody knew they would become globally successful. I often watched them during rehearsals and once, I was even on stage with all of them during their performance of the hit single “I’ll never break your heart” in front of thousands of screaming teenage fans. 




But I do remember that it wasn’t an easy life, being always on the road. It was hard work. To the outside, it seemed like an enviable life, but at least, the boys had a goal in mind, and they were lucky enough to have fewer obstacles in their way than I had. I had a lot of talents and ambitions and I wanted to have a great career, no matter how hard I had to work. But I couldn’t because of my status as a refugee. It made me angry and depressed. I saw other young people follow their dreams and make money and a life with it, while I was financially ruined and had no prospect for any improvement.

No one took any notice of me and gave me a chance. It took me quite a while to accept that I did not have the same opportunities or rights as young and free Americans and Europeans have. I was worthless as a war-refugee from a third country and trapped in a gilded cage, in oh so wonderful Switzerland. 

Another thing I envied the Backstreet Boys for was the fact that they had been supported and encouraged from a young age. No matter how talented a young American is and where his interests lie, be it sports, politics, science, medicine, media, etc., they always have the opportunity to follow their dreams. They can prepare for any future in college/University and develop freely to become what they want to be. To them, all doors are open.

Every person has different, individual talents and strengths. The Swiss and European education system, however, does not care about the individual person and his or her talents, wishes, and goals. Instead of furthering the talents of a person, the youth here are constantly confronted with their weaknesses. It was exactly what my Swiss teacher in my secondary class did to me for three years. He basically hated foreigners, so he did everything in his power to make my life a living hell. He made me feel useless, worthless, and stupid even though I had many talents in so many areas. Apart from the fact that our refugee permit stopped us from doing just about anything, the chances of becoming something as a refugee in Switzerland were ZERO. Which ironically still hasn’t changed after all these years. The refugee law is still the same in 2021 everywhere!

Today I feel fortunate for the experience and great opportunity that I had to meet THE BOYS, one of the most successful boy bands ever. Their music was and still is a joy for my soul! Thank you for your great and timeless songs such as “Quit playing games with my heart“, “I want it that way”, “Show me the meaning of being lonely” and “Shape of my heart”. Thank you for the “only good” and joyful memories in one of the hardest times in my life where I had to deal with my beloved grandmother's lost and was forced to get married to a Swiss man I didn’t love. May each one of you, Kevin, Brian, Howie, Nick, and AJ, and your families always be blessed.

As a Thank-you I gave the boys a drawing (Original size: 70 x 100 cm) which according to Howie D is in their office in Orlando USA. The drawing contains each of their names, birth signs, and birthdates. And that’s why I say creativity brings people together! 


Kevin & my mum Sima

Kevin & I 

Brian & I 

AJ & I

Howie & I



My drawing for the Backstreet Boys 1996


STAY TUNED FOR MY SPECIAL BLOG GUEST 
DANCER AHMAD JOUDEH  
COMING SOON...



June 22, 2021

Q & A Interview with Italian Campaign Manager Maria Sara

 

Creativity allows us to view and solve problems. It opens our minds. Especially in difficult and lonely time’s creativity is the best self-therapy and healing solution for our heart, mind, and soul. Creativity is the ability to generate, create, or discover new ideas, solutions, and possibilities. During this horrible global pandemic crisis, everyone was challenged in one or another way, which gave me the idea to feature a few creative guests in my summer blog series Corona & Creativity.

My first guest in my blog series 2021 is my delightful and multi-talented friend Maria Sara Cetraro from Rome. 

First of all, thank you for being my guest. Tell me what means creativity to you?

I think creativity doesn’t just mean crafting something that didn’t exist before using your imagination and artistic ability. I see it as an attitude or, better said, a lifestyle! The way you look at reality and interpret it can be creative itself if you are open-minded and able to notice the details nobody cares about and make original connections between them.

What is your favorite creative activity?

My favorite creative activities are singing in the choir and writing. Even though I don’t compose the pieces I sing, I feel creative in the way I use my voice to perform the choral repertoire, which can be different depending on my mood or physical conditions. I define it as my flow experience, and it is the same with writing. It can be a blog post, a short poem, or a tiny story, when I write I feel totally absorbed in the process of finding and combining the rights words for how they sound together and the message I want to give.


What is your favorite colour?

My favorite colour is green! I think that’s why I love walking in the woods.

Did you discover a creative activity or new passion during the corona Lockdown? What exactly?

During the first Lockdown in Italy I re-discovered my passion for nature. I had more time to watch the flowers and the fruits grow in my garden and follow the weird behaviors of the animals.

As a creative activity, I would mention… walking! I read an interesting book about famous walkers and the importance of this activity to boost creativity. I can confirm that some of the best ideas I had in that period came up to my mind while I was walking.

I also attended some online courses on creativity. One of them was actually a creative challenge and it consisted of crafting strange objects every day using only the materials I had on my desk. It was really funny!



Maria, do you think creative people are happier in general?

I don’t think creative people are happier in general, but I think they have more resources and tools to turn difficult and sad situations into positive ones. So they are not happier by default, but they know how to track the path to happiness.

Would you say creativity is kind of self-therapy?

Yes, I think creativity is a kind of self-therapy as it helps you to focus on your qualities and deal with your weaknesses. From this self-consciousness, you learn to draw both a compassionate and empowering way of looking at yourself and at people around you. 

Would you say that creative people are more driven and disciplined?

I think that creative people have a sort of inner discipline. Maybe some of them use a board to schedule their actions and strictly monitor their projects, while others seem to be evanescent and dependent on the ups and downs of inspiration.
In both cases, I think they have a set of rules that work for them, even if they are not referable to a ‘scientific methodology.

For example, lately, I found it really useful to listen to podcasts about creativity, in particular, Creative Pep Talk run by illustrator Andy J. Pizza. I took a lot of good tips from it, which became part of my ‘creative routine’. I know it can sound contradictory since we normally don’t conceive creativity as a ‘routine’, but it helped me to develop a productive mindset which I use when I feel stuck or short of ideas.

The meaning of “Creativity” is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness! Creativity is going beyond the usual, stepping outside the box. It can be defined in many ways, such as how a person explores ideas or uses different ways to solve issues and how one experiences life. So what was your original idea, or what did you create during lockdown? You can list more than one.

The lockdown was the occasion to train my ‘lateral thinking’ as I was stuck in a situation where all of the things and habits that I had taken for granted were completely out of order. This approach worked particularly fine for my job at GigsGuide, an online service for music and travel lovers. The main activity of GigsGuide consists in helping users to find great concerts in the cities they visit based on the music they like. In just 3 clicks you can book the concert’s ticket, the flight, and the hotel, planning an original trip and a unique music experience. This service also helps the cities to promote themselves as music destinations and to grow the fan base of their local music scene.

You can imagine how this beautiful mission was compromised by the forced shutdown of travels and concerts caused by the pandemic. But the ‘lateral thinking’ helped me and my brother Francesco (CEO of GigsGuide) to find a solution by exploring a side field: the live-streamed concerts! So, during the lockdown, we transformed GigsGuide in one of the most complete platforms listing online concerts from all over the ‘virtual world. We also hosted some artists on our website, launching the series “GigsGuide presents...”.

Since I discovered many new great artists while listing the online concerts and promoting them on social media, I also started a series on my personal blog to display my music tips ‘made in GigsGuide’. 



While you may have natural creativity skills, there are also skills that can be learned and developed over time. Would you say your creative skills are natural or trained?

Now that I am in my thirties, I can recognize what are my natural skills, as I have a more mature understanding of my life path. I think singing is one of them because, as far as I can remember, I have always been singing. But the way I sing now is the result of more than 15 years of training in the choir. It is the same with inventing stories and writing. If I read now what I used to write when I was a teenager, I can see some recurring traits, but many other things have changed over time as I learned new techniques or simply new words! I think that if you only leverage your natural skills without improving them with training, you will end up boring yourself and other people, and most of all you lose the chance to prove yourself and grow.

A new study from researchers has found that women are engaged in creative fields like art, music, and literature at higher rates than men and are generally more creative than men. What is your thought on that?

I have never thought about creativity in gender terms. I think that both men and women can be creative at different levels and in many ways. As I don’t consider art, music, and literature as the main ‘creative fields’, I would define “creative” also a woman who makes experiments in a chemical laboratory.

Maybe we should switch the focus from the creative process to the way people judge the creative products made by women compared to those crafted by men. So my question would be: do men and women have the same creative identity or creative dignity in the public eye?

Maria, do you think being creative and productive is also related to the season? For example are you more creative in the summer or in winter?

In my own experience, productivity is not influenced by the seasons. I feel quite more affected by my ‘inner’ cycle of the seasons, my emotional states, the people I meet, the experiences I live. Maybe the seasons have an impact on the mood of my creative works, for example during the Winter I might tend to be more introspective, while in the Summer I might be more hilarious and free-minded, but it also depends on many other factors.

Find creative words to describe yourself to my blog visitors.

I would choose three expressions that I found in two books I read about finding a fulfilling work and live a fulfilling life. They are wide-achiever, portfolio worker and Renaissance person. They all refer to the multi-faceted identity of a person who is able to shape his/her working and private life around his/her interests and passions. I have been pursuing this dream for many years and finally I can say that today my life is full of the things I love: I work in the music field with GigsGuide and my choir; I am in the publishing field as I read and review a lot of books and I write different contents online and offline; and then, I work in the educational and social fields with Calciosociale and Community Organizing, two organizations aiming at developing a culture of empathy, inclusion, and active citizenship in the suburbs of Rome. I feel blessed!


Thank you dear Maria Sara for being my blog guest in 2021 and best of luck with all your creative activities and projects. 

Visit Maria Saras Blog