So happy to have Staci Frenes visiting today! Staci’s written an excellent book and I’ve asked her to share a little bit about it here.
What inspired this book?
It’s funny, based on the title you’d think it came out of a rich creative season of my life. Totally the opposite! I was near the end of a long spell of difficult and painful family challenges which had left me completely dry, creatively. We had lost our home after the California housing market crashed; our two teenaged children were struggling with big identity-defining issues, my mom was going through radiation treatment for breast cancer, and not long after that my dad was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and given three months to live.
I could barely breathe when I got out of bed in the morning, never mind trying to write songs. It was too painful, too raw and I didn’t want to dig around in the emotional wreckage of it, so I just went numb for a while. A long while. I did my job and everything else kind of on autopilot—and part of me was convinced I could just go on forever that way. It was easier than facing the disappointment, the bitterness, the fear.
But something stirred inside of me one day. I remember picking up my guitar, dusting if off and tuning the strings differently. I strummed until I started to hear a melody again. With the melody came a concept and lyric ideas, and I wrote a song about coming back to life. The first one I’d written in over a year. I wept during the whole process. Writing it broke the proverbial dam, I guess, and more songs for a full album tumbled out soon after that.
So, in the middle of this new rush of songwriting I started thinking about how the creative process works—how doing what I love, what I know I’m designed to do—heals me and helps me deal with what’s going on at the deepest level. I couldn’t help but think I wasn’t alone. I wanted to share my experiences and insights with other people. I wanted to write about how a creative life isn’t just optional for some of us—it’s essential.
What makes you feel most fulfilled creatively?
Songwriting is my happy place. I’ve loved words and music since I was a little girl. I used to write in a diary from the time I first learned how to spell! I wrote poems, stories, and letters to my friends and family. When I was 12 or 13 I asked my parents for guitar and piano lessons, because I started hearing melodies for the words I was writing. I’d start singing them in my head, and needed to learn how to put them into a musical context. When I discovered I had a knack for putting together lyrics and melodies it was like I’d found a way to express my true self.
To this day, it’s like that for me. Songs are the language I speak, the thoughts I think, they are the way I receive and give back to the world around me. When I write and sing my songs, I’m more grounded and content than when I’m doing any other thing. I feel like I’m connected to something bigger than me; like what I’m doing matters in a way I can’t quantify or explain.
What would you say to those who don’t believe they’re ‘creative’?
I’d like to challenge that notion! I think there’s a difference between those hobbies we do once in a while that feel artsy—like a weekend dance class or scrapbooking group—and what, in fact, is our unique set of talents, skills, and personality seeking creative expression. So, while it may not be a career path for many of us, creativity is a soul path that uses a different part of our brain and allows us to daydream, imagine and explore possibilities. We might all do those things in different ways, in various mediums, but it comes from a common desire to make something and call it good. The desire to contribute to the world in a unique way is something we share, I think.
What do you hope people will come away with from reading your book?
For me, writing this book was about remembering that our life’s work—whatever it is—matters. And about discovering the joy of sowing myself—the full measure of my talents and resources—into the fields God has given me and seeing the beauty that grows there. At the very least I hope readers will find a starting point for their own creative journey, or encouragement for a long-forgotten one.
I’m so excited about your book, Staci. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said, by the way. The world would be a happier place if we’d all give ourselves permission to create. Thank you for sharing your heart with us!
Make sure to buy Flourish here: http://www.amazon.com/
Fabulous video about Flourish that must be watched, click here: http://www.flourish-book.com/