The Practice of Creativity

‘Love Your Creative Self’ Series: How Fully Do You Embrace Your Gifts?

Posted on: February 10, 2012

Creativity is a gift. Too many of us refuse it unwittingly. Assaulted by self-doubt, we fail to believe that it has been put into our hands. We diminish it by insisting that we should have been child prodigies. We insist its only proof is commercial gain. But the creative is a gift to us from another realm, and it comes when it comes. Deena Metzger, Writing for Your Life

I’m delighted to welcome comedy writer Merrill Disney in the ‘Love Your Creative Self’ series. She’s created an inspiring story drawing on personal insight and observation. She’s a friend from the incredible online WINS program (Write It Now with SARK), that we’ve been enrolled in for the past six months. I’ve included a prompt based on her reflection.


Tovita knew she was different. Seemed all the other girls had straight hair when hers was naturally curly; plus, her skin was darker than most in her 4th grade class. American culture should have come more naturally because she was born in Seattle and fitting in should be a birthright. Well, those who wrote the rules didn’t attend George Washington elementary school–it was sometimes tough. The Samoan way of life was open and loving but so many times, she just didn’t feel that she fit in with others. With Valentine’s Day approaching, she stewed over the box of store bought cards that her mom had purchased so she could celebrate the candy-hearted day with classmates. Once she realized that everyone may give out the same pre-packaged cartoon character love notes with not so original sayings they were no longer appealing and pondered over her choice of expression. Instead she felt even though it might be considered weird, she would write a hand-written note on red and white papyrus paper from Western Samoa stating her favorite quality of each person in her class.

Hillary, even when you don’t know the answer to Miss Allen’s question, you smile and raise your hand the next time. You encourage me to do the same.” and “Josh, my first day of school when you asked me to join your table for lunch, I thought to myself ‘now I would vote for him for the President of the United States one day.’” As she wrote, she smiled at how truly alike she really was; the differences seemed to disappear with genuine kindness toward others.

Oh, the store bought box of valentines did not go to waste, she wrote herself love notes to herself of self appreciation and kept them in her side desk drawer. The first one included “I like being different and writing my own Valentine’s cards”. However, she knew she had to come up with a clever response when her mom found all the cards addressed to her. But with her new found creative way, she knew it wouldn’t be a problem.

–Merrill Disney

This comedy writer never passes up an opportunity to share our creative differences and similarities! You can get in touch with Merrill through her assistant:

I love how Tovita uses her creativity to do something unique for her classmates (whom she feels estranged from), and also how she writes love notes to herself! That is one smart little girl! Self-appreciation and self-encouragement are skills that we often have to relearn as adults as we pursue a creative life. In the WINS class, SARK encourages us to write short love notes from the grounded wisest part of our self to our everyday self. For me this practice encourages a heightened appreciation for gentle self-regard and helps to chase away the writing blues and doubts.

Merrill’s story also reminds me that part of our journey as creative people is to learn what are our special gifts and how to share them. The following prompt encourages us to look at the idea of our gifts from a fresh perspective and is from one of my favorite writing books-Writing for Your Life:

The Gift of the Gift

One way of knowing who we are is by what we give and what we receive. Write two lists, one of gifts given, another of gifts received. Afterward, imagine that you have found both of these lists and that you know nothing about the person who wrote them. Develop a portrait of the person who emerges from this series of exchanges by examining the nature of the lists, the kinds and qualities of the gifts given and received, and their relationship to each other.

Reread the portrait. Who is this person? How does she or he resemble yourself? What new perspective does this focus offer you?

Write a piece about a particular gift you once received or you once gave. What did this gift mean? Tell a specific story that reveals the nature of the gift.

How does this story reflect on the portrait you wrote earlier?


3 Responses to "‘Love Your Creative Self’ Series: How Fully Do You Embrace Your Gifts?"

What a fantastic entry. Merrill and Michele are a fantastic team. I love your blog, Michele!

Hey Heidi! Great to see you here. You know I’m going to ask you to guest post sometime soon, right? I miss you, hope you’re tearing up the page.

Thanks! Yikes! A guest post. I hope I could live up to the fantastic prose on this site. Writing is better some days than others. The blog is really great, though. I’m finding that I like blogging better than almost anything!

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Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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