The Practice of Creativity

Posts Tagged ‘Heidi Moore
















When I opened my email this week, I saw a wonderful message that said I was nominated for two blogging awards. What a fantastic feeling! I started this blog a few years ago to create a place where I could share insights about how people can practice creativity ‘smackdab’ in the middle of their life. The blog has been a place that I’ve grown as a writer and found a lovely community of other creative folk.

The rules of accepting these awards are as follows:

-Give a shout out to the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog. Thanks Edith O Nuallain! Her fabulous blog is In A Room of My Own. You rock! I hope good karma follows you around like a happy puppy.

I also want to thank the readers and supportive friends, over the years, that encouraged me to keep writing on my blog.

-Tell everyone seven things about yourself (see below)

-Nominate seven bloggers for these awards and let them know they’ve been nominated (see after the seven things about me)

Seven Things about Me

1) My writing life keeps me sane and grounded. I also write, of course, because I am deeply in love with literature. I’m driven to discover if I can create that magical out of body and time sensation for a reader that I feel when reading.

2) I write speculative fiction with a literary sensibility. I’m finishing a second draft of a novel and collection of short stories. I’m also working on a book about my approach to creativity.

3) I am obsessed with pugs and collect many pug themed items including pug cards, pug calendars, and a pug ‘piggy’ bank. I also share a home with Ginger, a silver pug.

4) I started my creativity coaching practice in 2004. It’s called The Creative Tickle® and most people smile when they hear or read the name (I bet you’re smiling now). The idea came to me after I woke up from a dream and it felt perfect. The name exemplifies my approach to creativity– easeful, accessible and joyful.

5) I’ve fantasized about writing under different names. In my 20s I wanted to write under the name Aja Pennybone and in my 30s it was Michele Instar. The word ‘instar’ is used to describe a developmental phase of anthropods. Now, I spend more of my time actually writing (as opposed to daydreaming of fame and fortune), and am proud to use my full name Michele Tracy Berger.

6) As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed quite an aversion to elevators. When traveling, I ask the hotel to accommodate me by putting me on a low floor (sixth floor or below). I spend so much of my time avoiding elevators and roaming stairwells, I think I could write a memoir. You wouldn’t believe what goes on in hotel stairwells!

7) I traveled to India, with my partner Tim, in 2010.

Seven Bloggers You Should Know

I’m attracted to the depth and insight of a writer’s blog. I’m always looking for a complicated imagination as expressed through analysis, insight and good writing. Simply said, I don’t like a lot of fluff. Here are my nominations for seven terrific bloggers. I’m always eager to read what they share.

1) Heidi Moore at Heidiwriting

2) Kelly Hashway at Kelly Hashway

3) Ananda Leeke at Author Ananda Leeke’s Blog

4) Julie Farrar at Julie Farrar, Traveling Through

5) Becky Green Aaronson at The Art of an Improbable Life 

6) Kiersi Burkhart  at The Prolific Novelista

7) Valerie Nieman at Valerie Nieman v 3.o


Guest Post by Heidi Moore

I’ve just fallen into literary love with a writer I assumed was brand new, Edith Pearlman.When I finished reading her short story, “Tess,” I put down my iPad and sat still for a moment with the intense feeling it left me. It’s a difficult sensation to describe to those who haven’t yet learned to love the short story. The sensation feels as though an important truth about one corner of the whole world has been encapsulated in an exquisite, but simple, jewel that I have just held in my hands, and I want to know how it is possible the author could have constructed something so precious there.

Anyone who wants to know how to write, or even read, a short story would wisely begin with Pearlman. One reason her stories are so remarkable is Pearlman writes amazing sentences; these are sentences that tell a story as much as the plot itself conveys meaning. For instance, in “Rules,” Donna, a woman who works at the day-shelter, hands Ollie, a mother, diapers. Donna knows she urgently needs them; as soon as she hands them to Ollie, she knows that a couple of diapers cannot possibly fill the gulf of need, so then she just hands Ollie the whole box. The narrator explains: “Donna gave Ollie both money and Pampers, and was rewarded by a mammoth embrace that made her grin—it was so easy, so emphatic, so momentarily sincere, so ultimately meaningless” (190). Within a single sentence, we understand the subtleties of an emotionally complex transaction that another writer might take a paragraph to describe.

For those of us who want to emulate Pearlman, it is important to know that this kind of writing does not happen in an afternoon: Great sentences are hard won. Pearlman told interviewer Daniel Jaffee of BiblioBuffet, “Each short story takes several weeks (five days a week, about four hours a day) to write, in many, many drafts, all on the typewriter. The nth draft then marinates in a drawer while I work on the next story or piece. […] So each story takes about a month and a half in total time.” I will post this timeline near my computer, so I remember not to rush my creative process so much. Pearlman is a great example.

Pearlman’s plots are also worthy to emulate. “Tess,” a first-person account from the point of view of the mother of a severely disabled two year-old child in the hospital on life support is complex. The mother describes circumstances around Tess’s birth and her own life difficulties: “When I had to leave the Sea View a month before the baby because of some law about lifting and stuff, Billie said not to worry. I could come back whenever I was ready” (95).  In alternate passages she describes the services Tess requires from her many different health care providers: “[H]er friends know she cannot hear, but they talk to her anyway, for to see faces in action, lips moving, is instructive for Tess, according to the neuro-audiologist” (97). The action leads up to our being convinced that Tess’s mom is a deeply caring parent, who, though she may not be well educated, is doing the best she can to advocate for a daughter who may not have much hope of recovering. Pearlman is masterful at developing the roomful of characters who manage Tess’s care, and at building tension; plainly, Tess is going to die. What is not clear is what will be resolution of the story when the mother goes to the windowsill to retrieve the toy she thinks is Tess’s favorite: “The red floppy dog. They always forgot it. I put it in a corner of the crib.Then I unscrewed the end of the heart tube from the aqua clothespin and slipped it under the blanket so the blood would pool quiet and invisible like a monthly until there would be no more left” (105). It is an emotional ending, but one that causes the reader a genuine heart-stopping moment, a mixture of grief, disturbance, and relief.

This precise feeling brought me immediately back to the title page of Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories, and I wondered how I could have missed being a fan of this writer who has been publishing award-winning literary fiction for three decades. Then I knew I wanted to share her with everyone I could. What better occasion than Women’s History Month?

Just this month, on March 8, 2012, Pearlman’s short story collection won the National Book Critics Circle award for fiction.  Binocular Vision also won the 2011 PEN/Malamud prize for outstanding short fiction and was nominated last fall for the National Book Awards. Individual stories have won numerous awards in the past as well.

Edith Pearlman is a true gem, a woman writer worth modeling oneself on.


Jaffee, Daniel.  “Talking Across the Table.  Edith Pearlman:  An Interview.”  (11-13-2011). BiblioBuffet.com (3-15-2012).

Pearlman, Edith; Ann Patchett (2011-01-11). Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories (p. 190). Lookout Books. Kindle Edition. (3-16-12).

Pearlman, Edith reading at the 2011 National Book Foundation Awards.

Heidi R. Moore

Heidi R. Moore is a writer and artist, a former college writing and literature professor who is now working on a memoir and painting watercolor and acrylic paintings. She also writes a blog,

Heidi went to the Goddard College MFA writing program, where she studied with Mark Doty, She earned a Ph.D. in American Studies, with an emphasis in Film and American Popular Culture.

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Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

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

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