Meet the Pursuit of Spark team
I love creating things, whether I'm designing a radio show, writing a book, throwing a teacup on the potter's wheel, or cooking dinner for my family. In 2012 I spoke at the TED conference, which was a thrill. My book, Spark: How Creativity Works, is published by Harper.
I enjoy speaking about creativity and about how to find powerful stories, and often give talks and workshops at colleges, companies, museums, and conferences.
I also love gathering fascinating people together for great conversations, at places like The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where I host Spark Talks, and direct TEDxMet. Selfishly, that's a big reason I've created Pursuit of Spark. I'm so grateful to the talented people who have joined me in this pursuit.
Without meaning to, my life’s study turned out to be about leadership. Leading my life, co-leading in intimate relationships and partnerships, and leading in groups, organizations and institutions are all my passion. And though there are an enormous number of books about leadership- I’ve even written one- leading can’t be learned by reading. Each of us has to figure it out on our own. Yet there are ways of thinking and behaving that make leading more effective and rewarding. Discovering those things is what moves me.
As a chef, food writer, and critic, the most fun part of my work is discovering the stories behind the food. I love ferreting out ingredients that give meaning to our lives. And where better to find those ingredients than in the kitchen? So that’s where I love to sit down for conversations. In the kitchen we don't just talk about food and recipes; behind the kitchen door we also find stories and memories of relationships, family, marriage, life and death, parenting, and the creation of ritual.
I was born on the south coast of England on August 8th, 1946. Since then I have lived – and gardened -- in London, Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Millbrook, New Paltz, Woodstock, Pennsylvania, Mexico, Cape Cod, Manhattan, Provence and currently, Tuscany. I write about our life in Tuscany on my blog, Feeling Our Way Around.
I have been a secretary, housecleaner, door-to-door salesperson, waitress, teacher, dancer, back-up singer, continuity girl, radio host, composer, painter, hairdresser, therapist, and through it all I have been a writer.
I have been an alcoholic, cocaine addict and chain-smoker and am now clean and sober and smoke-free for 27 years. I have been married 5 times, divorced 4 times. I have a daughter, stepdaughter, stepson, 2 grandkids, a son-in-law, daughter-in-law and 1 mighty fine husband, #5.
I have lived in tents, trailers, rooms, apartments, houses and villas. I now live on a farm.
I have been on welfare twice and in my early 20’s enjoyed 2 residencies in a mental institution. Also in my 20’s I lost a daughter and found out I was adopted.
I dropped out of school at 15, ran away from home at 16, broke my neck at 44 and earned an MFA in Writing at 49.
I love to laugh, and I cry whenever I feel like it.
I meditate while gardening.
I am a solitude who needs occasional limelight.
I write to learn and I share my writing as a ray of hope.
I believe in the 50/50 nature of reality.
I love that, in a picture, you can capture a moment in time. I love the ability to find something uncommon in everyday objects. It's all about puzzles and patterns. You can look at a hurricane and look at a galaxy, we just need to step far enough back to see the connections.
I don't know what I'll be doing in twenty years... but I love the creative intensity of the research lab (biology), the moment when my violin piece really starts to come together, and getting emotional over the slow movements in symphonies.
I am fascinated by the way people construct stories. It's why I became a history major. Historical narrative is a constant process of construction and disruption, and it is a joy to watch it being built. Whether studying history, organizing a science fiction convention or leading a roleplaying game, I am always looking for the narrative that ties things together, the story behind everything.