Our paths intersected and within 30 seconds, I’d learned my new friend was focusing on the word “discernment” for 2016. Fate and a narrow row of folding chairs had brought me to chat with Austin’s own “Queen of Weird,” published author, and subject of an upcoming documentary, Love in the Sixties, Aralyn Hughes.
My first CreativeMorningsATX meeting was, clearly, an unqualified success.
A Creative Introduction
CreativeMornings came to my attention years ago via Rogue Running’s Steve Sisson. In fitness-minded ATX, all roads lead to running; Sisson has been variously (and sometimes simultaneously) my coach, friend, boss, and working magazine columnist. For those who don’t know him, Sisson’s a former collegiate athlete and local running coach who channels his inner guru — perhaps something all good coaches do. In Feb. 2014, I got wind that he was speaking at some new morning meeting thing. Huh.
This was an interesting intersection. I was editor in chief of local fitness publication Austin Fit Magazine and, in Nov. 2013, I’d developed a series concept around free quarterly community talks showcasing panels of experts discussing fitness-related topics, branded as AFM FitTalks. With my organizational partner-in-crime Carrie Sapp Barrett on board as emcee, I knew I had something special going on. Sisson, in fact, participated in the first AFM FitTalk (Jan. 2014), “Determine Your Distance/Script Your Success” (it was all about the process of deciding just what goal athletic event to choose).
So naturally I reached out to CreativeMorningsATX’s lead organizer Ben Thoma to see how I might connect. AFM provided attendees with an issue including one of Sisson’s articles. I signed up for CreativeMornings notifications and created a profile to register for meetings, always intending to attend but somehow never finding the time.
The world-wide topic for January was “Language,” with each of the CreativeMornings chapters in varying cities interpreting the subject in its own unique way. The Texas School for the Deaf’s lead sign interpreter Lee Godbold drew me in to the Austin meeting. There would be music and munchies, breakfast tacos and coffee provided by TacoDeli and Cuvee Coffee. Why would I pass this up?
Manifesting Creativity, Inclusion
If you come to a CreativeMornings meeting, be prepared to meet people. Perhaps you could sit quietly in a corner, but you’d miss what makes this such a joyous start to any day.
Here’s how it worked: Mixing and mingled occurred as folks moved from coffee bar (with real cups!) to breakfast taco table before selecting seats. By the time we were called to order, I’d reconnected with an acquaintance who works at local nonprofit Marathon Kids, conversed with a pianist, and met one of the organizers behind unique festival Maker Faire Austin.
Local band The Ghost Wolves woke up the crowd (how often do you get to do call-and-response with “Grandma’s a rebel/raised by the devil” before 8 a.m.?).
And then organizers stated the CreativeMornings’ manifesto.
Everyone is creative.
A creative life requires bravery and action, honesty and hard work. We are here to support you, celebrate with you, and encourage you to make the things you love.
We believe in the power of community. We believe in giving a damn. We believe in face-to-face connections, in learning from others, in hugs and high-fives.
We bring together people who are driven by passion and purpose, confident that they will inspire one another, and inspire change in neighborhoods and cities around the world.
Everyone is welcome.
After she’d finished reading, I turned to my seat mate and said, “I feel like I’ve found my church.”
Sharing Language with Lee Godbold
Godbold was an engaging speaker who thoroughly captivated her audience during the too-short presentation. That’s the rub; there’s only so much time on a work-day morning. The great news is that talks are recorded and then posted on CreativeMornings’ website. Warning: with 132 chapters worldwide, there’s a wealth of presentations to be heard, so as with TEDTalks, all sense of time disappears once you start listening.
I left the meeting thoroughly stoked, reflecting on the innate human need to connect. That’s what drives language in all its forms, which Godbold brought home through a variety of entertaining, enlightening, and often humorous anecdotes. Why we hate email and feel lonely when texting is the superficial nature of that communication — we’re interacting without humanly connecting. Misinterpretations, naturally, ensue.
Sure, I gleaned information aplenty, enjoyed learning about American Sign Language, and marveled over the art of interpretation. But what will keep me coming back is what I can only describe as a post-creative glow derived from that connective group experience.
We are all creative. We are all welcome.
Can I get an amen, brothers and sisters?