Issue #90: How to Ignite and Foster Creativity When You're Busy AF
Chatting with jewelry designer Betsy Cross.
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📚 The Guest by Emma Cline: In reading Cline’s latest novel, out today, I was reminded of how many scenes from her debut The Girls, about girls in a Manson-inspired cult, still run through my mind—girls riding in a car, having conversations in the commune’s farm. Like Didion, who Cline cites as an influence, Cline has a knack for observing niche cultures as an outsider who, in this case, is Alex, a houseless grifter with an addiction to pills, who is determined to get back together with her wealthy boyfriend before his Labor Day party on Long Island. If it sounds like the set-up for a flirty rom-com, it is not. The book doesn’t shy away from Alex’s messiness, who is unanchored while performing roles that allow her entry into the summer homes of the rich.
🎧 “Foretold” Podcast: Paulina Stevens grew up in an insular American Romani community in Southern California (a community perhaps better known by its slur, “gypsies”) where she was expected to marry young and join the family business of fortunetelling. It’s a community that prides itself on being cut off from the outside, in the name of preserving its culture. In this new L.A. Times podcast, reporter Faith E. Pinho explores the hundreds-year-old culture Stevens says she “escaped,” and the line between destiny and cultural preservation in the face of discrimination, and forced choices and insularity. Listening to the first few episodes felt like being exposed to an underground community that always existed in my hometown of L.A. just out of my line of vision, which of course it is. New episodes are out each Tuesday.
📺 “City on Fire” on Apple TV+: This eight-episode limited series centers on the murder of Sam, an NYU freshman who is killed in Central Park in 2003 (a year that made sense when I realized it’s produced by the same team who did “Gossip Girl” and “The OC”). What makes this show so watchable is the three disparate worlds Sam was entangled in, that jump between flashbacks: She’s having an affair with a wealthy husband, photographs a grungy music world downtown, and is still pined-for by her sweet high school boyfriend. The first three episodes are at times cheesy, but mostly engaging and meet the mark as a good-enough early summer watch.
As a writer and counselor, creativity is core to most things I do. I ideate and write weekly posts for Morning Person; generate interventions and treatment plans for my clients; and invent entire worlds and characters as a novelist. I’ve created a life and career that’s dependent on my ability to be constantly generating ideas which, in turn, keeps me constantly inspired and excited by what I do. It’s inevitable though that creative pursuits sometimes feel more like a slog than a spark, especially when balancing the less-exciting paperwork, emails, finances, and various to-dos that go into running a business and a life.
If anyone understands this, it’s jewelry designer Betsy Cross. Betsy has been designing for fifteen years, creating both custom work and standalone collections while running her successful (and expanding!) Portland-based company Betsy & Iya alongside her husband, Will. When I met Betsy at her shop over coffee and brioche from St. Honore, we chatted straight through the hour we’d scheduled with the ease of old friends. We picked back up a week later—this time hitting “record”—to chat about how to foster creativity, put it to work, and how we each define a creative life:
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