Meaningful conversations from the heart of your creative spark...

Join us as we explore the thought provoking themes surrounding CreativeMornings Cleveland's monthly breakfast lecture series. Excerpts of the lecture are book ended by meaningful conversations with attendees and speakers alike.

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Muse ft. Lisa Quine

| S:1 E:21

In this episode of Wake Up Call, our theme is MUSE. Interviews were recorded at the CreativeMornings Cleveland breakfast lecture in September of 2019. Join us as we talk to Lisa Quine and attendees about the things that inspire them along their creative journey.

Lisa Quine:
It is stronger than people's perceptions of you. You're being fueled by this person or thing. It's just this force that you have to keep creating.

David Moss:
Inspiration is a mystery. Having the vision to make something out of ideas and whims, fleeting thoughts and feelings that the rarest of us can capture and mold into a form. What is the nature of this powerful force that lies just beyond our understanding and reveals itself to us in moments of clarity or emotion?

David Moss:
Does it reside in some higher plane of consciousness or is it hidden just below the surface of our everyday world? How do you quantify such a force? People have been trying to put a name to this inspiration since the beginning of recorded time.

David Moss:
The Greeks put name to it the names of goddesses. Names like Calliope, the goddess of Epic poetry, or Euterpe, the goddess of music. They are the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. And they each preside over different forms of art. They have the power regarded as inspiring a poet, artist, thinker or the like. They are the muses.

David Moss:
Today we'll talk with Gabe Pollock. Chris Anderson, and our featured guest, Lisa Quine, about their experience being creators and about some of the muses in their lives. I'm your host, David Alan Moss, and I'm glad you've joined us.

Thomas Fox:
hi, I'm Thomas Fox with Creative Mornings Cleveland. We're thrilled to have Evergreen Podcasts onboard as our official podcast partner. Evergreen Podcasts is committed to producing the best original content and engage in shows. Right now you're listening to Wake Up Call recorded on location at the monthly Creative Mornings lecture series. Enjoy.

David Moss:
Gabe, welcome to Wake Up Call. How are you this morning?

Gabe Pollack:
I'm feeling pretty good.

David Moss:
Here you are in this amazing club, 300 plus events a year. Talk about what powers your muse. Is this your muse?

Gabe Pollack:
I would say this is my muse. Thinking about it, I think there are two main muses. One which got me wanting to do something like running a venue. And that muse was back in college when I failed a class by the guy who actually performed here last night.

Gabe Pollack:
I actually hadn't seen him in about 11 years. I was a jazz trumpet major and I took a class and I failed it and it really got me thinking whether I wanted to be a performance major, and I realized I didn't want to. And so I completely changed my trajectory and at the time I hated that this professor had failed me.

Gabe Pollack:
But looking back on it, it really shaped the path I'm on today. And that ultimately led me to this job. That guy was Billy Hart who was one of the most recorded jazz drummers of all time, and he played here last night and he did not remember failing me.

David Moss:
I was going to just ask you, you've probably said, "Hey man, do you remember me?"

Gabe Pollack:
And it's the only class I did not pass. But I would say now that I am running this venue and I have to keep the day to day going, I would honestly say my muse are my regulars and the performers that play here.

David Moss:
It doesn't always make a lot of sense, but it can be easier to accomplish something if we're expected to do just that. And accountability can be a huge inspiration. That's why we're so often told to share our goals with people in our lives. In Gabe Pollock's case, he doesn't have to share much with the people walking through the doors or the people on the stage to be expected to do his job well. That daily bit of inspiration keeps Gabe motivated and keeps the bop stop running year after year.

Gabe Pollack:
Work has always been that thing that keeps me happy. And if I don't like what I'm doing, I feel like I'm going to be a much sadder person. So I want to maintain that.

David Moss:
You want to preserve the muse.

Gabe Pollack:
Exactly, there's the personal pleasures I get from my work and from muses that keep me going I guess. But one thing I think about with the Bob stop being here in Cleveland is that the work, it means a lot to other people. And I think when you think of the Bop stop's role in revitalizing this little area of Ohio city and then how that plays into revitalizing Cleveland and then people feeling good about the city they're living in, those are the bigger goals. Someone moving into an apartment next door may say, "Oh my God, there's a jazz club right across the street? I don't know much about jazz, but that is something that I want in my neighborhood," to at least have the option of going to.

David Moss:
Next, I sat down with Chris Anderson, I started by asking him about his inspirations. What does this process look like for you?

Chris Anderson:
That's a funny thing. It's changed over time. So it used to be, when I was much younger, my muse was fairly manic and it happened... When you get inspiration it happens really quickly and it's good. Especially when you're younger, but you have a hard time documenting what the muse has spoken.

Chris Anderson:
I think as time goes on, having a little bit more of a sleepy muse, something that's regular and practice and not cautious but more methodical, ends up making it less just thought and more visceral. And I think that's where most of my inspiration comes, is not recalling only mental details of things that come in, but feeling memories and listening memories and emotive memory is more than just thought memories.

David Moss:
You're sitting with other musicians, so it is way more manic at an early age. You're like, "Dude this is the thing, this is the thing." and then it comes in and you look at the next morning. "That was not the thing."

Chris Anderson:
Everybody knows minor threat when they're like 16.

David Moss:
Musees, inspiration, and the process of creating are all fluid. Nothing is static in the creation process. We can hone our skills and refine our process as we grow, both in terms of age and in our level of accomplishment.

David Moss:
While these dynamics seem to always be in play, there's one thing that hasn't changed for Chris in a long time. It's some of the kids in his life. And they're not his. Listen to this.

David Moss:
What kind of creative individuals inspire your work? They can be in another genre or another craft.

Chris Anderson:
So I'm a teacher, and actually that helps to inspire your work too. So I teach at a Waldorf school. So we start with the class in first grade and this year is my eighth grade. So I've had them this whole time, the same children. See, you can't be an expert at anything. So every year you have to learn how to do something a little new that you're uncomfortable with, and the children respond really well to your struggles as long as they see it as a struggle and a process, and not something that you get angry with.

Chris Anderson:
Some of the failures are the best parts of something that's spontaneous and new and exciting.

David Moss:
Just for some context, the Waldorf method of teaching is an educational strategy that endeavors to create well-rounded students through a broad curriculum. It includes academics, art, music education, physical education and emotional and social education.

David Moss:
The stated goal of the Waldorf method is to produce individuals able to create meaning in their own lives. The Waldorf method is similar to Montessori. However, instead of focusing on real life experiences as Montessori does, Waldorf schools emphasize imagination, fantasy. It's no surprise that method was created by Austrian scientist and philosopher, Rudolph Steiner. Big emphasis on philosopher, right?

David Moss:
And it is kind of funny to claim failure, especially seeing other's failure or struggles as a muse or inspiration. But I think Chris is right. It can be. I wonder if it's just the comfort of knowing that the process is just that, a process and it can be a fight to get through it. That's something we all need to learn, hopefully sooner rather than later.

David Moss:
And if these kids and their teacher Chris can find inspiration in each other, well that symbiosis is really beautiful.

Speaker 6:
You're listening to wake up call. We'll be right back.

David Moss:
At evergreen podcasts, we love great stories and great storytellers. We also know that life is busy. That's why Aaron [Califado's 00:09:50] podcast, seven minutes stories, is perfect for those of you that feel just like we do. Unique people, interesting thoughts, life questions and more all in a compact format that works for all of us. New episodes every Thursday. Take a listen and subscribe. Seven minute stories. Because a lot can happen in seven minutes.

Speaker 6:
You're listening to wake up call, welcome back.

David Moss:
You know what you said you never really forget your first muse. My goodness, I had to write it down.

Lisa Quine:
Oh my God, I'm so glad you liked that one.

David Moss:
And the way you presented the muse. Do you think the first muses that come are just pure passion and you can't really put them to work because you're just overwhelmed with joy and you don't know how to channel that inspiration from?

Lisa Quine:
Oh yeah, and in high school when I got my first muse...

David Moss:
When muse number one walked through the door, that tall drink of water.

Lisa Quine:
So I mean there's already a lot going on. High school is definitely one of your most formidable time periods. I had no idea what to do with myself. I was already hand lettering lyrics, but I didn't have anywhere to go for inspiration. The most popular things that were out at the time were customizing your MySpace page and your AIM profile, which is all digital artwork. In Microsoft word, they had like 20 things you could do with typography and that was it.

David Moss:
Paperclip guy, go away.

Lisa Quine:
So I wanted to hand letter, I had no idea that that was even a thing. But when I saw this booklet from Panic At The Disco, I saw hand lettering in a professional setting and I already loved the band so much, so it was just like worlds coming together. That's when I was like, "Okay, this is inspiration. This is what I needed to see and I'm going to run with it."

David Moss:
This is Lisa Klein, the guest speaker at today's Creative Mornings event. She's a creative consultant who specializes in lettering, murals, illustration and graphic design. Look her up and check out her work. You have to see the hand lettering that she's talking about. It's incredible. And listening to Lisa talk about the evolution of this passion is, I think, really inspiring to everyone here.

David Moss:
Where does the muse come from? How do we know? A lot of creatives out there like searching for that thing. Some come to this event, "Okay, where's the answer?" They need the spark. Maybe everyone's here for their muse.

Lisa Quine:
Yeah, so I think it's combination of two things. One, it's intentional and two, it's random. Sometimes you just need to take a shower, take a walk and not be in front of anything but the world or your shower head. I get so many ideas from just going on a run and just blinking and then all of a sudden it just hits you.

Lisa Quine:
So that's just one thing. I don't rely on that all the time. The intentional part is finding inspiration from things that maybe are outside of what you do. So I talked a lot about finding inspiration in music and I'm going to places where other hand lettering artists are not looking right now.

Lisa Quine:
So everyone, it gets to be a wind tunnel, and Instagram and Pinterest these days. So going outside of that to look for inspiration.

David Moss:
That's a great way of putting it. This is a point that everyone should apply in their work. Don't just look for inspiration or a muse within your own discipline. Get outside of your comfort zone. But it is good to have our go to's, the things that we know will spark something in us. That's especially important when we're stuck.

Lisa Quine:
The lettering library is now one of my biggest inspirations. That took the place of the CD booklet. And that's all on my computer and they're all digital files, but someone took the time to buy $10,000 worth of these reference books from the turn of the century, take a picture of every single page, and then sell it online. Brilliant.

David Moss:
That's something you're able to buy, the lettering library.

Lisa Quine:
Yes. Yes.

Lisa Quine:
There are 125 books included in this lettering library and I just drew all over it. It's mind boggling.

David Moss:
Ancient hand-drawn letters? Well, not ancient but...

Lisa Quine:
Almost late 1800s, early 1900s which is the sweet spot if you're into vintage lettering, it's so detailed and I don't know. I just love it. There's something about it and I think maybe it's because it reminds me of Cleveland's greatest architecture, which is from around the same time.

David Moss:
More filigree, more artistry.

Lisa Quine:
Everything just connects.

David Moss:
What about the people that are in the creative? Maybe just people in general that are still hunting for the muse? It's hard to give them advice because it's so personal.

Lisa Quine:
You're the one that's looking around for muses and if you get a random idea, it's up to you to act on it or not act on it. So I think we still have control as individuals, but it's helpful to make those connections and maybe talk about your ideas with other people.

David Moss:
Talking about and sharing ideas with others is really helpful. But there are times when we just need to work it out on our own for a bit.

Lisa Quine:
I find that reflection is super helpful. Keeping a journal when I was single helped me because I was a really emotional person. Why can't I find true love and stuff like that, but recognizing what I was doing, what was working, what was not. It was almost scientific. But, I mean no matter what you're going through and if you're creative, recognizing that this is not a great period and taking that and using that as fire to fuel your work is what I found super helpful for me. I mean, like I said, I was worried when I was happy because I was doing my best work when I was sad.

David Moss:
The more you reflect or hold up the mirror, which is always hard, you know, you'll see your muse.

Lisa Quine:
I like that. Yes. You are your own muse. I love that.

David Moss:
Being reflective and thoughtful is really important, isn't it? I suppose it is in countless ways, but very much so for creatives. We can have so many ideas flying around. Some of them are immediate and all passion energy they are ideas for right now.

David Moss:
But I really think that we also need to give ourselves the space to just be with our ideas or thoughts or music. We are complex and conflicted people, but we're also dreamers and we need space to dream.

David Moss:
Most of us don't credit Terpsichore, the goddess of dance or Thalia, the goddess of comedy up on Mount Olympus, as having inspired our latest work, but I know that we are inspiring each other, learning from and building on each other's work.

David Moss:
There are amuses all around us. They're in a painting or a song and a beautiful meal or the opening credits of a film. They're in a quilt photograph of dance or a poem. You might even find a muse in the way a garden is landscape, in the architecture of a building, or in the eyes of a person you love. So keep your eyes open, and be inspired by whatever you call your muse.

David Moss:
Wake Up Call is a production of Evergreen Podcasts. Special thanks to executive producers, Joan Andrews and Michael DeAloia, producer and audio director, Dave Douglas, story editor, Julie Fink and account manager Connor Stanch. Thanks to Two Live Crew for the use of their song Rooster available on iTunes. If you'd please like and review this program, it would really help. Learn more about this and other podcasts from evergreen@evergreenpodcasts.com.

David Moss:
Wake Up Call. Ideas that crow.

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