Owning creativity is to embrace fear

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Recently I read a quote from screenwriter Steven Pressfield that resonated: “If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends) ‘Am I a writer? Am I really an artist?’ chances are, you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly confident. The real one is scared to death.”

The quote also reminded me of wonderful and authentic remarks made by artist Teresa McHugh last fall when she accepted the annual Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Teresa said she had trouble thinking of herself as an artist. She used welding tools, wore a helmet and coveralls. For years, including the evening she received the prestigious award, Teresa had difficulty owning the title of artist.

Yet her beautiful pieces grace public and commercial spaces, homes and offices around the area. I purchased one of her table-top pieces at a charity auction several years ago, blades of grass about 3 feet tall that speak to me of summer and the fragrance of a fresh mowed lawn.

I’ve been a writer for most of my adult life. A teller of stories. I earned a good living in the newspaper business; managing a newspaper, selling advertising, writing ad copy, editorials and columns. But rarely if someone inquired would I describe myself as a writer. Ernest Hemingway was a writer. Writers write important books and novels. I tell stories. I’ve written untold thousands of words through the years, words which received awards and for which I was paid for writing, yet in my head I couldn’t own it.

I’ve never sequestered myself in a remote cabin to write for days and weeks at a time. I’ve for the most part earned a living doing things in addition to writing. And that’s where I could really connect with Teresa. She cannot not create art. I cannot not write. She is an artist. I am a writer.

Since last year I’ve served in the role of executive director of Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, surrounded by creative people every day. I’ve decided actors posses the ability to be scared to death on a regular basis. There’s nothing that strips a person bare like auditioning to be selected for a role and then to step on a stage in front of an audience to ply their craft. The critics of a writer or of a metal artist are not seated right in front of you as you create on a stage, where applause or no applause is immediate.

But at the end of a day, creative people are driven by a need to create. To paraphrase the song “Stand in the Light” by Jordan Smith ... the greatest risk we’ll ever take is by far, to stand in the light and be seen as we are.

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Brad Dugdale shot his fourth hole-in-one last week. Any hole-in-one is special but he’s now elevated to Destination Hole in One status with his latest taking place on Kona at Nanea Golf Course, hole # 11, 188 yards with a 4 iron.

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After a few days of sunshine in Hollywood while visiting a daughter and being “ladies who lunch” on the chi chi patio of The Ivy, I returned home late Monday night. On Tuesday morning I was reminded of why I love here — even though I love there, too ... on the police scanner I heard a call of PFPD officers dispatched to a neighborhood near an elementary school as a precaution, since moose were nearby. Only in Idaho.

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Things to Do: On Thursday, a one-night free family presentation of Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre’s On the Road school tour production of Across the Divide, Coeur d’Alene Public Library community room, 7 p.m.

Friday, from 5-8 p.m. is the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association’s A Chocolate Affair. info@cdadowntown.com. Also on Friday, Aspire Community Theatre’s Sweet Charity opens at the Kroc, 7:30 p.m. Show runs through February 18. Canfield Middle School silent auction/chili feed to benefit eighth-graders’ Washington, D.C., trip. 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, $5 per person.

Saturday Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy’s fourth annual Soup and Chili Cook-off, live and silent auctions. 5-8 p.m. at the school. Also on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Rathdrum Library, a free one-act performance of Girl Awake! The Annual Sweethearts Balls with Tuxedo Junction is Saturday evening at the Greyhound Park and Event Center. 6:30 p.m., ticket info 208-502-0132.

Tuesday, Feb. 13, Culture and Arts Night at Post Falls High School. Free admission but canned food donation for food bank encouraged. The PFHS Fine Arts and Language departments host. Enjoy soup to benefit the Post Falls Food Bank’s Empty Bowls program, just $7 and you keep a student-created ceramic soup bowl. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

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Happy birthday today Amanda Miller, Jim Thyssen, Lori Malin, Angel Duthie, Terry Ellis and Shawn Aldrich. Tomorrow Barb Bradley, Linda Davis, Natalie Forsyth, Pamela Thoms, Lynn Hayes, Henry Hildreth, Rocky Brockhoff and Larry O’Leary celebrate. Friday birthdays belong to Linda Wilhelm, Marc Eberlein, Brandie Shofner, Buddy Le, Marian Crumb, Greg Smith and Alta Steele. On Saturday Kiki Miller, Julia Pierce, Melanie Lambrecht, Judy Riba Nelson and Tate Merry will do the birthday dance. Carole Tabakman, Trevor Smith, Eleanora Capaul, David Clark (70!), James Shepperd, Jarryn Siebers, Jeff Carlson, Sharon Link, Gordon Leigh, Chad Salsbury and Heather Frayer take another trip around the sun on Sunday. Faith Valente, Bonnie Guindon, Kim Edmondson, Rochenda Crane, Elizabeth Glidden and Laura Wilson blow out the candles on their birthday cakes come Monday. On Feb. 13 Elmer Currie celebrates his 98th, sharing the date with Rachel Fehling, Sam Crawford, Ron Vieselmeyer, Jim Prussack, Sherry Adkins, Ken Martin and Toby Flood.

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Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email mainstreet@cdapress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.

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