Summer Comes to Phoenix

While the rest of the country is busy settling into a much-anticipated summer; Australia (along with parts of Africa, New Zealand, Brazil and Argentina) are heading toward winter. Phoenix, however, is set on “broil.” The local joke is that Phoenix is where hell spends the summer.

For the first time in five years, one of the cacti put out a bloom this year.

For the first time in five years, one of the cacti put out a bloom this year.

Snow birds (mostly Midwesterners, Canadians and Germans who bought houses here when the prices were in the dirt) head home. The huge RVs that are parked on residential streets and serve as winter in-law apartments vanish. Suddenly, those of us who stay can get a reservation at any restaurant. Movie lines are short enough so you have a chance at staying alive while you wait to buy a ticket to a cool place. Parking places open up.

The blossom lasts one night. Until it bloomed, I had no idea the cactus is an organ pipe cactus, dangerously far North for winter survival

The blossom lasts one night. Until it bloomed, I had no idea the cactus is an organ pipe cactus, dangerously far North for winter survival

And then, it is summer in Phoenix. So hot you bring a tote bag with you to carry your CDs, GPS units and anything plastic (handcream, phone chargers) into stores with you. They won’t last long if you leave them in the car. Windshields explode out of their frames, shattered by the temperature difference between air conditioning on high and the direct sun. Between the two of us, we’ve gone through five windshields in five years.

agave1My favorite plants to watch are the giant agaves that bloom just once in their lifetime, so they make it worth the effort.

agave2They start by sending up a long stalk, anywhere from 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) tall. The stalk is nubby, and then, almost overnight, it is covered in yellow blossoms.

agave3And I do mean covered. In yellow blossoms.

agave4The stalk and blossoms stay beautifully in bloom for two to three weeks, feeding bees, hummingbirds, and fruit-eating bats at night. And then, before they die, they sprout the next generation up and down the enormous stalk. The tender shoots drop off, complete with the long “hairs” you see. Birds use the hairs as nesting material, and the agave goes with it, slowly growing. Other plantlets hitch a ride on coyotes or bobcats and are scattered into the ground, where they set root. Some just drop and tumble into a new home.

deadagaveThe original plant dies. Even that is an elegant sunburst of neutral colors. Here in the desert, there are few plants that bloom in summer. It’s our gray season, our stormy, humid seasons. We get Monsoon Rain storms that bring us half a year’s worth of rain in eight weeks. We get dust storms. Each summer several tourists die while hiking because they don’t believe the heat or the power of the heat. When it’s 117 degrees F (47 degrees C) you don’t want to be exerting yourself. So we estivate. Estivating is the summer version of hibernating.

We stay inside, we swim in too-hot pools, and we wait for September. At night, when you swim in the pool, your face can feel both the coolness of the night sky and the warmth of the heat radiating from the brick wall. A small gift in the hot season.

A full moon hangs in the palm tree

A full moon hangs in the palm tree

–Quinn McDonald waits for summer with a sadness she discovered only in this climate.

Creativity: Light and Dark

The guy looked like Grizzly Adams without the smile, but complete with suspenders and wild beard and hair. I worked in a very conservative company as the marketing  VP of writing, and he was a freelancer, hired for his creativity by my boss, who found the non-corporate look exotic on an outsider.

Sometimes creativity discovers new worlds, sometimes creativity discovers empty galaxies. Photo credit: JimKSter

Sometimes creativity discovers new worlds, sometimes creativity discovers empty galaxies. Photo credit: JimKSter

Getting to the point, I loathed him. He sent in assignments on his own time schedule, often handing work directly to my boss, so I didn’t know it had arrived.  He  made fun of me for sticking to a schedule. He told huge tales (none of them verifiable) of amazing deeds in the service of his country,  implying shadowy connections to black helicopters and secret missions. He had scars to show, both physical and psychological. Frankly, to me, the scar looked like a Sunday morning bagel cutting accident. He insisted it was from hand-to-hand combat is a dangerous country where even the air was deadly.

He got a lot of attention for being “creative.” His bad behavior and poor social skills didn’t matter because he saved my boss from daily tedium. For my boss, relief  balanced the havoc wreaked on every project he touched–an the clean-up was my job. All-nighters to create salvageable content  meant little to my boss, who waved to me as she went home at 5 p.m. With wide eyes, she re-told stories of how the creative genius slept, as he claimed, on the floor with a knife under his pillow. War scars, you know.

My boss adored him and slyly suggested I was jealous. Maybe. They paid him a lot more than they paid me. In more than one case I said, “Please let me hire someone who is not quite as eccentric and a lot more reliable.” It never happened. He gave creativity a bad name. He’s long out of my life, but the incident reminded me: there is a dark side of creativity. And it’s not always bad or weird.

Creativity is often describes as a light, cheerful gift. Not always.  Mondo Guerra (Season 8 of Project Runway) nailed it when he publicly  said “I feel like this gift and talent is a curse to me sometimes.” In a corporate setting, creativity can easily be considered a mental aberration by a supervisor. Creatives can feel like outcasts in an environment where creativity is directly related to ROI.

Creativity has deep roots in unhappiness with the status quo. With willingness to go against the grain. With certainty of purpose. With the idea that the creative ideas are better than what exists now. That’s tough when your culture values individuality only if it fits in with what already exists.

Creativity has roots in “other-ness.” There’s a lot of responsibility attached to it.  While risking reputation for an uncertain result, the creative has to explain how the result is useful and why the risk is worthwhile. And, of course, sometimes the creative is wrong, and the risk taken can make the job vanish.

Creativity is absolutely how change comes into the world, but it is not the preternaturally cheery, holy, shamanic gift it’s painted to be. It has a dark, difficult, mean side, and that needs to be honored, too. It’s not for everyone or every place. When you choose the light, you choose the dark. One does not exist without the other. In fact, knowing dark is how we recognize light.

-Quinn McDonald is a writer and creativity coach. Last night she had a dream about the Grizzly Adams guy. She’s still not over the experience.

Photo credit: JimKSter through Creative Commons.

The Objective Correlative

That headline alone will cause me to lose half my readers. Still, I press on.

Wheat Field taken by Angel Villalba

Wheat Field taken by Angel Villalba

Every artist and writer has been asked, “What does this [poem, story, artwork] mean? What were you thinking when you created it?” Often, the artist struggles through an awkward self-revelatory answer that disappoints the listener, who had a private idea that wasn’t honored.

It is the moment for the Objective Correlative. It’s a term that serves as a measure of success of a creative work. A work that has an objective correlative allows each viewer (or reader) to become a participant in the art. Each person brings a private vision of understanding to artwork.  The viewer applies the metaphors to his or her own life, and it makes sense. Each person brings a personal vision, and although there are many personal visions, each one works with the meaning of the art.

Hmm, not clear enough. Let’s use an example. Laura Crozier is a Canadian poet. In her book, Inventing the Hawk, she has a series of poems on angels. One of them, “The Motionless Angel” (on p.54) is about a horse standing  motionless in a snowstorm. He becomes white on the side facing the snow and remains black on the other; the dark is so intense that

” . . .anything could walk
right through it
and disappear. “

One person reading those lines will remember the skin-searing winters of their childhood. Another person will remember a relationship with a person who owned a horse and who loved the horse more than the person. A third person will remember a relationship which ended after a midnight walk during which her companion said something that made her feel invisible. Each one of those people is experiencing the objective correlative. And if the poem is well written, it will support all of the different ideas all the way through.

What the writer meant is not nearly as important as what the reader can understand. That’s the great gift of the Objective Correlative. The term was invented by T. S. Eliot, who wrote The Wasteland.  I simplified Eliot’s explanation, and I hope he forgives me.

If you share your art, and someone asks “what did you meant by that line?” or “Why did you take this photo this way?” you can smile and ask what it means to the viewer. It’s the opening to a far more interesting conversation than trying to explain yourself.

Here’s a wonderful poem from Laura Crozier:

The Dead Angels

The angels lie down
in he field. That delicate
rustling is not the wind
playing the thin pipes of wheat,
but the angels’ feathers,
their dead wings.

You can’t see them, but listen
when you check your crops,
the wheat so golden
it seems to float above the ground.

What a beautiful
sad sound they make,
all those feathers
remembering the wind.

–Quinn McDonald is discovering the love of poetry all over again.

Making The Commonplace Journaling

We’ve talked a lot about Commonplace Journals, and I thought it might be a good idea to show you mine. The purpose of a Commonplace Journal is to record items you need to remember, everything from the name of a book to an idea for a future art project. It’s not formal, it’s not meant to show to others or as a brag book. It’s your memory, your imagination, and the garden of your muse.

To hold my Commonplace ideas, I bought a hand-made journal from Val Bembenek. She makes wonderful, traditional Japanese-bound journals, about 8-1/2 inches  x 5-1/2 inches, with horizontal orientation. Val ties non traditional buttons on the front as decoration. She also uses paper bags as covers.  (You can buy them from her via email, too.) This one has a wine bag front cover and a bread bag back cover. Perfect combination!


I’m not showing you the front page, which is the same in all my books–the two crossed, curved arrows, and my email address so I can get the book back if I lose it. Because I travel with my Commonplace Journal, it has to fit in my bag. I generally put items in with a glue stick (which I normally hate, but hey, when you are on the road, you have to use what you have).


On the left side is the map to the hotel I was staying in. The hotel was great, with a fridge and microwave, but the complex was, well, complex. Thank goodness for the map. On the right side is information about the kinds of paper we made ad two samples. The page is dated, so I know when I made the papers.



While I was in Tucson taking the class, I stopped by an art store and bought some Neocolor II watercolor crayons by Caran D’Ache. On this page I rubbed the crayons and then showed the color and texture, both wet and dry and wrote the name and number next to it. If I buy some more (I may not be able to resist), I’ll have the number of the ones I already have, and I’ll add the new ones to this page.


When I went to Las Cruces, someone was handing out flyers for Earth Day. This was a good way to get the date right and remind me of the activities I participated in–including a film festival.

DemoPageThe ticket for the film festival is on the left, and a bit about the interesting documentaries about life along the backbone of travel (the Camino Real) in early New Mexico. On the right are the parking lot tickets for the days I was demonstrating at The Women’s Expo in Phoenix. I created marbled papers for Arizona Art Supply (and I’ll be doing local demos in June and July and teaching there in July, August and September!) More about that later this week.

You can see that this is a notebook is the real sense of the world. There is nothing beautiful about it, but it is practical and useful.

newpaperPageOne of my big rants is young girls dressed up to be sexy. I found a great quote in the paper from a mother who addresses her daughter’s threat that she will just change to the clothes she wants to wear after she arrives at school. That’s on the left, with some marbled paper. On the right is a quick collage I put together with some phrases about the underwear women wear as outerwear and the stiletto with the phrase “it pays” as part of the image. It was satisfying to make the collage, although the composition is not excellent design.  The pages can be cut up to use in another collage. Great way to store pre-made design elements.

KettleSTitchHave you ever tried to remember where you saw that article you need now? You can remember the side of the page it was on, but not the book or magazine. I’ve lost hours thumbing through my iPad, books and magazine stash, looking for that phrase, reference, or stitch. I’m working on a book of handmade papers, but it’s number four on my to-do list. I’ll need that kettle stitch to hold the signatures together. So I drew out the part of the stitch I forget, then added the page number and name of the book so I can find it when I need it.

BackcoverThe back cover of the book. I have many pages to write on before it’s done, but when it’s filled, it will be a useful reference book as well as reminder of when I did what.

If you are keeping a Commonplace Journal, leave a link in the comments, so we can visit others as well!

-Quinn McDonald is enjoying Memorial Day weekend in art projects. But she’s getting back to work on Monday. She’s a ghost writer for several blogs, and they are due this week.

Creative Weekend Links

Note: Congratulations to Jen from Pierced Wonderings–she’s the winner of Eric Maisel’s book, Making Your Creative Mark.  For those who did not win this book, there will be another book give-away this week. Stay tuned!

Need a template for an envelope? You can download several sizes and styles here.

From the studio of Ana

From the studio of Ana Ter Haar.

The street artist Levalet paints on kraft paper with India Ink and then uses wheat paste to attach the scenes in urban areas. The result is interesting black-and-white scenes in startling city settings.

Erdal Inci is an animator who creates using video talents. He develops gifs that are both fascinating and slightly sinister. He clones images of people and then animates them to create mesmerizing repetitive gifs.

Daniel Sierra is a digital video artist who created a video on sine waves–the waves seem to move mildly at first, then they begin to get more alive, flick dust and smoke. His video, Oscillate, is mesmerizing.

Anna Ter Haar designs functional furniture and fashion accessories that drip. Glass. The colors against the wood look both soft and pliable.

Have a creative weekend!

Quinn McDonald is going to spend part of the weekend reading poetry books and searching for a ripe honeydew melon.


Book Review and a Giveaway

CreativeMarkNote: Congratulations to Jen from Pierced Wonderings–she’s the winner of Eric Maisel’s book, Making Your Creative Mark.

Making Your Creative Mark is Eric Maisel’s 40th book, and his 20th on working with the difficulties creative people have with their work. “Most likely you know how often you stall, block, and give up. Most likely you understand that the art marketplace is a difficult place. Most likely . . . you fret about. . .how often your discipline eludes you,” says Maisel. The nine keys in his book are his answer and solution to the common stumbling blocks artists come across.

Title: Making Your Creative Mark: Nine Keys to Achieving Your Artistic Goals

Author: Eric Maisel, Ph.D. (Therapist, creativity coach, blogger for Psychology Today magazine).

Details: Paperback, 226 pages, New World Library.

Book Chapters:

  • The Mind Key –“mind your mind” –thinking thoughts that serve your creativity
  • The Confidence Key–how confidence relates to the creative process
  • The Passion Key–how to develop the interest required to face the rigors of being creative
  • The Freedom Key–how to nurture and support a life in the arts
  • The Stress Key–how to deal with creative stress
  • The Empathy Key–how to remain aware of others on the creative path
  • The Relationship Key–how to navigate relationships in the arts
  • The Identity Key–who are you, really?
  • The Societal Key–how do you show up in your world?

What I Like: Maisel is a master at keeping you in action. If you are the list-loving, check-it-off-as-I-do-it creative, you will love Maisel’s book. (In Meyers Briggs, you are a highly expressed “J”). He gives you tips, steps, and a no-excuse approach. For many people, this is a great way to get where you are going. You focus on the goal, and then march toward it with Maisel’s ideas at hand.

He’s a clear writer. No jargon, no rambling. Maisel writes smooth, declarative sentences and this books is direct and easy to understand.

fish climbing up fish ladder. Hard work, but the only way he will get to spawning grounds.

Fish climbing up fish ladder. Hard work, but the only way he will get to spawning grounds.

Maisel is also practical and down to earth. No woo-woo, no waiting for the Universe, you build it yourself.

Along the way, Maisel gives a lot of examples that read like feature stories and make his ideas move from theory to real life situations. It helps you create a vision of the actions you could be taking.

What I don’t like: Some of the examples leave you hanging in mid-action. After three pages of reading  about Maisel coaching a reluctant and recalcitrant Marsha who is avoiding dealing with a gallery owner who likes her work, Marsha refuses to take any action and says, “I’m really difficult, aren’t I?” To this, Maisel adds, “Had we made any progress? Marsha was certainly not a changed person. . . I  would have bet that a seed was planted. . . . I had high hopes for our next meeting.”  And then we never hear about Marsha again. While it is absolutely true that many clients take a long time to take action, I’d like to hear about the coaching Maisel does that works now. Because the book expects you to behave quickly, too.

There are moments when the steps, tips, and how-to’s don’t quite answer the question (at least not for me). It’s a bit as if he were a diet coach (he’s not) and said, “Eat less, exercise more” and then tells you to eat less breakfast, eat less lunch and eat less dinner. Oh, and exercise more. I will freely admit that what I want is a little more emotion, a little more soul.

I’m not sure if my next “don’t like” is jealousy or the humility I learned as a child: By page 14, he’s mentioned three of his other books as recommended reading. I know you have to market yourself, but it made me feel slightly uncomfortable. If I like an author, I’ll immediately look up his other books on my own.

Giveaway: Leave a comment telling me you’d like to read the book, and I’ll hold a drawing on Saturday, May 25,  to give the book away.

Disclosure: Eric Maisel was my teacher when I was becoming a life coach and becoming certified as a creativity coach. I’ve read many of his books, but have over time drifted from his circle of influence as I developed my own path.

Leave a comment and form your own opinions by reading his book!

Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach who believes all sorts of wild things that other people don’t agree with, either.

The Value of Slow

You have an idea. It’s a great idea. You gather materials and carry it out. It doesn’t work. You give up. What made you think that would work, anyway? Your inner critic urges you to move on, to give up. You can’t do it anyway. If you had real talent, you would have gotten it right the first time.

slowmotionwaterburst_1920x1080If you are a freelance writer, your client doesn’t understand the purpose of a draft. “Why can’t you just give me what I want?” If you are a visual artist, you prepare backgrounds ahead of time, so you can race through the process and finish. Pity. Art, like life, isn’t about getting through it to get it over with.

All that speed doesn’t allow you to learn a damn thing. Cutting your losses doesn’t teach you anything except how to cut.

There is a huge benefit to doing things slowly. We live in a super-fast culture, but it’s the same culture that doesn’t like mistakes, that encourages blamestorming as a fair shot in competition.

What’s the benefit of slowing down?

You can anticipate. Slowing down let’s you think before you act. You can think through the next several steps to see if they are what you want. There is a real joy to creative obsession. Delighting in something and planning how it will work.

Slowing down saves time. Anticipating helps you plan more than one step ahead, create a Plan B, and discover options. Solving some problems you discover along the way, before they occur. All that saves time. Saving time reduces anxiety and possibly money. All because you slowed down.

Practice helps you get it right. Slowing down allows you to practice your steps before you have to do them. Practicing anything, from a piano concerto to a speech, makes you better at it. “Winging it” will just result in making your mistakes public. Slow down. Practice. Then when you do it, it will work, and you will know how come it worked. That allows you to do it again–the right way.

Slowing down slows time down. When time slows down, you see more and you understand more. The more you understand, the more you learn, the more you can use what you know.

Excellence takes time. No one was born an expert. You are not the exception. When you do things step by step you can see mistakes, often before you make them. You have more time to do each step, if you aren’t racing. John Wheeler, the physicist, said, “Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.” Luciano Pavarotti said, ““People think I’m disciplined. It is not discipline. It is devotion. There is a great difference.”  Take advantage of time.

-Quinn McDonald is a writer, journaler, and creativity coach. She is devoted to each in different ways.


Replacing Google Reader

Google Reader is going away on July 1.  Sigh. Worse, my Google Reader page already vanished.  OK, I had too many blogs, and not enough of the blogs I really wanted to read, but it seemed harsh when it suddenly quit working on me.

It's all in here. © Quinn McDonald, 2013. Ink and collage on etching paper.

It’s all in here. © Quinn McDonald, 2013. Ink and collage on etching paper.

I looked at several other platforms to read blogs, and I am the wrong demographic for them. I don’t want to share blogs I’m looking at on Facebook, and I don’t want to Tweet my comments to bloggers. So I found a site called, appropriately enough,  The Old Reader, which I like. It allows you to scan the images on blogs, rather than have to open each blog in a separate window.

So I’m starting over again, finding new blogs and trying to remember old favorites.  But first, I have that workbook to write and then. . .be still my beating heart, the extra poetry books I ordered arrived today! And the combination of the love of books and the loss of the poetry book seemed to spur the letter collage for today.

Wow, came in under 200 words!

-Quinn McDonald loves making collages out of typography. Among other things.

The End of the Angry Quilt

A few months ago I wrote about the mystery of the quilt my mother wouldn’t make for me. She stopped and started the quilt for more than 20 years. The part of the story that confounded me was that for the years my mom was in dementia care and in the years since she died, no one has been able to complete the quilt. People want to take it, but once they have it, their energy wanes.

Double wedding ring quilt, from SarcasticBlogger

Double wedding ring quilt, from SarcasticBlogger

Something happens to each person who offers to work on the quilt. Months or years after I hand the quilt over, I get it back, stuffed into a black trash bag and handed back quickly, as if it were an illegal transaction. Or one of mourning.

After I wrote about the quilt, many readers made kind and thoughtful suggestions (you can read that blog post here) of what I should do with the quilt. Some offered to make me a new quilt, which was touching and amazing to me.

There were also a few mothers with difficult daughters who wondered if I might have been on the other end of the perspective. Maybe.  And at the end, I promised to tell you what I would do with the quilt.

I’ve thought about it for a long time. Here’s what we know: The colors (Williamsburg blue and milk chocolate brown with touches of ivory and burnt orange) are not a palette I’d choose. (Notice I’m not saying it wouldn’t match my walls or the couch–I don’t think art has to do that). The calico my mother used was not the cotton of today, and the fabric has degraded over the years.

I took the quilt to meditation and was struck by three shockingly clear facts:

1. The proof, rather than the quilt, was what I was after. I wanted my mother to love me, and prove it by making me a quilt. She made quilts for so many others, why not me? That idea set many years ago, and I never questioned it. When I did, the answer was–my mother did not finish the quilt. I need to accept that as I have accepted the other truths that didn’t taste great the more I chewed on them.

2. If the quilt were finished, what, exactly, did I want to do with it?  I did not want it to cover my bed. Don’t like the color, the design is incomplete, and it would be a reminder of the whole story of loss, every day.

3. The fate of the quilt would be to lie folded in a box in the garage, degrading some more until I pass it on to a relative whose history it doesn’t fit, and who does not need to continue the story.

It took a long time for me to mourn what I did not have and to decide on the next step. Part of my business is designing rituals for others. I join people in marriage or commitment; create and perform sacred ceremonies; end of life transitions; house selling, moving and new home blessings; even new job celebrations. What I needed was a ritual for letting go of the quilt. Vicky, one of my readers, has left the comment, “Burn it.” When I read it, I was shocked. And I knew she was right.

images-1The quilt has served its purpose, and it is time to transition the quilt to another use. I am going to bundle it up, write a letter to my mother, releasing her go of the obligations to complete this quilt or  prove she loves me. I will then burn the quilt and letters and save the ashes. The ashes will be mixed with water-soluble varnish and distilled water and become ink. I’ll use the ink to record the history of the quilt in a journal. My mother was the quilter. I am the writer, and the quilt will find a purpose in the way I know how to use it. The lessons of the quilt can be passed on

  • No one can be forced to love you.
  • “If you loved me you would. . . .” is a sentence that is about control, not love.
  • Loving yourself starts when you accept yourself and know you cannot change the past. Everything else comes after that.

When the day comes to burn the quilt, I will invite people to create their own ceremonies of letting go–of failed love, of regret, of a loss that won’t heal. Whether you burn old love letters or set your sorrows afloat, tied to a stick that you drop into a river, it will be a day to celebrate your own strength.

Take photos and write your stories, and we will create a blog chain of support and celebrate the power of letting go. I’m thinking that October is a good month to do this. I’ll remind you from time to time about your plan, so you will be ready. It will feel incredible light and right to let go.

–Quinn McDonald is a creativity coach and writer. Her word for this year is “let go.”

Look Where You Want to Go

I ride a motorcycle. Before I bought the first one, I took a class on how to ride safely. (If I’m going to do something that’s inherently dangerous, taking a class first makes sense). Our class was a motley crew of geezers, younger punks, wealthy touring bike-types and regular people who like to ride.

In these standardized safety classes, you don’t bring a bike, you ride a small provided bike. I had the odd feeling that these bikes were confiscated or had been ridden into an accident. Bent fenders, scrapes and odd color combinations attested to hard use. I was on a tiny, banged up model. I felt like a bear on a bike.


Helmets are expensive, but wear one anyway. Neurosurgery is more expensive.

Class rules demand that everyone wear a helmet, gloves, heavy jeans, a jacket, and boots above the ankle. Did I mention the class was August in D.C.? Even at 7 a.m., we thought we were taking lessons in a dog’s mouth.

The instructor said, “Now we are going to learn how to go around corners and make sharp turns. How do you think we do that?” Half the class turned the handlebars and  promptly fell over. A non-moving bike likes to lie down. That often comes as a surprise to the rider.

The instructor rolled his eyes, and said, “Never turn the *&$%&^% handlebars to go around a corner! You LOOK where you want to go. The bike will follow. Always. Look. Where. You. Want. To. Go.”

He was right, of course. When we look ahead to where we want to go, our body automatically makes small adjustments to get us there. On a bike, you lean into the curve, and your hand and arm closest to the turn automatically pushes the handlebars down on that side, guiding the bike through the curve.

Creativity works the same way. We make tiny decisions that take us where we look. We press down, our thoughts go where we look. That’s why it’s important to look ahead where you want to go creatively. Because looking at failure is as easy as looking at success. But failure is a very different trip.

What are you looking at on your journey today?

-Quinn McDonald rides a motorcycle. She’s also a creativity coach. Those two facts are more closely related than is obvious.