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Creative Legacy, Gratitude and a Call to Action

Creative Mood Boosters

Last week, I was interviewed by Gasia Mikaelian of KTVU San Francisco (taped, not live), sharing creative mood boosters. At the end of the interview, when the recording was off, we chatted about the coincidence of both wearing a camel colored top (and both of us for the first time!), as well as reflected on some of the “mood boosters” I shared in the interview, particularly that of gratitude.

Grandma's creative legacy
Grandma Lily

I had shared a photograph of my Grandma Lily, with whom I grew up in a two family house in Rego Park, NY. Of course we didn’t have time for me to share how Grandma and I often hung out in her bedroom in the evenings with our German Shepherd Bambi and watched nature shows, Merv Griffin and Dick Cavet. It’s only now as I type that the memories flood back, how Grandma taught my siblings and me to bake Viennese treats, how her eyes lit up when she laughed. I think Grandma’s creative legacy was her baking; she made the most delicious linzer cookies, vanillekipferl, and Sacher torte.

Gratitude

After the interview, Gasia noted how much she loved the picture of Grandma, which I shared as an expression of gratitude. She said that one positive of this pandemic has been time with her family and having more meaningful daily interaction with her two boys.  

My Mom’s Creative Legacy

Gasia also asked about the watercolor painting by my late mother that I mentioned in the interview. When I look at the wall above my computer at my mom’s painting of beach, sand, wave and sky, I feel like I am back in New Brunswick, Canada, on Fundy Bay where we spent our summers. Afternoons spent painting with my mom and sister are some of my fondest memories and I feel grateful for that creative time together.

The painting that hands in my office above my desk. Excuse the unavoidable reflections!

After my mom died, a woman from the Unitarian church mom belonged to organized a show of all Mom’s paintings that church members had bought over the years, as well as the beautiful hand-painted watercolor cards Mom had given to many of her friends. My dad also contributed a number of paintings to the show.

When I thought of the many people who live with those paintings and continue to find joy in them, I became aware of the powerful legacy my mom left behind through her creativity. Mom was a prolific painter. When I encouraged her to raise her prices she told me, “I want everyone to be able to afford a painting, no matter their means.”

Elizabeth Tener, Beach Scene
Another of my mom’s paintings that hangs in our home.

When my son and I returned home from the art exhibit by ferry, as we looked out to New London, we saw the most magnificent sky I’ve ever seen in my life–full of reds, oranges, blues. We could see the purple gray sheets of rain over New London, but no rain elsewhere. I felt like my mom had painted this exotic and dramatic sky for us. She loved painting skies.

What’s Your Creative Legacy and What Difference Can You Make Today?

Lisa Tener being creative
When my sister visits, we paint on the beach and think of our mom. Thanks, Mom! And Sara!

During this time of pandemic, gratitude and creativity can lift our mood. Even more, when we share our gratitude and creativity we can uplift others. I invite you to tell the people you love how grateful you are for them today! Don’t wait. I also invite you to think about how you can use your creativity to support others during these challenging times. It may be through art, music or–of course–your writing. Don’t put it off. This is the perfect time to make a difference in the world!

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

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