Our Q&A with February speaker, Traca Savadogo, who will be talking on the topic of Curiosity.
🎟 You can get tickets for her upcoming CreativeMornings talk here. 🎟
Traca is a catalyst whose mission is to amplify ideas and bringing people together. Described as the Seattle Freeze Buster, Traca has an innate ability to be able to talk to anyone about anything. What helps her do that? Authentic curiosity, care, and compassion. She has a proven track record of making sh*t happen. Here are just some of her ideas successfully executed: She founded a Master Class Series for documentary filmmakers, helped launched the Dinner with Your Muslim Neighbor series, and created a Women & Negotiation series in partnership with the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. Traca also works closely with Startup Grind, featuring fireside chats with leading entrepreneurs.
She is the author of an interview series called Curiosity Conversations and in 2017, was the official interviewer for TEDx Seattle.
As a writer, photographer, and world traveler, Traca’s dove with sharks, sailed with a jaguar hunter, crossed the DMZ with the Thai military, dated a secret service agent, and met a nuclear particle physicist working on the world’s largest experiment (CERN) at a hostel.
From the ordinary to the extraordinary, life’s most profound moments are sparked by curiosity.
[CreativeMornings (CM)] How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
[Traca Savadogo (TS)] For me, creativity is often a synthesis of ideas from diverse fields. Something that’s common in one field can be truly novel in another, so I’m constantly gathering ideas, linking them together over and over again.
[CM] Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
[TS] In mundane, quiet moments–like the shower, driving in my car, or early morning when I journal. For me, the less stimulus the better. It creates room for new ideas to flourish. (Earplugs are my favorite accessory.)
[CM] What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
[TS] That it’s okay to be a work in progress. You don’t have to know where you’re going before you begin. Detach yourself from the outcome. Be open to detours, curves in the road, and pivots. My friend, Crescent Dragonwagon, is an award-winning writer who has written over 50 books. When you call, her voicemail quotes E.L. Doctorow, “‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ I confess, I’ve called her many times, hoping to get her voicemail.
[CM] Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
[TS] Miguel Edwards is a photographer and a sculptor. He’s fearless about trying new things, and putting himself in situations that force his own growth. Once, he accepted a commission on a large-scale steel and glass public sculpture. He’d never done anything of that scale before and by his own admission, the math on it almost killed him. But he perservered. And now, there’s a 3 ½ story sculpture in Greenwood (on 85th across from Fred Meyer) that will outlive him.
[CM] What books made a difference in your life and why?
[TS] Listening is an Act of Love - from the StoryCorps podcast
In these brief conversations, people ask deep, and truly meaningful questions like: How would you like to be remembered? and What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life? There’s a whole list of questions on their website. Rooted in the questions are the type of answers people look for after someone has died. They try to piece together significant moments of someone’s life after they’ve gone. What’s beautiful about StoryCorps, is it provides a framework for having those kind of conversations now. It had a profound impact on me first, because they provided the framework, but most importantly, because of StoryCorps, I gave myself permission to have the kind of conversations I always longed for.
Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-Up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts - by Anna Deavere Smith
This book is incredible–especially on audio. The format is based on a series of letters from a working artist (Smith) to a student in the arts, trying to find her way. Smith addresses issues around self-esteem, confidence, procrastination, and The Man. "The Man has the power to make or break your career. You need to know who The Man is.” She’s a gifted storyteller and weaves her own experiences with no-nonsense advice that often takes years to learn on your own.
[CM] If you could interview anyone living or dead, but not a celebrity, who would it be and why?
[TS] Preston Jackson is a prolific artist, and growing up, he lived in my neighborhood. I had a paper route, and his house was the last on my route. Often he’d have the garage door open, listening to jazz, or working on his latest sculpture. He’d call out my name in a lyrical way, like I was the most incredible person on earth. He was a black belt in karate, and taught free classes to the kids in the neighborhood. Recently, I looked him up. He’s still producing work, and is highly acclaimed in the Midwest. Preston is African American and I vividly recall my dad thinking the neighborhood was going to go downhill when he moved in. That never made sense to me, because Preston was the most educated and accomplished person I’d ever met. I’d love to talk with him about his experience, and his work. He’s had a profound and long-lasting influence on me.