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Justin Foster recently spoke about how creativity is the root of our soul and his struggle to identify himself as a creative person. He opened his talk by doing something he had never done before: reading a piece of his creative writing in public. He asked us to share it with y’all, so here it is.

Do You Really Think?
Justin Foster ©2020

Do you really think
all you’re here to do is sit in a pew
or a cubicle zoo?
Lay on the couch?
Drift through life?
Lie to your spouse
About who you really are?
Do you really think
God is found in a place
Other than your heart?
That there’s only one way,
And if you don’t follow it, you’re condemned?
That we’re to follow a book of rules?
Do you really think God thinks we’re fools?
Do you really think
Going to school gives you an education?
That it’s not just indoctrination?
To live someone else’s life
Pay your taxes
Buy shit you don’t need
Paint on a smile
Do you really think
If you thought for yourself,
You’d have the same friends?
Would they reject you, shame you
Talk about you behind their hands?
Call you lost, call you crazy
Because you’re not one of them?
You are here to do something great;
Something important,
something brave.
You are a whole human with a wild soul;
A work of cosmic art.
You are free.
You are no one’s slave.

January’s global theme ROOTS will be discussed by Justin Foster.

Say thanks to our partner this month: Drumroll & Wheatsville Food Co-op

And cheers to our beverage partners: Cuvée Coffee & Rambler Sparkling Water.

Hosted at Vuka on Friday, 1/24. Details here

Please use the hashtags #CMroots & #CMATX to help the conversation grow.

Our global theme for January is ROOTS. It was chosen by our Québec chapter and illustrated by Félix Girard

A tree is made up of not only its colorful leaves, but also its bark, branches, and most of all — its roots. The roots exist to provide sustenance and a strong foundation for the rest of its body.

Examine your own ‘roots.’ When you retrace them, what do you find?

In his CreativeMornings talk, James Victore shares, ‘The things that made you weird as a kid make you great today. But only if you put it in your work.’ Identify the things that ground you and what you’ve carried with you over time. How have your roots shaped who you are today?

The start of a brand-new decade gives you the perfect excuse to dig up the old and to nourish the elements that sustain you. Courageous, creative work begins below the ground.

December’s global theme is SILENCE. It was chosen by our Montevideo chapter and illustrated by Dani Scharf. 

Please use the hashtags #CMsilence & #CMATX quietly.

As the end of the year draws near, life can get humorously hectic. We rush to finish up projects, try to squeeze in appointments with loved ones, and can easily lose track of ourselves in the process.

Is this inevitable? Or can we find ways to ground ourselves amid all the chaos? In this busy season, create moments of stillness where you can.

When silence is intentional, it is valuable and restorative. It brings us back to our senses and is essential to our holistic well-being. Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton defines quiet as a ‘presence’ and ‘think tank of the soul.’ Silence is a powerful tool that allows us to take a step back from the atmosphere around us and realign with our intentions, our hopes, and ourselves.

This December, set aside time to tune out the noise. You can go for a walk outdoors, find a cozy corner, or simply close your eyes. The magic of silence is that we can access it wherever we are.
Your beacon is the light that blazes within you, a signal made up of your values, dreams, and priorities.

The essayist Anaïs Nin put it best when she wrote: “The unknown was my compass. The unknown was my encyclopedia. The unnamed was my science and progress.”

Shine your light. Ask for help and let go of the idea that you have to make a perfect choice. You may feel lost, but you are not alone.

Let’s go on a field trip!
We’ve got one special #CMfieldtrips planned for you this Friday 11/22:

TEMPO Convergence Public Art Tour

As part of EAST, Austin Art in Public Spaces has invited us on a private tour of the TEMPO Convergence artist installation! We’ll be guided on an exploration of temporary artworks by local artists that express many aspects of Austin life. RSVP here


I’m Adam Norwood, the Director of Web and Digital Strategy at the University of Texas School of Law and my background is in web design and development, user experience, and higher education. When I’m not at work, I enjoy reading, hanging out with my four-year-old daughter and my wife who is an artist. I also have a fine arts background so I have a bit of a split personality between design, fine art, and more technical work.

What’s one thing that you’ve been inspired by lately?

Activists and whistleblowers. People who are willing to stand up for justice, from Greta Thunberg on the global stage to Chas Moore of the Austin Justice Coalition who spoke at Creative Mornings recently. It’s inspiring to see that ordinary people can make a difference in addressing injustice. For me, as an introvert, it means a lot to see that anyone can work to correct something they see in the world that needs to change.

What’s one way you feel like you’re weird and how does that inspire you?

My reading list is all over the place. I bounce between computer science-y technical documentation one moment and then 16th-century French essays and then get lost down a rabbit hole about bad Hanna-Barbera cartoons the next. It’s not that I’m well-versed in any of those things but I enjoy learning about what’s in the zeitgeist and hopefully I can synthesize those things together into something that’s interesting. The thing that ties all of these interests together seems to be language. I love thinking about the language of comics or hip-hop or programming or design, or how those are all forms of communication.

Where do you go to get inspired?

I love to go into nature — someplace that’s completely not-digital is very refreshing, and it’s important to experience the infinite wonder of the world. On a more mundane level, I also really love bookstores because there’s this combination of visual inputs and browsing ability. I have a four-year-old who loves books so we go bookstores or the library frequently. You may find something on the shelf next to you that you weren’t expecting — there’s this great opportunity for discovery.

Website: adamnorwood.com
Twitter: twitter.com/anorwood
Instagram: instagram.com/adamnorwood/

November’s global theme LOST will be discussed by Susan McDowell. 

This talk is being presented in partnership with Austin Design Week and their 2019 theme of “Make Space.”

Say thanks to our partner this month: The “It’s Worth Doing Right” podcast series by Accomplice. 

And cheers to our beverage partners: Cuvée Coffee & Big Swig Water.

Hosted at Trinity Hall on Friday, 11/8. Details here.

Use these hashtags to find your tribe: #CMATX & #CMlost

Do you want to see your business featured among these amazing companies - and feel the love of our creative community?
Our Partnership Drive will fund our monthly talks through 2020. See why your company should help Fund The Love here.

November’s global theme is LOST. It was chosen by our Milwaukee chapter chapter and illustrated by Melissa Lee Johnson. 

Find your tribe with the hashtags #CMlost and #CMATX

When you’re wading through the unknown, it can feel scary and risky. You float around wondering if you’re going in the right direction and want to know what’s next.

Being lost is a collaboration between possibility and uncertainty. It’s an excuse to get one step closer to a more fulfilling life.
What you were comfortable with may not be there anymore, but you will have the remarkable opportunity to reconnect with yourself and embrace discovery.

In these “in-between” moments, turn to your inner beacon and pay close attention to where it’s guiding you. Your beacon is the light that blazes within you, a signal made up of your values, dreams, and priorities.

The essayist Anaïs Nin put it best when she wrote: “The unknown was my compass. The unknown was my encyclopedia. The unnamed was my science and progress.”

Shine your light. Ask for help and let go of the idea that you have to make a perfect choice. You may feel lost, but you are not alone.

Let’s go on a field trip!
We’ve got four #CMfieldtrips planned for you this Friday 11/1:

Ever wondered what goes on “behind the scenes”? Or just want to relive your high school musical days? Join us at Austin’s venerable ZACH Theatre for a peek behind the curtain of their current show, Dracula. RSVP

We will be among the first to tour the second annual Fortlandia installation at The Wildflower Center. Interact with the forts and let your imagination soar. Some of the designers will be on-hand to talk about their designs with us! RSVP

Take a beautiful drive and meet us at Desert Door, a craft distiller of Texas sotol. We’ll get a tour of the distillery and learn how to brand a new spirit, market a new category to consumers, and make sotol. RSVP

Noelle Hoffman, founder of Spare Time and Moment to Make, will help us explore what community means to us and how we can create a sustainable culture of community in the workplace and in our daily lives. Special thanks to our venue, BlackboardRSVP

This FieldTrip with Noelle Hoffman was made possible through a partnership with AIGA Austin. It’s the fourth of four events we’re co-producing in 2019. We’re excited to bring our fellow creatives from both communities together to learn new skills.

Big thanks to our #CMfieldtrips coffee partner: Chameleon Cold Brew.


Want to be one of the first to find out about next month’s FieldTrips? You should subscribe to our newsletter. (Look for the “Austin Newsletter” signup button on the right hand side of the page.)


#CMfieldtrips are a monthly series of small group discussions, tours, or workshops held to spread the creative magic happening around Austin. Space is limited to facilitate open conversation and new connections, so you must RSVP via our site to attend. Most of our FieldTrips are free, but we may ask for a suggested donation to cover materials for some of them.

(Each month, we give folks who were on the waitlist of our most recent talk a two-hour head start to register. And then they open up to the rest of our #CMATX community.)