Through blogging and Instagramming, I’ve been introduced to an amazing Virtual Sisterhood of Creative Ladies.
The Oh Creative Lady series is your chance to meet these incredible, kind-hearted, inspiring <insert ALL the happy, positive adjectives HERE> women.
Meet Cristin, beholder of not one, but two excellent blogs. At Artsplorers, she focuses on experiences involving the arts for kids in Sydney. Cristin’s passion for infusing the arts into the everyday for all children (not just the Sydney-based ones!) is contagious. There are so many points in this interview where I was furiously nodding my head like a crazy lady. People who don’t eat breakfast! Shower ideas! A world curated by Leslie Knope!
Cristin is originally from the US and shares her experiences of expat living on her second blog, Between Roots and Wings. I love, love, love having a sticky beak in to the lives of others and how they arrived at where they are. I adore how all of my Oh Creative Ladies are so open to sharing their pearls of wisdom. Prepare to add a few more pearls to your collection. Welcome, Cristin!
I am… Hello! I’m Cristin. I like peanut butter, and folk music, and op shops, and Toni Morrison. I’m an insufferable politics sharer on Facebook. I make really good salsa. I don’t understand people who don’t eat breakfast.
I live in Sydney with my very nice husband and two sweet little girls, aged 1 and 5. We moved to Australia from the U.S. in 2010, and I feel like we’re probably going to stick around for awhile (I like flat whites, and health care and I definitely don’t like Donald Trump).
My background is in the theatre. I have a BFA in Theatre Management and an MFA in Dramaturgy/Theatre Criticism. After graduating, I was the Literary Manager at a theatre in Florida. When I moved to Australia, I found that there wasn’t an amazing amount of demand for someone with my professional background, so I spent a few years trying to carve out a niche for myself. I started a website where I interviewed Australian playwrights. I did an internship at Playwriting Australia (it was hilarious to be a 30 year old intern!). I did a project where I read 100 Australian plays in 100 days, and wrote about it for AustralianPlays.org.
But, once my daughter came along, my interest in doing that sort of hustle and working theatre hours really waned, as I focused on being a stay-at-home mother. I’d started an expat blog when we moved here, and that became my creative outlet when she was little. Then, a couple of years ago, I had a “shower idea” that I couldn’t shake, which was to start another blog about kids and the arts. I’d never seen anything quite like what I had in mind. I’d seen “out and about” blogs, and book blogs, and craft blogs, but I wanted to do something with an overarching theme about the importance of all of the arts being a regular part of children’s lives. So, my current project, Artsplorers was born. It focuses on the arts for kids in Sydney, with local reviews, a calendar of events, and a directory of area arts classes for kids; but, many of the posts are also relevant to parents everywhere.
I find inspiration… I’m inspired by people who don’t try to hide their intelligence in a culture where being smart isn’t always considered the coolest thing going. I’m so over cynicism, being blasé, and not “rocking the boat.” I want to spend my time with people who think about things, care about issues, and are happy to share their wild, weird and wonderful passions because I’m always looking for the courage to do more of that, myself. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve also begun to refuse to give time, whether in real life or in the media I consume, to people who don’t choose compassion and kindness.
I guess what I’m saying here is that I want to live in a world curated by Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation!
I am excited about … At the beginning of this year, I started a new monthly feature on Artsplorers where I’m reviewing children’s music (music that you can actually stand to listen to). I’m no music expert, but I’ve been discovering this whole world of Australian children’s artists who are so great, and are just hustling their tails off to get their music out there. It seems impossible to escape The Wiggles, but seriously, you have got to hear Angie Who and the Teeny Tiny Stevies, and all these other great acts out there who both you and your kids can love. Artsplorers is just little, but I love that I have a rooftop to shout out about something that not many people are putting a spotlight on.
When I’m in a creative slump, I… A few years ago, I had this epiphany that whenever I’m about to break something open creatively, I always go into this awful existential crisis funk for a few days. I go into a complete grump, and I just want to wall myself off, and not talk to anyone. Such an introvert! And then, I get myself out for a really long walk in the sun, and suddenly things just break wide open with a new idea or way of looking at a problem. I’d love to figure out how to get myself unstuck without the terrible mood first!
I’m really proud of… Is it too cliche to say that I’m proud of my kids? Seriously, though, raising little people is tough stuff, and I think my girls are coming up pretty ace, so far.
Getting my Master’s degree at Brooklyn College was probably the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve done. I sometimes miss those days of deep diving into Shakespeare, Ibsen, Brecht, and all the great writers, plus getting to do so much collaborative, creative work, all while surviving on Chinese takeaway, pizza slices, and almost no sleep or money.
And, I suppose moving half way around the world to a place I’d never been with a two suitcases and my boyfriend was a pretty big leap.
Someone once told me… The most influential thing I’ve ever read has been the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell. I always go back to his words when I need to take a step forward or understand something. He explained how our need for stories and metaphor is a universal human experience, across all times and cultures. They teach us how to live. His most famous quote is, “Follow your bliss, and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” Follow your bliss has never steered me wrong in my life.
My advice to you is … Take your kids to a museum. Make something with them. See a play. Talk about street art when you pass it. Pick out gorgeous picture books to read with your little ones, and give them as gifts. Show them a famous dance company on YouTube. Listen to a lot of different types of music. Have a dance party in your living room. In short, support the arts and make them part of your life every day. We all have busy days, and the arts are the heart and soul that make our lives rich.