Language of the Soul Podcast

Redefining Personal Growth with Author and Creativist Rene' Urbanovich

November 21, 2023 Dominick Domingo Season 2023 Episode 6
Redefining Personal Growth with Author and Creativist Rene' Urbanovich
Language of the Soul Podcast
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Language of the Soul Podcast
Redefining Personal Growth with Author and Creativist Rene' Urbanovich
Nov 21, 2023 Season 2023 Episode 6
Dominick Domingo

Have you considered how your own narratives and stories might be hindering your personal development? Join us on a riveting journey as we converse with the charismatic Rene Urbanovic, a TEDx speaker, creativity coach, and Humanities through the Arts Professor. Her personal saga of triumph over adversity after a vocal injury and her exploration into the intriguing world of creativity will leave you spellbound!

Drawing from her experiences, Rene reveals the pivotal role of conflict in personal growth and the transformative power of mindfulness in our creative pursuits. We delve into the profound impact of storytelling on breaking generational patterns and shifting our worldview. Rene's experiences as a caregiver offer a fresh perspective on harnessing creativity as a tool for comfort and growth during challenging times, and the narratives shared are as enlightening as they are compelling!

The digital era's invasion into our lives, the shift in creative expression, and the ever-evolving consumerism landscape are a few of the many thought-provoking topics we discuss. Whether you're a creative enthusiast or someone seeking deeper, meaningful connections, this episode promises a treasure trove of insights and more. Be prepared to see creativity and storytelling in a whole new light!

Guest Bio: Rene Urbanovich is not only a Tedx Talk Speaker who runs a Youtube channel, but is a leading voice and Creativity instructor in the Los Angeles area, having coached singers from television, film and the Broadway stage. She is a Humanities through the Arts professor, a poet and an award-winning author. Rene has given workshops and spoken at venues such as SAG/AFTRA, Art Center College of Design, Osborne Head and Neck at Pepperdine, and many more. After a vocal injury left her voiceless, she went on to heal and earn a degree in Creativity, in search for the answers that would not only solve her personal dilemma but feed into the collective’s search for meaning.

We would love to hear from you! Sent US a text message.

Support the Show.

If you would like to make a one-time donation, CLICK HERE, or you can click the support button for other monthly support options.

To learn more and order Language of the Soul: www.dominickdomingo.com/theseeker

Think you would be a great guest for our podcast; please submit a request at LOTS Podcast Guest Pitch Form.

Now more than ever, it’s tempting to throw our hands in the air and surrender to futility in the face of global strife. Storytellers know we must renew hope daily. We are being called upon to embrace our interconnectivity, transform paradigms, and trust the ripple effect will play its part. In the words of Lion King producer Don Hahn (Episode 8), “Telling stories is one of the most important professions out there right now.” We here at Language of the Soul Podcast could not agree more.

This podcast is a labor of love. You can help us spread the word about the power of story to transform. Your donation, however big or small, will help us build our platform and thereby get the word out. Together, we can change the world…one heart at a time!

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you considered how your own narratives and stories might be hindering your personal development? Join us on a riveting journey as we converse with the charismatic Rene Urbanovic, a TEDx speaker, creativity coach, and Humanities through the Arts Professor. Her personal saga of triumph over adversity after a vocal injury and her exploration into the intriguing world of creativity will leave you spellbound!

Drawing from her experiences, Rene reveals the pivotal role of conflict in personal growth and the transformative power of mindfulness in our creative pursuits. We delve into the profound impact of storytelling on breaking generational patterns and shifting our worldview. Rene's experiences as a caregiver offer a fresh perspective on harnessing creativity as a tool for comfort and growth during challenging times, and the narratives shared are as enlightening as they are compelling!

The digital era's invasion into our lives, the shift in creative expression, and the ever-evolving consumerism landscape are a few of the many thought-provoking topics we discuss. Whether you're a creative enthusiast or someone seeking deeper, meaningful connections, this episode promises a treasure trove of insights and more. Be prepared to see creativity and storytelling in a whole new light!

Guest Bio: Rene Urbanovich is not only a Tedx Talk Speaker who runs a Youtube channel, but is a leading voice and Creativity instructor in the Los Angeles area, having coached singers from television, film and the Broadway stage. She is a Humanities through the Arts professor, a poet and an award-winning author. Rene has given workshops and spoken at venues such as SAG/AFTRA, Art Center College of Design, Osborne Head and Neck at Pepperdine, and many more. After a vocal injury left her voiceless, she went on to heal and earn a degree in Creativity, in search for the answers that would not only solve her personal dilemma but feed into the collective’s search for meaning.

We would love to hear from you! Sent US a text message.

Support the Show.

If you would like to make a one-time donation, CLICK HERE, or you can click the support button for other monthly support options.

To learn more and order Language of the Soul: www.dominickdomingo.com/theseeker

Think you would be a great guest for our podcast; please submit a request at LOTS Podcast Guest Pitch Form.

Now more than ever, it’s tempting to throw our hands in the air and surrender to futility in the face of global strife. Storytellers know we must renew hope daily. We are being called upon to embrace our interconnectivity, transform paradigms, and trust the ripple effect will play its part. In the words of Lion King producer Don Hahn (Episode 8), “Telling stories is one of the most important professions out there right now.” We here at Language of the Soul Podcast could not agree more.

This podcast is a labor of love. You can help us spread the word about the power of story to transform. Your donation, however big or small, will help us build our platform and thereby get the word out. Together, we can change the world…one heart at a time!

Speaker 1:

Hi guys and welcome to Language of the Soul podcast, where life is story. I do say this often, but I couldn't mean it more. I am very excited about this week's guest for a variety of reasons. Just one is she's my sister and we were just joking how I tend to catch up with old friends with a listenership, with an audience, and that's kind of what today is going to be. She's so swamped, we have a lot to catch up on. So I hope this will be a good opportunity and I don't think anything we could possibly talk about would be off topic, because Renee and I I just I guess I let the cat out of the bag her name's Renee. I have a shared religion and that religion is creativity in general, but I would say storytelling specifically. So before I introduce our guest today, renee, I'd like to say hello to Virginia. I've been calling her our producer extraordinaire, but I've retired the lash librarian title, virginia, and you are now the spooky nail lady I'm the spooky nail lady.

Speaker 2:

okay, that's true. Yeah, the last time I was, you know, on here I had which I had again my lash appointment to fill my but yeah, I did. I did because we're before Halloween for this podcast recording.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, I have got to do what you gotta do.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I got my day of the dead nails going.

Speaker 1:

They're awesome, I love them and I don't even notice stuff like that, but a good fingernail gets my attention. Those are awesome, anyway. So you're the spooky nail lady and it's going to continue to evolve. Welcome, virginia. And now I'm going to read Renee's bio. And, renee, this is the part where, if I butcher it, you can set me straight.

Speaker 3:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

Renee Urbanovic is not only a TED Talk TEDxTalk speaker who runs a YouTube channel, but she's a leading voice and creativity instructor in the Los Angeles area, having coached singers from television, film and the Broadway stage. I'm going to follow up on that. I'd love for you to drop a few names. She is in the humanities through the. She's a humanities through the arts professor, a poet and an award winning author. Renee has given workshops and spoken of venues such as SAG-AFTRA very relevant right now Art Center, college of Design, osmoren, head and Neck at Pepperdine, and many more. After a vocal injury left her voiceless, she went on to heal and earn a degree in creativity and search for the answers that would not only solve her personal dilemma but feed into the collective search for meaning. Welcome, renee.

Speaker 3:

Thank you. Thank you, dominic. I feel very welcome and I love the bio. And, yeah, I sound good on paper.

Speaker 1:

So anything you would want to clarify, or I pretty much just read it, so I don't think I botched it.

Speaker 1:

But I guess, yeah, as a weigh in. I really hate because I've been guesting on a lot of podcasts, as you know, since my launch in June. A real general question like so tell us what you're all about? I don't think it's fair to the guests. So I'm going to dovetail off the bio a little bit.

Speaker 1:

And, of course, your personal story of vocal injury left you voiceless. You went on because it's all connected and, as my, as your brother, it's really tempting to drop the ball on laying the groundwork. You know, because I know you, but I don't want to forget to lay the groundwork here. So it's your TEDx talk is gold, so we're going to put the link you know what I mean in the description and I don't want you to do a nutshell version of it, necessarily, or the reader's digest version, but it is a good way to kind of bring us along that journey of your own personal experience and vocal injury, how that led to your degree in creativity, and then not to put words in your mouth. But I think you identify as a creativity advocate, you see creativity as a worldview, and so it's all connected. Do you mind kind of walking us through that or doing a mini version of the TED talk?

Speaker 3:

I'll do my best to lead you to the TED talk on online. It's on the TED website. Let me explain it in the way I view it. Now. It's been one year. I did it in September of 2022. It's just been a year and you know three weeks.

Speaker 3:

But honestly, I was reintroduced to story through my TED talk experience. You apply for the TED talk and you know everybody knows that you have to have a little personal story to sell your philosophy. My philosophy is very grassroots. I am not a marketer, so that's the one thing that's pretty much stopped this philosophy from taking over the globe. So I consider myself a creativist and I trademarked, I registered the trademark for creativist and through my schooling, because I got my degree in creativity, I had a little fringy really super fringy academic spot in Vermont after I had had four kids and because I learned so much about creativity not in a business world but in a humanities world I learned that creativity and this is like the crux of the TED talk I learned that creativity is in our DNA for the collective. So that became the thing I hung my hat on. But nobody wanted to hear that in the TED talk world they're like no, no, no, no, no, we did a story. So I came in with this great lecture about the pot. That's what my book is.

Speaker 3:

I wrote a book on creativity and I based it on, you know, a metaphor that's called an object lesson for children or for new people, and I used a pot as the metaphor and everything. The pot was represented creativity and I thought it was brilliant. And you know, that's my. To me, that was my life's work. And they kept saying, no, that's not it. So they kept wanting more story. And then they keep cutting out my tenants and keep cutting out my tenants and my components and my precepts and my percepts, and so they kept asking for a story. So I started with I'll start with this story. So I started like pretending I was talking to Sandra D, the girl from Greece.

Speaker 1:

The one that wrecked your voice.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, where I actually wrecked my voice, yeah, and so I started with that story and then that didn't quite hit and then I made another story where I you know, I took my whole story about how me and Joanne Acaston my vocal, my voice therapist helped me heal and they didn't like that one. So I had 18 drafts with six different stories talking about because they want story.

Speaker 1:

Can I ask you a question real quick? Yeah, sorry if you were on a roll there, but I mean it's kind of well known like a great documentary has a very human story at its core. That's your hook. We all respond to story, but it seems like the Ted I don't know if it's across the board or that particular, I forget the name of it now in Redlands, no Monta, mount, mount Rubidor, mount Rubidor I don't know if it's unique to them, but they all seem to be about overcoming right. So a lot of the stories were about overcoming adversity. Is that you were kind of pushed? Because I feel like all those stories Joanne, I think, was the name of your vocal coach. I think those are all stories, but they all made their way in there seemed like under the umbrella of overcoming adversity.

Speaker 3:

Pretty much, and so, but what they want is the story. I'm just giving you the TEDx template because I thought I would start with a story and end with it Like you know how you do a callback, like, and then I would teach, like I'm here to teach, and so they really knocked that out of me. I'm a teacher and I never see myself as a storyteller. I've written a book with stories and I've written a book of memoirs which are stories, but guess why? I'm writing them? To teach.

Speaker 1:

Well yeah.

Speaker 3:

So I just was returned to my story and I became very authentic and something that I was not proud of, that I did not see. My identity in kind of moved its way in and it was the authentic spot that I was in in my life, which which felt shameful in a way to me. I was my mom's caregiver two days a week, and so the powerful slam of changing your identity at 58 years old, when because you can, because I had my own hours and my own business and my parents needed me, it was huge for me and so I included it in the story and it was golden.

Speaker 3:

It was in my TED talk and it was the. It was the golden ticket.

Speaker 1:

Well, the very it was powerful, especially the ending, very powerful.

Speaker 3:

Yep.

Speaker 1:

So as a matter of fact, that's kind of what I meant a moment ago. But when art reflects life, and especially when you transform through the creative process and then it's exhibited in the work in real time, if that makes sense, you know, that's when it transcends and speaks to people. If you grow through the creative process and then art does its job and reflects life, that is the charge that it has. So I feel like that's what I meant about this conversation. I was tempted. In the pre interview I was talking about having listened to that little insta thing about the conflict in the Middle East and how that's on my radar right now. So that's kind of what I was saying. It's more organic when you can go with what's really on your radar at that moment. But do you want to talk about what that powerful punch was regarding being a primary caretaker for mom at the moment? Or just let them kind of go to the TED talk and experience the gut punch for it for themselves.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, they can experience it and they can. I mean, I already gave away the big thing. It's like, hey, everybody being creative is not just for you, it's for the, it's for the collective and that, and I prove it, I try and prove it. So, yeah, the emotional punch comes with the story of me being a caregiver and what my mom represented to us growing up.

Speaker 3:

For me, right now, since we're talking about what is on our radar right now, what's on my radar is weird, isn't it weird how it's like confirmation bias. Now, everywhere I turn, everything's about story and where I would never hang my hat on the fact that creativity and story are two sides of the same coin. That's not my bent and I mean, I love your book and it does a perfect job of leading us through creativity and art types and all of that. It's so good and it's so it's really profound. I didn't think of it. I didn't think of it for me per se, but then it's so cool how the past two weeks, my story kept unfolding and I learned from it. So I had to look at story and what it means to creativity and I think what I came up with, which I'll tell you, how is that basically it's only through conflict which is story right.

Speaker 3:

Conflict resolution yeah so only through conflict does our little tiny soul come out the other side and become stronger, and that's how we become like, we grow, we evolve is through conflict, and so it and I think creativity and is transformative, and that means conflict and story is transformative, and I just I saw it all as one click.

Speaker 1:

Well, that is believe it or not. That's one of my questions. My prompts that I wrote was if you had to parse right, because we do share creativity as a worldview and a religion. But what about story? Could all the same things be said of story, is my question. It's cathartic, it's transformative, but it's an extension of creativity. Can I back up a tiny bit, though?

Speaker 1:

I find it interesting that you identify as a teacher and obviously there are. There's pathos and ethos and storytelling and there's a they call them different ways of appealing right, a persuasive appeals, that sort of thing. But I find you to be incredibly intuitive in your work, in your narrative work, in your poetry. Right Doesn't get any less didactic, it's from the gut, it's very intuitive. So I think maybe you compartmentalize, because in my case, like there's a whole list of objectives, when you quote unquote don't have an agenda right In art, with artistic integrity or literary value, the elitists among us would say, oh, you can't have an agenda right, you just show all sides of a coin.

Speaker 1:

Whatever your thematic content is, you just honor it. And it's deaf, it's deaf to artistic integrity and literary value to have an agenda. But yet I wrote a nonfiction book and I'm like well, of course I have an agenda, even if I approach it and find the story in it, like with the documentary, I find the story and I fancy myself objective and unbiased. Right, of course you have an agenda. So to me they're totally different categories and the intention is totally different, because in storytelling that's narrative. If you have an agenda, that's called propaganda, right? So I just find it fascinating. I think of you as the opposite. I think of you as that woman who rolls on the floor, right, your whole process, and then you purge and you're so in touch with your creative process and it seems to be the ultimate catharsis.

Speaker 3:

I don't think of you as just a didactic teacher, if that makes sense, yeah, no, and you're right, as a professor, you have a textbook, right. And so I thought, well, my book is teaching my philosophy. And I didn't know. I mean I was late to the party with story. Let's just, I'm honest, I mean, of course, story's been like the big thing in marketing for a good long time now and I was just late to the party. I thought my TED Talk. I was allowed to just say, okay, like a few TED Talks I have seen by scientists, they didn't go into their childhood and they didn't go. They didn't go to say, hey, I got something to tell you that I discovered. So I thought I was that guy, you know, just like saying this is what I learned at school, this is what it is about creativity, but without the emotion and without the relevance and without the way the story touches your dopamine and gets you interested, and so really they taught me that and it was grueling.

Speaker 3:

It was so grueling to go and talk about an agenda. I had to do it exactly the way they said or I was going to get kicked off. So it was such a great learning experience and it also helped me rewire my brain because once I was done writing the book, I stopped thinking in any terms that they were on my. You just get your own terms. You get older. Yeah, right, right, you don't have to play as a teacher anymore, right, right.

Speaker 1:

So there's a little bit of branding that goes on, right. So once you and I find branding synonymous with connecting with purpose, in a way, marketing is a nice fire under your butt to figure out what you have to say in the world, as much as I resent marketing. So again, I don't mean to shift gears here, but, dave, I think I told you my friend, whom I adore, we strangely started talking about business. I didn't see it going that direction, but he convinced me that capitalism is not evil, like that was the outcome of that. And then Rosalind and I started talking about social issues. Did not see that coming.

Speaker 1:

So I came up and I know, like, even with Crystal I'm dropping a lot of names here, but with Crystal I felt like, you know, I am an elitist in the eyes of some because art center trained me well. So when I say I parse between you know, the redemptive content, redemptive thematic content, right, and then I call it like kind of usurping storytelling for the almighty dollar or for consumerist purposes. Well, of course she's got a background in marketing, as does Virginia, so that could be very offensive to them. So just today I had the thought, this very morning I had the thought that as long as you're mindful about it, right or conscious, like when the Paltrow got in trouble for saying conscious uncoupling. So I came up with this term mindful marketing and conscious capitalism that's my new term.

Speaker 3:

Okay, I like that like conscious, uncoupling, conscious marketing. Well, and you can be yeah, I mean, jordan, might I have a kid, a 35 year old kid, and he's definitely got my bent, and you're bent, as you know, nick. And so, jumping into accepting the fact that you kind of have to market and accept a certain level of capitalism, even if you think it's evil, it's a lot of, you know, writhing on the floor and digging your heels in, and then, when you finally figure out how to do it, with your basis of love and, you know, concern for the collective and your whole character, that's your brand. Right Underneath. That it's going to show through. So, yeah, I agree with you, it's very helpful to try and brand yourself.

Speaker 3:

And so, okay, how can I narrow down all my life's experience and then try and make it accessible to someone who only has a 22nd attention span? Right, and the only reason, the only reason I want to do it, the only reason I have a YouTube channel seriously, the only reason I have a YouTube channel and the only reason I want to teach the humanities, and the only reason I wrote a nonfiction book which you know how hard that is is because I believe this message so wholeheartedly. I want people to know about it. It's a lot of work. I mean I can pour myself a glass of wine, have a good life, relax Right.

Speaker 1:

No, we're called to. Well, I don't know. It makes me feel purposeful to contribute and I say, you know we may not come up with all the answers, but I like engaging in the dialogue and asking the questions and in my case it's. You know, I need a reason to get up in the mornings. I feel purposeful and that's a very human drive. Right To contribute to the collective is no small thing.

Speaker 3:

And don't you agree, though, that right when you go okay, I've contributed all I can, I'm just going to take a little break or you don't even think you can take a break. You're like I'm out, I'm just out of energy, I'm drained, I'm done. And then you know, however many weeks or months go by and then you go, I can't not.

Speaker 3:

I can't, I can't, not, I can't pour myself a glass of wine, I can't throw the talent. I've got to keep going because we have agency and you know, we have a voice and I until we die, you know. I don't think you know. Okay, so I'm going to drop a name, but when I was working with a singer from the seventies and eighties and nineties named Bet Midler, who also went to Broadway to be rings a bell.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, kind of ring a bell.

Speaker 3:

She went to be on Hello Dolly. I worked with her and as I was teaching her how to go from pop to musical theater, I was ex. She exhausted me. She's 70 years old, right, my mom and dad are 17. They live in a little cottage and they have their coffee in the morning and you know, my mom will paint and my dad will, you know, go in his wood shop. This woman would wake up in the morning and you know she would just jump in her car. She didn't have a driver and she would go to dance class. Then she'd come home and then she'd do this, and then she'd ever sing in this and then she'd have her pianos and then she had a language lesson. She never stopped. And I thought, and I thought, why does it? Wow? And she had honey peas and she had a garden. She never stopped. And she was 70.

Speaker 1:

Well, you and I have talked about brain plasticity and intellectual curiosity, right, and reinventing yourself real quickly. You, I think we both read, and I've mentioned this before Remember, virginia, I'm potuck. Remember the mother character in um, I am Asher Lev. But she constantly reinvented herself and I remember, you know it reminded me of Katie's mom, evie.

Speaker 1:

And she just became a kindergarten teacher. I mean, and not that that's the be all to end all, but to shift careers at 70 something and to have the patience to be a kindergarten teacher at 70 something. So I always I found that mother character in Asher Lev kind of haunting because you know, mom had a lot of great qualities and very creative, but I don't know that she had that ship right. The eternal intellectual curiosity.

Speaker 3:

Right and for her, for Sharon, our mom, it was less intellectual curiosity and more just this. Do you cuss? Do you cuss on this?

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, absolutely. Let it fly, let them fly.

Speaker 3:

This fucking drive. She could not stop painting or drawing. She could not stop, and even.

Speaker 1:

Well, that's the powerful punch of the TED talk that I was hinting at. Mm-hmm, yeah, that from her, can I say it?

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's just incredible. Creating it's such a drive.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, she couldn't stop. I remember getting mad at her too, and this is part of my story now, because I live now, I do wear myself out, and that's part of my story, and I'm going to stop telling that story really soon yeah.

Speaker 3:

Maybe not right now, but the last maybe six months where she was still Sharon, before she got taken down with medical issues and cancer and all that she was walking around and I wrote a poem about it and she's like okay, first I'm going to take this piece of wood here and I'm going to do she said something magic, and then I'm going to take this right here and I'm going to collage it and then I'm going to take this paint right here. And I wrote them all down and she listed like 20 things she was going to do and I guess I felt like it was my job to think to say dude, you are living in a fantasy, you can't even do the dishes. And so I didn't know and I was mad at my mom and I have to live with that now. And I was kind of mad at my mom for, like, not doing the dishes and not living normal and having all these wild fantasies about what she was going to do.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 3:

All you have to do is see that in this industry now, because I meet all these caregivers and they're the salt of the earth. That's like a stage. Had I known to Google it right, I would have understood her story more and then I wouldn't have this part of my story that I live with regret every day and I don't like that, but I do. I regret that I was mad at my mom the last six months before she was in bed with me. Pretty mad, you guys.

Speaker 1:

You know, I mean I illustrated her children's book and then that ball got dropped and I'd come over and fix the computer and get the Bioprinting working and, yeah, the printer working, and then the ball would be dropped. So I experienced that same frustration and we've talked for years about how it's a beautiful thing to have plans and get excited about things, but how much follow through was there really right? So over the years she has had follow through. I'm not I don't want to make this all about mom, but there has been follow through. But when your agency starts slipping and I think what you're hinting at is legacy becomes very important, right, getting organizing Uncle Monty did it and mom did it. It is a stage of dementia where you feel you're slipping away and you do cling to whatever defines your personality. In her case it was that fire. It was all the plans to create. Whether it ever happened or not, the plans are what's important, right?

Speaker 3:

Well, yep, you are so right. Well said that inspiration and that you know, and it fantasies, not a bad thing. What do I live in? This creativity world where I get math and my own mom has fantasies and imagination?

Speaker 1:

But the irony is you and I share this religion of creativity. Most people would say the drive to create is human. Of course it's an innate drive, but one school of thought is it's to combat futility, it's to leave that mark. So how could it? It couldn't be more obvious when the stakes are that high and you feel all the things that constitute your personality slipping away. I mean, that's what they mean when they say oh, you're trying to leave a mark. It's not just fighting against existential terror, you're trying to leave a legacy through your creation.

Speaker 3:

Speaking of which, I did go to a funeral of my father-in-law's funeral on Friday and people get up, you guys, and they just tell their stories.

Speaker 1:

Oh my God, it's story.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, everywhere I went, it was story coming at me, story coming at me. And I had a birthday present from my kid, my third kid, tess. They gave me a psychic reading thing from someone called a seer. They're not necessarily a therapist and they're not necessarily a psychic. They're a seer, so they see images from the other side.

Speaker 1:

Well, clairvoyant means right seeing.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So this woman, candice, called herself a seer and so she just started telling me the images she was seeing. And they were all stuff I've heard, you know. I've heard that before, I've heard that before and I didn't want to be closed off to it. But then she just threw this out there and she we had only a half an hour, how could she know? But she tapped into this whole story thing. She said be careful. And I didn't really say more than one time what I was doing, not much, I did not give her much information. And she said be careful not to let your identity get too embedded in being a caregiver. And I was like no one's ever said that to me before. Wow.

Speaker 1:

Please, as a mother Renee.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I do.

Speaker 1:

That has been your lifelong journey. I mean women, notoriously, right, care for others before themselves. I would say you're reembracing of your creative drives against all odds, right, Kind of digging in your heels. You even projected that film. Who does she think she is? And you may not see it that way, but I think you fought for your self expression, right. No-transcript your TED Talk is largely about why the drive is so profound.

Speaker 3:

It is.

Speaker 1:

I'm surprised you're not in touch with. Your whole life has been, and most women's lives are about looking out for yourself while taking care of others.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, isn't that so funny though, because I just thought, well, that's new Right.

Speaker 1:

That's what I'm saying.

Speaker 3:

So I did think about it and I thought, okay, well, that's new. And then I said and then she said something about me which you know I, you don't have to understand these thought forms to just entertain them. I'm not saying, I'm not saying I follow any religious anything, but she said you've been a caregiver in many of your lives before, and now you're going to graduate from being a caregiver in your next life you're going to get to be an artist.

Speaker 3:

And so I, instead of saying oh, thank God, I said are you saying there's a hierarchy here and that being a caregiver is not as good as being an artist? And so when I told Tess that Tess goes, mom like don't be like that. But you know I'm menopausal. Things just shoot out after menopause.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Everybody's mod from the 70s. And so she said no, I'm not saying that, and this is why it ties into story. This is why, to me, it's fascinating, because I never think this way about my story, because I'm too busy thinking about everything else. She said, oh no, no, I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying that, instead of thinking of them as mutually exclusive, you can see your art as your caregiving, which you and I had this talk back 20 years ago, when you were telling me about your class, your survey.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, the documentary that I was doing, yeah, and you did a survey with your students, but I didn't like apply it to myself. So then I thought, oh, I like that Every time I sit down to write, like my next book or whatever, I won't think of it as separate from caregiving, because obviously that's me.

Speaker 1:

Well, again, the documentary was the pursuit of art, selfish or selfless? And again, your TED Talk even touches on that. Do you know what I mean? How I mean, if you want to express it in your own words, so that I don't put words in your mouth. But it's largely about how it is not a selfish act, it's the complete opposite. It's contributing to the collective and it is a drive.

Speaker 3:

Right, and that's why I couldn't get rid of it and that's why I had shame surrounding wanting to heal. That's why it took me 25 years to heal, because I didn't see it as this caregiving thing. So the reason I bring up this very personal story about seeing a psychic on your podcast is I started seeing oh my God, my story. It just keeps repeating, right.

Speaker 1:

Well, yes, yes, it's my story. If you want to put it in spiritual terms. I've often said we're here to break cycles, so themes will recur and recur and recur until or unless we break that cycle right. And that's just one way of looking at life. We're given spiritual opportunities and I, through my lens, I'm like well, it's very clear to me, when we don't take those spiritual opportunities for growth, the universe knocks louder and louder to get your attention Right. It absolutely ups the stakes until you stop ignoring it. But a very empirical, mechanistic way of looking at that is epigenetics wants us to literally break our cycle so that we don't pass that shit on to our children. So if you have ancestral trauma, if you have an inclination toward depression and it's in your DNA, the only way to create the methyl groups that will squelch that gene or to get rid of those markers entirely is to do the work that makes sense.

Speaker 2:

I wanted to say something about that and I agree with what you guys are saying. So one of the things that I always use when I've talked about this, especially when I was doing classwork on adults and adolescent development, we would talk about, like you're saying, epigenetics and how you have certain markers and stuff, and you can change those things if you focus on it. So I don't know if you guys have ever heard the story, but I use this one a lot. So there was a father who was an alcoholic and he has two sons and one son became an alcoholic, but the other didn't.

Speaker 1:

You're describing our family, but go on.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but in every way stops and thinks about that like well, because it's just like anything that you're saying, be it abusive, nature, alcoholism, whatever it is, you can carry those traits on down the generations. But what was the difference between these two brothers where one did and one didn't? And a lot of the time it's the way you look at the situation. So like the one brother is exactly story. So like the brother who became the alcoholic in his mind, his story was well, because my father was.

Speaker 2:

Therefore, I will be where the other brother bought into it where the other brother looked and said because my father is, therefore I won't be, and so that's what's sometimes going back to what Renee was saying about caregiving and you mentioned it too, nick, about how, as women, we typically fall into that category. It is instinctly part of our genetic code as women to be caretakers, because we are the ones who birth children into the world. I'm talking biologically. I'm not going to get into the whole other part of that, but you know, biological females are designed to have children and so because of that, yeah, that is part of our DNA code. But what happens?

Speaker 2:

Like Renee you were talking about and obviously we talked a little bit before the podcast about some of my background and the different things I've done we forget that we can reinvent who we are and we can be beyond what we thought we were. So I know a lot of moms who stay at home and I fought this because I didn't want to be a stay at home mom myself and take care of my kids, because I was like I don't want to get into that trap where I just live for my kids and my identity becomes my children, which is that typical stereotype of soccer mom, which is why I got into writing while I was staying home because I wanted to have more than that as my identity, and I think sometimes people forget that when it comes to those kinds of things.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, well, and when you're talking to a complete stranger who doesn't know you and you only have half an hour, like for me, I felt like, well, everybody that knows me knows I have a business and I write books and I collage things and I travel. I'm not just a caregiver, but whatever the spirits were telling her or whatever was just this whole idea of my identity wrapped up? So I would say that little did I know that it was the beats in my plot, right, looking back at like I'm almost 60, I was like wow, this is repeating and it's a cry or anything. It just was like it's the story thing again and it's my story and I don't necessarily need to quote, unquote, I don't know think of it as a daunting thing. I have to, you know get rid of conquer.

Speaker 3:

I don't have to think of it that way, but I can see that these conflicts that I go through as an artist and mom artist and mom artist and mom constant, these are the what Michael Meade calls crucibles and a crucible I had to look it up because my brain is mush.

Speaker 1:

Well, the crucible is my favorite play ever written.

Speaker 3:

Oh see, well, he says that when you have conflict and like like I always have, I always feel conflicted and that's been my story, because I either can write a song on the guitar and push my toddler away you know 35 years ago I can either write my book or change my mom's diaper, or I can play with the toddlers or go in there and, you know, edit a poem. I always have to choose and I'm kind of sick of it. But now I can see the light because, because it's been highlighted to me about story, I can see that all of these crises for me, Renee, have been crucibles, which is a situation of severe trial where these elements interact and it leads to the creation of something new. I didn't even know what crucible meant.

Speaker 1:

It's, you know, Arthur Miller, the crucible.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I do, but I've gone on and on about Joan Ellen's amazing monologue. It's my favorite monologue ever, but I am going to jump in because I want to tie it all together. Ready, I want to tie it all 360 degrees because that's my job as a host. Well, no, I am always trying to tie things back to story, but I just want to back up a little bit.

Speaker 1:

Virginia, do you feel like there are cycle? You know, we have our dispositions and our temperaments right, and of course nature and nurture play their part. So of course to. I mean, there's been twin studies where people react very differently to their environment, and so I would say there are cycle breakers in life. And it's the Jan Brady, it's the black sheep, it's the artist, the rebel, without a cause, right, the middle child is often the rebel. So one child will repeat a cycle and another will break it.

Speaker 1:

I don't want to make it too personal, Renee, but you know, without vilifying any one person, we have a long line of alcoholism on both sides of our family and a whole culture of denial and it, you know, we just come from that.

Speaker 1:

So, from what I remember, three of my four siblings and I read adult children of alcoholics way back in our 20s and I know that I'm a cycle breaker. We all have our vices right and we all have our own addictions, but strangely I just must not have the gene right for alcoholism. But I also wanted to say some of these crucibles, as you put it, or I just call them recurring themes that seem like spiritual opportunities again and then, maybe on a more mechanistic level, we are being called to be our best selves, to serve epigenetics and pass on right our capacity and potential to our children. If you look at it that way, what I hear and Renee these themes that you may not be, you're not supposed to conquer them, but hmm, interesting, I love that themes. I'm a Scorpio, we love longevity, we love threads, we love, we're very courageous and loyal and we really value the past right. And so when I see recurring themes in my life, it's just my essence, it's just our essence.

Speaker 1:

So you may not. You know you can just dig your heels in and own it more. It may not be something you're meant to, and that's kind of what you did with the seer right. You dug your heels in and you're like okay, but I'm not apologizing for it by any means.

Speaker 3:

It's a very interesting perspective when you start framing your life as story, because we wouldn't have anything to talk to our best friend about if we didn't go to the conflict and then try and resolve it right, and we wouldn't have any juice, you know, to rev it up if we didn't have characterization and emotions and Let me sorry, I want to jump in because I want to take exactly what you just said and then steer it toward your experience of being a caregiver.

Speaker 1:

So I have been watching a lot of streaming. As you know, you gave me your laptop. It was the first time I ever watched Santa Clarita diet, and then I played catch up. I watched everything with the dragon or a drug runner or what else oh, a zombie. I watched everything that I kind of was not on my cultural radar. I couldn't even hold a conversation at a cocktail party. So now I'm kind of ODing on streaming right, and I had a moment where, as snobbish as I am and as elitist as I am about what constitutes redemptive thematic content, I was like this is genius. Writing the cliffhangers are genius, and I learned so much about how to write an episodic thing with an arc in each episode but then an overall season arc. I think it's genius. It's genius.

Speaker 1:

I'm also really tired of it. Well, because you lose sight of what is art, what is story, and I even heard Quentin Tarantino recently say I'm done because I don't even know what fng story is anymore. Quarown during mid pandemic, when there were these hybrid releases some people are watching at home on their phone while doing laundry. Other people are seeing it the way it was meant to be seen on a huge screen, right, full resolution, he talked himself into. Oh no, I'm excited about HDTV. Oh no, I'm excited about the hybrid release. I want people filing their nails while watching like it was so pathetic because you knew it wasn't true. So we're all adapting, right. But I feel the same way like it makes me feel dirty to watch too much episodic writing because I lose sight of what story really is. My concepts, which are conceptual, don't seem clever enough. So there's content, there's content and there's story. And so sorry, I didn't mean to go off.

Speaker 3:

That ties back to what we originally talked about, when we were talking about capitalism and marketing and being an artist and having an agenda. It's all part of it. We lose, you know, and your book, the Language of the Soul. So content is not story, but it gets people an escape, I guess.

Speaker 1:

Which is not bad, not a bad thing.

Speaker 3:

Right, but it's not necessarily on the deepest soul level. It can be. It can be, but it's not always, and I get what you're saying. It's like, okay, I could have predicted that and, wow, I didn't predict that. Okay, you get a high five because I didn't predict that. It becomes about this clever writing. Isn't it amazing. It's amazing, I agree, but isn't that funny that that does tie right back into where that not conflict, maybe conflict, but where?

Speaker 1:

that struggle is I lost. The whole point was the whole train of thought was this it's manufactured drama. So what I would say about in response to what you just said is like, yeah, some entertainment is just created because people had a love of film when they were young or they loved some books that they read. So they just want to be part of that tradition. It's not bad or wrong, but it doesn't mean they have a whole lot to say in the world. They just want to be part of that tradition. So I guess I feel a little bit like there's a lot of manufactured drama in these stories, especially in streaming.

Speaker 1:

When you binge watch something and you watch them back to back, you see, oh my God, Carrie Bradshaw has the same, like we're saying, themes in her lives. Is she ever going to grow up and conquer that? It gets really old. And you also see the pettiness of the manufactured drama. Oh my God thank God my mom is not that domineering like this mom is. It's so almost overblown.

Speaker 1:

And when you see them back to back and the same sort of conflict or premise arises Every episode, you really see that it's manufactured. And so my feeling is the most powerful writing and I know you'll agree with this is about very real impasses in life, like loss, like mourning, like what you're experiencing with mom, that my stuff juxtaposes pettiness, like the profound with the mundane. So I like to show petty characters because then you get a sense of like what really matters. They're juxtaposing the profound and the mundane. I feel like you're really in touch with very basic impasses in life to do with loss, if that makes sense and it's not manufactured, I don't know. Do you have anything to say about real conflict versus manufactured conflict?

Speaker 3:

Virginia, were you gonna say some, or do you want me to get to? Oh?

Speaker 2:

when Dominic was just saying it, it just started making me think of, like you know, the old sitcoms from the 70s and the 80s, when you were talking about that.

Speaker 1:

Jack Tripper every episode misunderstanding sitcoms are all about a misunderstanding.

Speaker 2:

Or you think about, like Gilligan's Island. Like you always know, gilligan's gonna screw it up so they can't get off the island. And they're on the island for years and years and years doing the same thing? Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 1:

And there's an opportunity to get off, but he botches it yeah, exactly. It's bumbling.

Speaker 3:

I think that's why I'm in awe of certain writers that can write these episodes after episodes, season after season, and I'm crying and I'm uh, and you know, but I, when I returned to writing after having my kids Virginia because I had the four of them and I was about 30, when, 35, when I went back to school, I took a, I took a memoir class with my 13 year old daughter because she was being homeschooled, and so I joined the class and she hated it and I thought I think I need to stay and I stayed and that's so I learned about memoir and I had such a great teacher and I learned from him it was Dr Moose that you can't make this shit up, this is not fiction.

Speaker 1:

Right, life is stranger than fiction.

Speaker 3:

Yes, when you when you can find the, and he even wrote that down. What you literally said was you got to find the beauty in the mundane and that you write about it personally, and then the micro becomes the macro and there's a skill to that, and so that was the.

Speaker 1:

That was the most writing classes I ever took was with him, like I did he ever hit on this idea that the more personal you can make something strangely, the more universally it lands?

Speaker 3:

He did.

Speaker 1:

I love that idea.

Speaker 3:

He would show us memoirs and we would. He would make us pick out where the untruth was cause. You can feel it.

Speaker 1:

I wanted to say you turned me on to Tara Weston Weston.

Speaker 3:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

And Ocean Vuong. So my relationship with narrative nonfiction goes like this. You know I was a big fan of David Sideris, npr this American Life. I probably read all of his collections, but it's humor. It is what it is. Doesn't have a whole lot to say maybe you and I agree he's actually gotten more poignant as time goes on. But then Augustine Burroughs I was very immersed in him. And a guy named Dave Rothbury who I just met in my neighborhood at a little reading. He's amazing. And then Juno Diaz, who's pretty well respected, but they are what they are. It's a whole different level with Tara Weston. It rocked my world.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I agree, and even Ocean Vuong he could. He called his a novel, by the way, because he veered and he tried to make it more climactic and stuff. And it's very, very tricky to take something that just happened, like you stubbed your toe, and write something universal about it, but a good memoirist can do it. So I think I'm more of a truth teller. I mean, I only wrote one fiction story, I think, but it's really not fiction.

Speaker 1:

Silence broken.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I made it.

Speaker 1:

It's a parable. I saw a lot of familiar things in there.

Speaker 3:

Well, but I mean, I read a newspaper article and that would make a great story. I didn't make it up, and so when I do write a short story, that's not necessarily based on somebody's life, it's based on something true, because I've never made anything up and I realized that about myself. But I agree with you as far as the truth, like the real, authentic truth, really speaks. And it's the same, going back to commerciality, commerciality, commercialism and capitalism, when someone's on Instagram or YouTube or in your feed and they're trying to sell you something, people are so sick of this. In-office, in-office, yeah, they're sick of saying, oh, I will change your life and I, and then they're just a robot. Really, you sign up for their class and they're not around and people are so sick of that. And the whole authenticity in marketing, now, vulnerability, crying, being honest, is just where people want it now. And it reminds me of when we were. How old were you? I was probably 24. And so when all that digital music left and Nirvana came, yes, early 90s.

Speaker 3:

Everyone was sick of the bullshit. The sample, sample, sample, fake drum, fake drum. And then Nirvana hit the scene with grunge. What was there? Two people or three? How many people were in that?

Speaker 1:

Don't know.

Speaker 3:

I think three people in a garage band, and then grunge came because no one wanted that anymore, and so right now that's what's happening. Is people really? They just need something real.

Speaker 1:

Well, it's funny that came up with Dave again because I met him in literally 1990 during the Disney internship and I just went off on how I am so nostalgic about that moment in time because there was sort of a break in sort of the 80s all the cocaine and all the money and all the stability and the success. Suddenly you had the green movement becoming on the pop culture radar. There was a shift from, like you're saying that airbrushes, zebrick marbly, I think of the Duranduran album cover, nagel, that really airbrushy look, to really earthy, sensual, tactile artwork. But also in cinema you saw a lot of indie films, art house films, foreign films suddenly gain distribution. So there was a shift for five minutes where distributors realized, oh my God, there actually is an appetite for art and anyway, and I think then we swung the other way and we're arguably more consumerist and materialistic than ever. I know you're saying there's a shift in the way people want to be marketed to, but I'm sorry, I go on Insta, I look at the sponsored ads in my feed on Facebook and I'm doing absolutely nothing to create these algorithms and they're insulting. Yeah, I think we're pretty darn consumerist.

Speaker 1:

And I do want to ask you about this, renee, because, as an intelligent because, then I am about that very formative time. I was in my 20s. I was rethinking everything, all the narratives, right, reframing all my narratives from childhood. That's what you do in college, right? I'm lucky to have been surrounded by people on a path People, spiritual people, is how I would put it. I'm equally nostalgic about the 70s and I wanted to run this by you. So the crazy household that birthed all this creativity we're talking about right.

Speaker 1:

I'm very nostalgic about those hippies at the Creative Arts Center. You know singing Puff the Magic Dragon on the lawn. I've gone off recently about these chicks with guitars that would show up to our elementary school right and play folk songs on their guitar and their hair was parted in the middle and perfectly straight. We were surrounded by hippies. Look at all the children's programming, hr Puff and stuff in the 70s made by stoned people. So sorry. So we think oh, right now creativity has been given free reign, right With publishing being evening the playing field and film distribution. Anyone can make a film in their garage. Now we have American Idol, we have the Voice. We tell this story that there's more creativity and it's a cultural value now. But is it really true? Look how in the 70s, we're coming out of the conservatism of the 50s and everybody was expressing themselves. Do you remember the dude? I'll shut up in a minute, but the dude in Burbank with the twisty handlebar mustache and his van was covered in medallions.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

And there was a myth that don't know if it's true that the unicorn would electrocute you if he touched it.

Speaker 3:

I didn't hear that one, yeah.

Speaker 1:

But anyway, picture that guy. He would hose down like shirtless bell bottoms, twisty mustache, handlebar mustache. He would hose down that van. Everybody knew him in Burbank. Yeah, you're right when are those weirdos, is my question.

Speaker 3:

They're on the big island in Hawaii, oh really Really Okay. I'm not so fringy, but yeah, I think you're right. We were in a Petri dish of tons of creative people and the Creative Arts Center and mom kept us around that. But yeah, that guy in Burbank was definitely what's it called A trope A trope.

Speaker 3:

Well, yeah, he was crazy, but everyone knew him and he didn't care. And that was after the wars and everybody wanted to have a washing machine and be a perfect housewife. They wore the ties and the suits and then in the 70s they were like no, we're not doing this anymore. And so a lot of people were breaking out. And then, obviously, that's when the psychedelics came and everybody was doing drugs and all of that.

Speaker 1:

I just found a little irony. We identify as being what's happening now. Anyway, I identify now as there's this cultural narrative that everybody stands a chance and that I think the younger generations want nothing to do with the rat race or selling out and working for the man. We have this idea that, oh, by branding myself and finding my voice and contributing it, that's an end in itself. I just found it a little ironic to think about. Actually, there might be more conformity now, when everybody on Instagram uses a beauty filter and has to show their toes in the sand and a drink in their hand. That is a form of conformity that goes completely unrecognized.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely right, you nailed it. The conformity is. It reminds me of the 50s right.

Speaker 1:

Before the 60s.

Speaker 3:

you're right, the conformity, and it's more phony than the Stepford wives ever prophesied.

Speaker 1:

I think so. It just occurred to me that it may not be true, this narrative that everybody, the creative expression is more on the cultural radar right now. I don't know if it's true, that's all yeah.

Speaker 3:

Well, we're definitely as a society. I mean, I heard and it's in my book, but I'd have to look it up about the pendulum swinging from the I-me to the we, to the I-me to the we and it goes back and forth. In the 70s it was becoming a lot more we and then now we might be focused on climate change and trying to change the world and the conflicts in the Middle East and everything in our posts. But most of the input that I get on social media the influencers and everything they're missing something.

Speaker 3:

It's like when you and I went to see the what the bleep? It was so like it was just knocked me down about the reality that we live in and at the very end they had one little sign saying something like we could change the world, but it was mostly just about you could get rich or you could change your narrative. You can change your life through understanding that reality is not static, it's not real. Like if you understood quantum mechanics, quantum physics, you would understand that this is not reality and imagine how happy you'd be. But it was at the very end. There was just one sign. So I think everybody's kind of missing something. Yes, we want inner peace. Yes, we want to be healthy and take care of our bodies and we want to be in good shape and we want all the things that society is telling us we need to have here in America.

Speaker 1:

Let's just qualify.

Speaker 3:

But the end result of that is so that then we can contribute, yeah, contribute Well you know me, though, I can smell it a mile away.

Speaker 1:

when a Tony Robbins wants to talk about the tools of manifestation, the law of attraction, all these principles, to get that yacht or that mansion with the white picket fence, you can kind of smell it a mile away. As opposed to as an end in itself, sure for personal contentment and tranquility, but again, sometimes it's in order to be authentic, because then you can contribute to the march toward human potential.

Speaker 3:

There we go, and that's what's missing a little tiny bit from the. Our cultural narrative here in 2023 in the United States is what'd you say? March to Human?

Speaker 1:

Well, our capacity, you know, to aid in the march toward our human potential, and that's no small. While it's epigenetics we are. I mean, that's my premise. When I connect dots and my book was kind of about that just connecting the quantum mechanic dots with, you know, the psychological perspective or the anthropological or the sociological perspective, I just connect a bunch of dots. I'm a master in nothing, but I'm a good connector of dots. Sometimes that's called quackery, but time will tell. Time exonerates some people like LeMark and others, confirms that they're just wackos.

Speaker 1:

But the dots I connect are exactly that we are wired to be the best versions of ourselves. Actually, because it serves propagation If we can again get rid of certain markers or create the methyl groups that squelch certain genes in favor of more favorable genes. That is what we pass on to our children. So do you know what I mean. It's in our genes to be our best selves.

Speaker 2:

I wanted to say something on that as well, as you guys have been covering all this and talking about how things were in the 70s and stuff being a mom as well and having younger kids. I actually have siblings who are 10 years younger than me, so I actually have watched those siblings grow up, who are literally the millennials, and then my kids who are at the end of millennial to the.

Speaker 2:

Zers, yeah, to Gen Z, the Zers, and one of the things that I've noticed, I mean, in the millennial, I mean, obviously, you know we're Dominic and I are pretty much Generation X, so you know, when we were going up, you know we're definitely a smaller group and the millennials were the next big group.

Speaker 2:

And the millennials are kind of, to some degree, like some of I want to say, like the older baby boomers, not the younger baby boomers who are definitely more on the creative, more of the you know movement of you know creativity and getting away from that conservatism. But the older ones definitely are. And that's why I kind of see happening with the millennials and the Zers, because the millennials tend to be more materialistic, at least from what I see from my siblings and their spouses and partners. And then I watch my, like my 14 year. Well, she's not 14, she's not going to be 14. So she's 13. And my 18 year old, who just entered college and like, even though, yes, they're on TikTok and they do do some social media stuff, they're starting to move away from it because they see that it's kind of toxic.

Speaker 2:

And it's interesting to kind of see that, and so I kind of see more of like what we saw in the 70s with the Zers and more of the older baby boomer generation, of that more you know because you know the older baby boomers, at least I know from my parents. It seemed to me I'm sure you guys you know your parents wanted to give you everything they didn't have and same kind of you know which is why.

Speaker 1:

That's every generation.

Speaker 2:

You know, Right, which is but that's, you know, I think about, I mean the millennials. When the millennials came in, from, you know, versus us, I mean everything was Insta, you know, like it was just instantly there. Like well, we got to see, you know, the technology grow and that whole revolution happened where they just walked into it and like, oh yeah, why don't I have a phone and I can Google it, like you know, instantaneously. What do you mean? Google wasn't around, you know, 10 years ago and we're like, yeah, no, it wasn't, you know. But Gen Z understands that and it's kind of interesting.

Speaker 2:

They're starting to push against a lot of that kind of matrix capitalistic mentality, at least I'm seeing that with my kids and their friends.

Speaker 1:

Well, I live next sorry, I live next door to high school. So I not only have I watched my what 22 nieces and nephews grow up right, I've taught college for 20 years. So I know what I'm seeing when you get in trouble for making observations, but I've seen the changes in coming generation. I get them straight out of high school at Art Center. Nowadays they used to go to two years and get their general head out of the way. Two years of junior college I was pretty much getting them straight out of the public school system. So I have my observations, but it is fascinating how the pendulum swings. And, yeah, when I say I go to Starbucks on my corner and I see these kids from Marshall High, these kids, and it's like, oh my God, they've got that same haircut from the 80s, but it's more like a mushroom. They all have the guys all have the same haircut, but anyway, now they have the paris the chicks are wearing like you guys were in the 70s, the mid-drift. What do you call the T-shirt that?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, top, top.

Speaker 1:

They're mid-drift but instead of like cement affairs or gouchu or designer jeans, they're wearing frumpy parachute pants. They're like mid-drift, showing crop top and parachute pants. It's fascinating. But I see that they're kind of like rejecting technology and social media. I love it.

Speaker 3:

And I like that metaphor of just the pendulum. The pendulum has to swing. So Freud thought that, you know, humankind had a narrative, and so we could say that when we were born we were the cavemen, and then we evolved and we learned, you know, we became creativity, became our source to make fire and then to build buildings and then to, you know, and all of the things. So we are all the cells of that humankind character, developing and growing, and that's why it's so important for story, for us to know that we contribute to that story and what you called, you know, reaching human potential or fulfilling our capacity or whatever. But it does have to start in a very spiritual way, in our own individual souls.

Speaker 3:

So while people are, you know, lobbing onto all the new hacks and all the new information and all the new diagnoses, like I didn't know, I had a story, a strain of what is that called autism. No wonder I hate when people are late. Or, you know, we didn't know so much. We just, you know, hyperactive kids. We just you know, whatever we did with them, we, we let them run around.

Speaker 1:

I think the nineties. We put everything under a microscope. Think of all the talk shows right At that time Jenny Jones and Geraldo Rivera, and Oprah and Phil Donahue. Everything was put under a cultural microscope and we diagnosed it. And I'm going to relate it to something that was said earlier too Everything is just a story we tell about ourselves. We have cultural narratives, we have culturally relative narratives as Americans right, but it ain't necessarily so. You know, nothing is what it looks like.

Speaker 1:

So when I hear actually, renee and I would be Gen X, we're only four years apart. So I would say you've heard it, renee, oh, we're the latchkey kids. We were famously un-parented, and I agree, right, our generation were helicopter parents trying to give everything to our children that we didn't get. I'm saying we y'all are trying to give your kids what we didn't get because we were famously un-parented. We were the latchkey kids. But when I see memes online and I do see them every day putting baby boers up against, you know, there's these imaginary generation gaps like shut up boomer, you know. And so the myth about and you tell me if I'm wrong, renee the myth about the latchkey generation, meaning us Gen Z years, is that man we drank out of the hose and we didn't grow a third arm. You know, we came home only when it was dark and our parents we would go away for and it's true, the boys anyway would go away for weekends and mom didn't even call to talk to Scott Leonard's mom, like we could have been anywhere.

Speaker 1:

But there's this idea that we're tough as nails, don't mess with a younger people, they don't mess with a Gen X, or they'll not only tell you know, read you, they'll kick your ass. And I was like actually no, it kind of depended on which faction of Burbank? Did you just keep going to the Nell Voyager and drinking or did you go get your college education? Because I identify as somebody who is in college in the early 90s, watching all those talk shows, learning and growing up, learning and growing and breaking cycles if that makes sense as spiritual people I was surrounded by at Art Center and elsewhere. We're on the cutting edge of do you know what I mean Like growth and potential, and we're not tough, we're really sensitive and thoughtful and articulate. Does that make sense?

Speaker 3:

I wouldn't say tough, then You're resilient.

Speaker 2:

Maybe, yeah, I would say Gen X is resilient and it's for you said all that, nick, because my kids say that all the time, because you know I'm salmon extra with you guys and they definitely like, you know, mom, when you, you know, well, here's, here's a, here's a private analogy of that. So it's not really an allergy, it's a story. So my now 18 year old was, she was playing soccer, she was playing goalie and she was a fifth grader at the time, and the ball came and, of course, hit her in the stomach. As she gets up and she's about to cry and of course, you know, I could see the coaches getting ready to run over to her to comfort her, which is, you know, kind of typical of the generation beneath us.

Speaker 2:

Of course, all of a sudden, from the stands, they hear me scream out suck it up butter. And it's not because I was like trying to be like this horrible mother. I'm just like you know, learn to be resilient learn to cope and move on.

Speaker 2:

It happened, it's horrible. I'm sorry, but you're in a game and you got to keep going, and so I think sometimes people have that misconception of us. You know, if, like you know, the story of the Gen Zers is like we just walk around and like fall down, like rub dirt on it and we're like, yeah, it's good, we don't need an ill spart. And it's like. No, it's only because we we had to be reliant on ourselves or our siblings, because, like you said, we were the latchkey kids.

Speaker 1:

Well, there is something to be said for that mentality. We ate dirt and we were in. Our immune systems are awesome, so yeah, anyway, renee, I feel like we're going to run out of time, but I do want to trace everything back to story. There's so much we could explore. Maybe we'll have you on again in the future. But as a way of getting back to story a little bit, do you have an excerpt that you'd like to read from your latest work, or even from Sex to Lead? I was hoping we could talk about that today as well.

Speaker 3:

Actually, I didn't even talk about my latest work, and I think that's one of the reasons that the caregiving theme is being highlighted in my life is because I'm writing memoir about my grandma. It was supposed to be about my grandma because my grandma was a caregiver, and then, when the editors got a hold of it, they loved my grandpa so much that now he's in it and it was not supposed to be about him. It was supposed to be about the unsung caregiver, but his story is so brilliant that they made me just include my grandpa. So is that ironic, right? So, because I'm writing the story of my grandparents and not just my grandma, who was a caregiver, I think that's one reason I'm interacting more consciously with my role as a caregiver towards my mom and my grandchildren not even my own kids.

Speaker 3:

I didn't have these grandkids and I didn't know I was going to have to take care of my mom. So I had my own kids and I knew I was going to have to take care of them. Right, I planned that that was my doing, but now I'm doing it where I didn't plan it. So I think that, speaking of my latest work, that's why it's so highlighted. But to bring everything back to story. I just I want to bring it back to a story. So there's the Christ story, as you know, that I adhered to forever and then I simplified it to realize that I still believe in the Christ story as far as, if you just shave it down, it's when you lay down your life for others you will be saved.

Speaker 1:

Christ laid down his life and he said this, jung has a book called Christ as the symbol of the self.

Speaker 3:

Beautiful. Well, if we're supposed to all be like Christ, we're all supposed to be laying down our lives for one another. But anyway, that being said, I started seeing, I started doing this whole mythology thing because I thought it was neat. So you know, I always knew about Persephone and I always knew about, and then I read the one about Seercy and then I read the one about what's his name Achilles and I just got really into mythology and I saw them as great stories that live on because they speak of our human nature.

Speaker 3:

But I had never, and I always, had the Christ story to help me through my hard times. I always believed that Christ was saving me. I really did. I was very, very attached to how much the Lord and the angels and heaven and all of that meant to me. I'm able to look at it now and just see the goodness it brought me. And so what happened a while back, not too far, a little bit ago like I said, everything is story is one of my kids had some things in our relationship that we had to talk about and it took me down. I was broken, I was smashed, I was crushed. It was awful. And then my friend Andrea told me read chapter five in Clarissa Pinkola Estee's book. So I read it and I read it again, and I read it again and I realized I'm using the story like the Bible.

Speaker 1:

Can you say the title of the book? Women who run with wolves?

Speaker 3:

Yes, women who run with the wolves. And the chapter that I read like the Bible and I mean I was crying. Unless I was reading this, I couldn't go to bed at night.

Speaker 3:

It was like the Bible it was like you know, you read Bible verses or whatever. And so this was the story and this is what really helped me. She tells the story about skeleton lady or lady death, and so this guy is fishing in this village and he knows he shouldn't go over in this corner because some woman was in love and her dad said you may not see this man. And he throws her in so she can't see her boyfriend and her dad kills her and she drowns. So he's over at this area where she drowned and he's fishing and he knows he shouldn't be, but he's like I know I'm gonna get something. So he starts reeling something in and it's big and he's really excited. And when he pulls it up it's a bunch of bones and it's her. So he's terrified. So he throws the fishing line back out and he starts his boat going, going, going, going and here's the rattling, rattling, rattling, and so it got caught on the boat and she's such a good storyteller, so she's going on and on, have the bones followed the boat and then he gets out and he starts running and they got caught on his foot on the line.

Speaker 3:

So he's running to his house and the skeleton lady's falling in and it's terror, utter terror, and she goes on and on and on. So he goes into his house and to get in the house he had to get in. Well, it brought the bones in. And he slams the door and he turns around and the bones are in the house with him and he's just terrified of lazy death and he's crying and he's panicked and he's like what is this?

Speaker 3:

And then so he gets away, far enough away to like go to sleep, and so lady death is here and he can see her skull and her face and he falls asleep and she falls asleep and somewhere in this dream state, while they're asleep, he wakes up and he goes to lady death and he sees she's crying and he wipes her tears away and then he puts all her bones back together, one by one, and he sings na na na, na, na na na, and he puts her back together and they just lay there and ultimately they dance.

Speaker 3:

And I'm just telling the story, because why was that so profound to me and how did it get me through one of the hardest times of my life? Because she said for something to be born, something has to die, and until you're willing to dance and be intimate with lady death, and so, basically, when you're a parent, your kids have to break away right, they have to become independent and they have to maybe hate you and they maybe have to call you out and they maybe have to do this, but that's what their journey is. They have their story.

Speaker 3:

So it was really profound for me to be holding on to a myth a story in order to wake up every day and it reminded me of when I was really really into the story of the Christ and how it just got me through all my life So-.

Speaker 1:

Well, but to be honest, I feel like you kind of left that in the dust and you had a little shame around your incredible growth. Do you know what I mean away from the Jesus story? And I love that you've embraced it now. Does that make sense? I used to say, Renee, your divinity was such an example to people. But I remember being at a wedding and you sang and this girl came up and braided your hair. It was, and I said it might have been a survival thing for you, but it was a beautiful thing and you got to embrace it and own it. You know, Right, I love that you've come around and you don't lament it or regret it anymore.

Speaker 3:

No, I, you know. Yeah, that's one thing I don't regret anymore. I see the goodness that it brought me. You know that's another podcast altogether, you know.

Speaker 1:

Right, we'll have you on again, but let's talk about it. Sorry, go ahead.

Speaker 3:

But no, but our religion is our story right and our cultural narrative that what we're talking about, like the Gen C's and the baby boomers, our parents and all of this, is just stages in humanity as a character's development, and we're all really like lucky to have any contribution or any agency or anything we can do to steer this humankind entity towards its full potential, just like we have to bring our own soul to its own potential, and it's hard, it takes time and it takes looking at conflict and trying to see that it's a crucible to bring us to the next thing. So-.

Speaker 1:

Well, that is the definition of storytelling you transform through conflict resolution. Right yeah, in life we only grow like friendships. Either your first argument, it's gonna end the friendship, or you're gonna come out stronger.

Speaker 3:

Amen, and that's that Chinese proverb opportunity and crisis are the same word. There's an old proverb that my new guru, michael Mead he's a mythologist says that, as the old proverb is creation and I wrote it down because it was about storytelling and of course I heard it this week weird, right, creation is the only outcome of conflict that satisfies the soul.

Speaker 1:

Love it Beautiful.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it ties together the story right Story with conflict and creativity.

Speaker 1:

To back up a little bit, though. I wonder if this makes sense. I think if you look around at somebody's bedroom, the posters they have on their wall say something about them. Your sense of aesthetics, everything you surround yourself with right, or even the ideas you adopt, are the ones that resonate with you. We encounter new ideas all day, every day, and some of them become part of our worldview and some of them just fall away. So when you mentioned that religion is inseparable almost from our worldview, I agree. We adopt the things that resonate with our life experience, but our disposition, our temperament, our very makeup, you know.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and that's the beautiful thing about story that doesn't you won't find in a church is that there is no one road. You know there is no right, there is no wrong, there is no good, there is no bad, there's no value judgment in story and myth. It is.

Speaker 1:

Well, I think that's what I heard in what you said too. Tell me if this is right, but I think at our age we're actually more interested in the universal milestones. You know, I used to think in my 20s I would have said well, making the grave error of assuming we're all the same is where all the problem, you know, that's the root of all evil, like most problems arise from just assuming we're all the same, if that makes sense. I'm so interested in that shared territory. Now, yes, what makes us human? These fascinating journeys that we all share, or these milestones we all share?

Speaker 3:

It's so liberating for me to embrace story instead of just thinking I have to live a right and wrong, a good and bad life.

Speaker 1:

That embracing story and going, you know, the good times are just as juicy Well you've always been that way, though, thomas Moore, embracing the shadow, you know, I think you've always in your writing, you tell the good, the bad and the ugly, and there's value to all of it. I think in Western culture we're really quick to apply value judgments to otherwise neutral right Circumstances and conditions. Oh, that's good, bad, right or wrong? Well, no, what if it just is, and it's all complimentary, right?

Speaker 3:

That's why, adopting story or creativity, however you want to frame it as your worldview, that's why it's gonna have results or whatever. Not an outcome, it's gonna have a benefit because you're gonna grow. You're gonna grow. You don't always grow. When you're just trying to be good, you know. When you're just trying to live, you know day to day, and there's no spirituality and you don't.

Speaker 1:

Moralism. The word moralism comes up for me.

Speaker 3:

Moralism and just like the whole thing. My father-in-law just died and some people wanted to say you know, death is bad and it's not part of life. And it's like no death is part of life and there's gonna be beauty in it if you open up your heart. And I'm in the middle of that and I'll be damned if I'm not gonna get done till I see the beauty in it. It's painful but there's gotta be some beauty and there's gotta be some growth and I think that in our Western culture we wanna push away the ugly.

Speaker 1:

Of course. Yes, god forbid. I mean, I used to say in Paris, you see, we wanna put all our old folks in homes In Paris. They're riding around on their bicycles, buying their baguettes. They're functional members of society. You know day of the dead, like Virginia's fingernails, for example. You know it's everywhere. It's celebrated in Latin America, here we have Halloween, but that's like a palatable way of making it a caricature, right, and we don't really think of it. We don't think of that skeleton, for example, on Virginia's fingernail, as representing our mortality or our ancestors.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, well, we're gonna learn and if our culture, meaning the Western culture, meaning the United States, has to have something major happen for us to learn that life and chaos and messiness and darkness are gonna help us grow, then it might have to happen to us.

Speaker 1:

I don't know. Yeah, there might have to be war on our soil. Mary Ann Williamson talks about how there are rights of passage. Right, a boy quickly becomes a man when he has to go off to war. But we value the Peter Pan syndrome more than ever. Right, maintaining youth as long as possible. Mary Ann would say it's about doing my father's work. She calls it. So where are those rights of passage? That mark now I'm gonna be my best self. I'm gonna wean myself off of parental guidance and actually be my best self. So she points out, we create those rituals now, whether it's getting tattoos, western culture, we create the differentiation that you kind of referenced earlier.

Speaker 3:

We do. And for me to say I keep recreating the same shit in my life that I have to go through, like I don't see it that way. I see it as how interesting that the same now anyway, that the same conflict keeps emerging and I can keep getting sharper and better at when I choose to be a caregiver, or when I choose to see my artist's caregiving, or when I need a story to hang on to, because we're all human and we all go through goods and highs and lows. But Instagram makes me think that I'm supposed to have a morning routine, I'm supposed to eat really healthy. I'm supposed to be this size. I'm supposed to. I mean the culture that comes at me. I have to kind of fight it to go no, no, no. I'm allowed to have conflict, I'm allowed to cry about being a fucking failure sometimes, because it's all part of being human and it's okay so, and not to have shame about it and you can be proud of whatever, and me too, and my kids too. Breaking cycles is important and so-.

Speaker 1:

Well, I think embracing, embracing imperfection, is a big thing in life.

Speaker 3:

Yep Artists do it easier. I think that's what.

Speaker 1:

I was about to say, like you know, I've said my entire life I see the beauty in the ugly, I see the beauty in the decay. I, Thomas Moore, was a big influence in my 20s, so it's like, yeah, I've never had those value judgments. It just is, you know, and I guess Eckhart Toll would say most human suffering is wishing things were other than what they are. I love that You're standing in line at the supermarket wishing you were somewhere else. You know what, if you just step into the moment and go, wow, I'm doing dishes, but I really love that dapple of light on the window sill. Yeah, yeah, Easier said than done.

Speaker 3:

And Michael Singer. Is it Michael Singer?

Speaker 1:

Who's the guy who wrote Backwards? I don't know.

Speaker 3:

No, michael Singer.

Speaker 1:

He says- oh yeah, I love Michael Singer.

Speaker 3:

Stop with it. He's an old man and he-.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love him.

Speaker 3:

He pitches at you. He's like stop having preferences. You are standing on a spinning globe right around a million miles an hour and there's beauty all around you. Just knock it off, stop having preferences. And he kind of makes you feel like my God, I'm alive.

Speaker 1:

Right, right, I'm alive. I'm also very entitled. I'm gonna bring it way down to Louis CK. Oh, yeah. Okay, forget the fact that he's been counseled. He said the funniest thing same exact topic but he's like you know your friend telling a story and our flight was delayed, man, and we sat on that tarmac for 20 minutes in that plane and he's like and then did you fly through the air in a metal cylinder?

Speaker 3:

And get where it would have taken you 10 months to get Right, right. But yeah, he's so funny, he's the funniest.

Speaker 1:

Too bad, he was counseled. He has a Back to story.

Speaker 3:

He has a thing on death. He's a great storyteller. In fact, comedians are so good at storytelling and they're very creative people.

Speaker 1:

No, I meant too bad, he was counseled. Actually, virginia and I might do a whole segment on counsel, culture, right and revisionist history, and I hate the term, but woke culture Okay, cause I know we're gonna lose you, renee, keep saying that, but I know somebody already came in the room. You do not have an excerpt.

Speaker 3:

In other words, no, it's fine, I've talked enough. No, I don't have an excerpt, but we'll have you on again.

Speaker 1:

I thought you prepared an excerpt.

Speaker 3:

I just prepared what happened to me the past week with the funeral and the death and everything. What happened to me was every thing I looked at like billboards, all said story and so all these threads of my own life came together and what story has meant to me. But I didn't actually sit down and pull out an excerpt, but I gave an excerpt of my actual story.

Speaker 1:

I loved that you shared. No, I love that you actually drew us in with all that oxytocin and dopamine and all those brain chemicals by relaying the story from women who run with wolves. I've never heard that. So just real quick. I heard mortality all over that, how we're dogged by existential terror and our own right, the fact that the skeleton was literally following him everywhere. It's like that is mortality. The definition of being dogged by our mortality. It's called existential terror. That was a theme for me.

Speaker 3:

But isn't that a beautiful thing, how a story that's been told and told and told and told for Clarissa was about relationships, marriages, mother-daughter, whatever mother-kid. And then you get to listen to it and go, oh, that is about existential terror and making, kissing our existence in the face, like I love that. You just said that I didn't think about that.

Speaker 1:

Well, projection, right. The projection of the patron is everything and I think something that's extremely universal has the capacity right, it can handle a little projection. I absolutely heard what you said. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but we have to die to be reborn. That was kind of the journey in the seeker. You have to and sometimes it's just mourning illusions, right, Gotta mourn those illusions, put them to bed, and then it is literally what we're talking about. You emerge with a new paradigm, you've rewired a narrative, you've rewritten your story.

Speaker 3:

And you get to rewrite, and that's what's so cool about picking up a movie that you saw when you were 20, and now you're 60, you're studying. It has a completely different meaning Absolutely, yeah. And that's why I don't know a lot about Buddhism or a lot about any other religion. But I just love having myth and story as my new religion. It's helping me so much.

Speaker 3:

And then to look at my own life and then evolve through my own conflict. I want to sing praises to the whole idea of story Ever since you asked me to be on the podcast because I never looked at it the way.

Speaker 1:

I wanted. Well, you've also got Andrea in your life and she's all about myth and I'm sure you've learned a lot from her. But I wonder if you've ever written the myth of your life.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that was one of the assignments, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I've done that in my workshops and it is amazing how my student not students, but I did it online basically that lecture series I did online and they really sunk their teeth in and I think some of it was unexamined. You write the myth but you don't realize the level to which the parable is metaphorical.

Speaker 3:

That's right, and I mean I know probably Virginia as a writer, and Nick for sure you don't even know what your heart wants to say or what the unconscious is brewing, till you actually just start writing. You have no idea what's gonna happen.

Speaker 1:

No, I've said that many times. I know what the thematic content is and I honor it and I do my three by five cards, but there's always, always an unexamined level of something I'm working through. I love it. Well, renee, we end with a ritual. I know you probably don't have time, but I wanted to bring it back around to story. Do you have five more minutes?

Speaker 3:

I'd love to do your ritual, yes.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so what we do without explaining it in advance, can you give me? We're trying to make it a regular thing I dropped the ball for two weeks in a row. Sorry, virginia, virginia was out of town and I dropped the ball. Okay, give me a number between one and 352, Renee 288.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and this is the part where it's not about me but I'm gonna read from my book. But it's an opportunity for us to share more thoughts on a given topic. 288, you said Mm-hmm. So what I do is I just read whatever's at the top of the page and cross our fingers. All right, here we go. That's already related in the 90s.

Speaker 2:

That's funny.

Speaker 1:

In the 90s, mtv would introduce America to a living, breathing gay man and his native habitat. The rare glimpses arrived in living rooms via Pedro Zamora, a participant in the third season of the reality show the Real World. His existence would validate adolescents in Cornfield and Iowa starved to see themselves represented in the media and desperate for permission to be who they were. Their countless letters were testament to the power of visibility. Pedro was not only a gay man but a Cuban-American minority living with HIV. But that impasse was decades off on some distant horizon For the moment. Paul I had to cling to in the late 70s was three's company's Jack Tripper. Hysterical Jack Tripper came up earlier too.

Speaker 3:

Virginia, I know, I know.

Speaker 1:

And he wasn't even gay. He was just pretending to be in order to take advantage of Santa Monica's rent control. For the moment, liberace Paul Linde and Captain Kangaroo were eccentric bachelors in quotes, and Burton Ernie were, of course, roommates. That kind of wasn't really on topic at all. It was about normalization through right, exposure to images and repetition normalization.

Speaker 3:

We did bring some of that up. Synchronistic synchronicity abounds.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, Daffy Duck. Who was that? Who was that?

Speaker 3:

It was very synchronistic because we talked about the nightly.

Speaker 1:

I know, I know.

Speaker 3:

We talked about Jack Tripper and we talked about one other thing. I can't remember what it was.

Speaker 1:

Okay, well, all right then. Thank you so much, renee.

Speaker 3:

Thank you, and I feel very inspired, like I went to a church service, woohoo.

Speaker 1:

I love it.

Speaker 3:

Oh good.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much, Jell, everybody Hi.

Speaker 3:

I will. I'll talk to you soon. Bye, virginia, nice, to meet you Nice to meet you, love you. Bye, bye, love you.

Speaker 1:

So with that, I think we're going to wrap up by saying, please join us for future episodes, if for no other reason than a little inspiration. Remember, life is story and to mix metaphors, we can get our hands in the clay. Individually and collectively, we can write our own story. See you next time.

Creativity, Storytelling, and Overcoming Adversity
Conflict, Creativity, and Storytelling
The Intersection of Creativity and Caregiving
Impact of Story and Choice on Generational Patterns
Real Conflict vs. Manufactured Drama
Shift in Creative Expression and Authenticity
Generational Perspectives and Storytelling
Storytelling's Power for Personal Growth
Embracing Life's Challenges Through Story
Rights of Passage and Power of Story