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Your one stop shop for creative ideas and inspiration. Each week on The Spark File podcast, Susan Blackwell and Laura Camien reach into their spark files and share stories, ideas and fascinations to ignite your imagination. Obsessed with creativity, Blackwell and Camien also talk with artists and makers, movers and shakers who have taken the spark of inspiration and fanned it into a flame. Hear from inspiring creatives like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sara Bareilles, Eric Stonestreet, Jonathan Groff ...
 
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For everything there is a season, friends! And this season is winding down. Time for a brief respite. But, before we go, let’s talk season highlights! And we’ll leave you with an excerpt from In Your Light by Rumi... “I know you're tired but come, this is the way...In your light, I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance ins…
 
Long time listeners will know what a joy this episode was for us! In the way back times, Susan introduced us to a human spark named Lynne Cox - a celebrated athlete who set swimming records around the world and achieved astonishing feats of strength and endurance (including swimming with a baby gray whale - eighteen feet long! - in open waters) She…
 
John Lennon said, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end” This week, we admire the imagination and, frankly, the balls of @connorratliff, creator of Dead Eyes podcast. Connor created an unbelievable podcast experience in order to solve what he calls “a very stupid mystery that has haunted him for two decades: why To…
 
This week, Susan and Laura got to hang with bad ass lighting designer and friend, Marc Janowitz, whose holistic, dynamic lighting designs illuminate a story and light up an audience. His bold, no holds barred lighting transforms comedians into a rock stars and rock stars into gods. Tune in to hear how Marc approaches designs for concerts for My Mor…
 
This week, after experiencing unexpected loss, Laura and Susan discuss the role of grief and friendship, and the bittersweet and inevitable intermixing of joy and heartbreak along this journey we call life. Inspired by the genius of Brene Brown, Karen Walrond and Susan Cain, Laura and Susan agree with the conclusion that our broken hearts connect u…
 
This week, Susan and Laura had the distinct pleasure of unpacking the mind of Mike Michalowicz, the man Simon Sinek claims might be “the patron saint of entrepreneurs”. We have to agree. He’s a saint, but our kind of saint - comfortable with subversive humor served with a dash of profanity. On a mission to end entrepreneurial poverty, Mike changed …
 
Whether the war in Ukraine is causing feelings of unease, uncertainty, or outrage, there are creative ways to activate and support. There are ways to use your talents and resources for the power of good. Tune in this week to hear of creative acts by artists and others to support our colleagues in Ukraine. If you’ve wondered how you can put your tho…
 
Everywhere you look these days there is a con going down… Inventing Anna, The Tinder Swindler, The Dropout, The Puppermaster, Super Pumped, WeCrashed… Con artists are having a moment. Tune in this week to learn more about the hustle, and how you can avoid being a “sucker”, a “stooge”, or a “gull” – Better yet, turn the confidence game into an inspi…
 
Tired of the “starving artist” trope? Sick of the storyline that says “I’m creative and eccentric, I’m no good with numbers” Isn’t it time you felt a sense of personal agency over your finances? You are smart and capable. Tune in for some tips on how you can be even smarter and more capable.By Susan Blackwell, Laura Camien
 
You know that voice in your head? The one that drives you crazy sometimes? The one that points out your flaws and re-plays your mistakes over and over? What is the point of that voice? Tune in this week as we gain an understanding of how to tame this voice, and put it to good use, thanks to Chatter: The Voice in our Head, Why it Matters, and how to…
 
Sit back and marvel at this true tale of limitations inspiring ART as a survival job in less than ideal circumstances. That’s right. The Florida Highwaymen turned to art to elevate themselves and their community out of poverty while reflecting the beauty of Florida landscapes. These master painters (some trained and some self-taught) captured the b…
 
Want to know what every single creative can learn from the development and launch of Wordle, the simple and most unexpected game of the century? Recorded riiiiiiiight before Wordle was sold to The New York Times, we can still learn how creating for an audience of one, making your work accessible and so much more relates to everything we hope to sha…
 
You have undoubtedly heard her unforgettable voice on hits such as “Everybody, Everybody”, “It’s Raining Men” and so many more. But Martha Wash had to use her voice to fight to make sure you knew her name. Tune in to find out how Martha took the record labels to task for abusing the demo track system. Martha paved the way for all artists - to make …
 
If you’ve ever found yourself scrolling through your feeds or combing through google search results thinking “there must be something more out there”, well, this episode is for you! Laura and Susan dive into the concept of “Rewilding Your Attention” - the phrase was coined by Tom Critchlow, shared by CJ Eller and then expanded up on by Clive Thomps…
 
This week, snuggle up and join Susan and Laura as they delve into Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May. If you've ever wondered why we feel a pull to retreat indoors and slow down as the days get darker - look no further. It is not your imagination, and it is very much a necessity that we take time to quiet o…
 
This week, Laura and Susan dig into this taboo topic and explore how and why shame keeps us from talking about money, and sometimes even doing anything about money. But valuing ourselves for the amount of money we have accrued has not always been the norm, in fact, it is a rather new framework. Listen in and imagine a time when we valued ourselves,…
 
Sometimes a spark is so surprising, so complex and thought provoking it can stun you into silence. And so it was when Susan shared Operation Paperclip with Laura. As outlined in the book, Operation Paperclip by Annie Jacobsen, information on this secret United States intelligence program was recently de-classified and we are now all learning about …
 
What keeps us from writing those pages we say we WANT to write? What keeps us from taking that first small step toward our goal? What keeps us from doing anything at all related to our creative vision? Why, its our dear ol’ pal, Creative Resistance. This week, Laura and Susan dive into the warm and cozy distractions that keep us safe from the conse…
 
This week, Susan and Laura dip their toes into the topic of Collaboration via the Metallica Masterclass. They discuss how the members of Metallica, guided by their mantra “whatever’s best” for the project, share how they communicate, keep their egos in check, get the most out of everyone, and how they stay inspired to come together to create great …
 
Here at The Spark File, our mission is to spark creativity, free innate self-expression, and grant permission to fear less and create more. In this episode, we share two recently discovered like-minded creative organizations that have completely lit us up! Here’s how it happened…First, Pam Harris introduced us to @creativemornings and Creative Morn…
 
This week, Susan and Laura delve into the very best ways social media can be used - to inspire, educate and spread joy. We call this The Spark Side of Social Media. Listen and light yourself up with tales of legacy-worthy chocolate via @morticianinthekitchen, kneel at the alter of @andy_birkey's gothic woodworking, and marvel at the beauty of fore …
 
This week, Laura and Susan explore the inexplicable craving to consume pandemic-related entertainment during a pandemic - not entertainment about the current state of the world, no, we prefer imaginary pandemics dreamed up in the minds of fiction writers and TV writers like Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, The End of October by Lawrence Wri…
 
Welcome back, Sparklers! All are welcome here. As long as no one is being a d**k, you are invited to be your real, open, authentic selves. This week on The Spark File, Susan and Laura get warmed up for Season 3! They share their gratitude and a mini-spark about indigenous food from The New York Times and an article about Sean Sherman, creator of Th…
 
In the season 2 finale of The Spark File podcast, Susan and Laura celebrate the highlights of the past year - revisiting favorite sparks of inspiration, and recognizing the incredible achievements of the participants in The Spark File Select Group Creativity Coaching program.By Susan Blackwell, Laura Camien
 
This week, Susan and Laura got to spend extra time with their beloved Hunter Bell, Tony and Drama Desk nominee, Spark File Creativity Coaching client, and creative / writer / maker extraordinare! Tune in to feel the love and the belly laughs. Too much is never enough Hunter Bell. Friends! We are opening the doors to our upcoming classes! Whether yo…
 
This week, Susan and Laura take a deep dive with Tony-award nominee (and Creativity Coaching Client) John Ellison Conlee, and discuss the creation of a life in addition to a career. Plus, in this very special episode, The Spark File debuts a short story written and read by John Ellison Conlee himself - Cup of Joe. Friends! We are opening the doors …
 
On this episode of The Spark File, Susan and Laura examine that deep seated fear that you're just not as good / worthy / capable as others think you are. Imposter Syndrome. Check out this episode and you just might find ways to let go of those coping mechanisms and start to believe in your own abilities. Friends! We are opening the doors to our upc…
 
This week, Susan and Laura share sparks inspired by the bestseller Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. This exploration of grief led to a greater understanding of Mary Todd Lincoln, perhaps some tolerance and acceptance regarding her mental health, and introduced us to the phenomenal story of Elizabeth Keckly, former enslaved person who became…
 
This week on The Spark File, Susan and Laura discuss The Brain of Jill Bolte Taylor - one hell of a managed mind! The woman who taught us to "Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space" is the source of this weeks creativity spark. Tune in to hear Dr. Bolte Taylor's story (as shared in her book My Stroke of Insight) and how…
 
This week, Susan and Laura serve up a single spark -- a spark 30 years in the making! Learn about the little card game that could - Canasta - and how it rose to fame, despite the Bridge Club establishment trying to keep it down! Friends and Foes, Joy and Pain, Triumph and Defeat intermingle at the card table. Plus a bonus mini-spark - did you know …
 
This week, Susan shares a spark so vast, we give it all our attention - Performance Anxiety. If you've ever felt tormented by fear, panic or anxiety related to your chosen profession, please do not miss this episode! Susan and Laura go deep into the prevalance of performance anxiety, what it feels like, who experiences it, and potential solutions t…
 
This week, Susan and Laura dig into the realities of living as a Highly Sensitive Person and/or an Empath (and how to know for sure if you are one!), Plus, Priya Parker's life-changing approach to bringing people together in The Art of Gathering.By Susan Blackwell, Laura Camien
 
This week, Susan and Laura take a spin through some of the best advice they've ever received (including "don't pickle it!") plus, the very encouraging signs that people everywhere are entering the sixth stage of grief - finding meaning.By Susan Blackwell, Laura Camien
 
Wanting to write about your lived experience, but worried about how the other key players in your life might react? This week, Susan and Laura offer up various ways you can approach it so that your creativity is free flowing and feelings don't get hurt. Plus, recent events stirred up some questions about the monarchy, so we unpack what it is and wh…
 
This week, the documentary Made You Look sparks a conversation about the phenomenon of justification and how our brains work overtime when we've done something we shouldn't have, PLUS, the joy-filled approach to closet curation that promotes self-expression and creativity over consumption!By Susan Blackwell, Laura Camien
 
This week, Susan and Laura are thrilled to talk all things Broadway with someone who has loved theatre since birth, and spent their lives amplifying the joy of it - Paul Wontorek, Editor-in-Chief of Broadway.com!By Susan Blackwell, Laura Camien, Paul Wontorek
 
This week, Susan and Laura delve into EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) with Jenny Clift, Coach for classical musicians and stage performers. Jenny paves the way to wealth, success, balance, and inner peace using the scientifically proven power of tapping.By Susan Blackwell, Laura Camien, Jenny Clift
 
This week, Susan and Laura dig into two worthy explorations -- Do you know your Why? Do you know why your Why matters? So many ways to consider how we can act intentionally, on and with purpose. Plus, they revisit Twyla Tharp's classic book: The Creative Habit. Do you have a habit of creativity? If not, you know The Spark File feelings on it - bett…
 
This week, Susan and Laura have the honor of spending time with artist extraordinaire Dax Valdes of Hollaback, discussing their free bystander intervention trainings aimed at making the world a better, and safer, place for us all. Tune in to hear how you can make a difference in ending harassment in all its forms.…
 
This week, Susan and Laura talk to poet, teacher, speaker Taylor Mali. Called "a ranting comic showman and a literary provocateur" by The New York Times, Taylor is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series “Def Poetry Jam”. He is a four-time National Poet…
 
This week, Laura and Susan take a deep dive into the fascinating tale of betrayal, corporate espionage, and family feuds that resulted in the world's most famous breakfast cereals, and how the feedback process can work in service and support of the artist to the benefit of all.By Susan Blackwell, Laura Camien
 
This week, Susan and Laura have a bloody delightful time talking with Sir Richard Eyre, whose creative work has spanned all manner of Arts -- directing theatre, film, television and opera, as well as writing books and plays. He has guided Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Dame Judi Dench and many more to some of our favorit…
 
This week, Susan and Laura offer up two new sparks of creativity - the many ways we can be sparked to make art out of art, plus, a myriad reflections on the tumultuous past few weeks, and how reflecting might just put us on the path to healing. Tune in, get inspired, and then take it and make it!By Susan Blackwell, Laura Camien
 
This week, the incomparable Susan Stroman sits down to share it all with Susan and Laura, including lessons learned from the lockdown, insights from her 5x Tony Award Winning career, as well as what it's all for. Spoiler Alert: the answer is love. From her work on The Producers, Crazy For You, Bullets Over Broadway, Contact, The Scottsboro Boys and…
 
This week on The Spark File, Susan and Laura explore how an Upper Limit Problem (as defined in The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks) might be keeping you from pursuing or completing your creative goals; AND file under "Insight from The Greats"-- storytelling secrets gleaned from the David Sedaris masterclass. Friends! We are opening the doors to our upcom…
 
This week, Broadway performer turned meditation and mindfulness expert, Emily Fletcher gives us all the details on how learning to meditate makes us better at life. The mastermind behind Ziva Meditation, Emily has our mental support covered -- now including Ziva Kids! Friends! We are opening the doors to our upcoming classes! Whether you need an qu…
 
This episode of The Spark File is dedicated to the memory of one of our creative heroes, Sir Ken Robinson. Laura shares the tale of how Ken walked into her life and left an indelible mark on her creativity and on The Spark File company she and Susan are now building. Be sure to check out the Imagine If Festival going on now online at Imagine-if.com…
 
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