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in the voices around you

Finding Creativity: Tanya Babcock
Finding Creativity is a guest posting series where I invite people to share with us how they find creativity in the world.

I am pleased to welcome Tanya Babcock to find creativity in the world. Tanya studied Creative Writing as an undergrad and technology in graduate school. She is a career marketing person with stints in manufacturing and now content management software solutions. In November 2008, she launched The Lakeview Review, an online and print literary journal, to feed her creative side. The first journal will be printed and distributed late January 2009.

When I write, I find my inspiration in the voices around me. They are usually strangers huddled in coffee shops, cafeterias, and banks. A hurried young mother complaining about her husband’s lack of understanding. An older man reminiscing about a family gathering over a piece of pie. I hear words floating in the air and whisk by grabbing a sentence like a pick pocketer and storing my bounty to survey later.

One such piece has haunted me for twelve years. It was a conversation I heard which titillated me with such delight I could not help but chuckle when I heard it. I was an undergrad studying creative writing at a liberal arts college when I happened upon an odd conversation. I had rushed in from another class with only two minutes to spare and sat down by two men looking fairly relaxed and indifferent to all the people around them. One leafed through a novel on his desk and said very coolly, “today, I spit on an Acura.” Immediately I thought, “What a wonderful and powerful first line for a story.” My reader would be drawn into such an opening line, “why, oh why do you wish to disparage this stranger’s car?” Is it a statement on impoverished youth angered by the privileged? Has the hero/heroine been wronged by someone who drove such a vehicle? Was it a game between two friends? What type of back story could I give this character? I didn’t listen to why this man in my class felt the need to spit on the car. I wanted the reason to be my own. Someday, I thought, I will invent the who, the why, and the how. I will breath into it one day all the words to give it depth, character, and meaning. And until then, I will walk along thinking: “Today, I spit on an Acura.”

I know there are many writers out there who have a nagging starting sentence, middle sentence, or character aching to be heard. I wanted to be able to give these writers another place to be able to work on their craft, collaborate with those in the field, and read works by many able to bring closure to that nagging sentence. I did this with The Lakeview Review. The Lakeview Review launched on November 3rd of this year and includes a collaborative blog, an online writing workshop, and a book club. At the end of January 2009, we will be publishing a journal (online and in print) with several first-time writers and the winners of our Winter 2009 Writing Competition. I’ve personally read some beautiful prose, and I predict choosing a winner on December, 31, 2008 will be a formidable task in deed.

It has been an ambitious endeavor (marketing nation-wide, scheduling a trade show in Chicago, advertising and introducing the journal to universities and writing associations across the country). I am elated by the response, and I hope this popularity will only increase as we continue to deliver quality writing, teaching and discussions.

Tanya, we wish you all the best in your creative and entrepreneurial endeavors and hope that we'll be able to feature your lucky winners at month's end!