Creative Inspirational Wisdom: A Journey into the Heart of Creativity

For our first guest blogger post in our Creative Inspirational Wisdom series, Dr. Patricia Daly-Lipe reflects on her creative journey.


Maybe I am a late bloomer but, finally, I have arrived at an important juncture in my life. What I used to consider a pastime, I now consider a passion. Two creative arts, painting and writing, have become the focus of my life.


I crept slowly into taking my art seriously. As a child, I watched my father paint. I learned to use watercolors when a woman down the street from my home in California opened her house to the neighborhood children and taught painting. Often we would take our tablets down to the rocks and attempt to paint images of the incoming surf.


Later I attended the local Art Center’s painting classes for children in a little white wooden building with trellises laced with flowering Wisteria vines in front. My work won at some shows, but for me, art was just a pleasant thing to do.


I took art classes in school and later in college, but still it was not enough of a passion to warrant full-time study. As a young adult, I studied figure drawing. My likenesses were quite good, but the paintings lacked depth. They were more like caricatures or illustrations. I came to find between years of learning to draw figures with proper proportions and dimensions, tones and contrasts, and learning to paint with style, my own style, there exists a leap of faith. It takes knowing how to draw things and people as they really are to be able to draw or paint them as they appear to you the artist—and knowing who you are is the center piece of creativity.


Vincent Van Gogh said it best. In 1879, he wrote: “I know of no better definition of the word ‘art’ than this: ‘Art is man added to nature,’ nature, reality, truth, but with a significance, a conception, with a character which the artist makes evolve, and to which he expresses, that he frees up, illuminates.” I believe deep down within our very being lives the creative muse, and she is yearning to find expression. It is she who connects to the primal rhythms of the universe. Watching a sunset, looking at the snow-covered bare limbs of a tree, peering into the opened petals of a rose, all these scenes are captured by our creative muse, who stores them in our memory. Someday, she will find release. That is, if we allow it.


But creativity is not confined to art. The writer, be he or she a novelist or historian, a biographer or a reporter, also allows creativity to find expression. For the writer the words paint the picture. Consider poetry. Poetry celebrates feelings. “No tears in the writer; no tears in the reader,” Robert Frost said. This is true of the poem and equally true of literature. Just as “a poem begins with a lump in the throat,” so too a good book should entice the soul, draw upon the emotions and require reflection.


The artist considers the media to use; the writer chooses the words. There is an affinity between musical rhythm and literary rhythm: repetition/meter/movement/harmony. One of the most powerful mimes defining life is sound. Take the ‘motion’ out of ‘emotion.’ Music is motion. Life is motion. For some, the creative muse finds her expression in music. Words are not necessary. The visual is not necessary. Music takes us beyond the external world and draws upon our inner selves, our emotions.


So be it writing, art or music. “Within each of us is a creative core that actively creates the universe,” Robert Hand said.


Man is both creature and creator. Creative energy creates. The journey never ends, and it is the journey, not its destination, and the creating, not the created, that opens our minds and hearts to more than logic, science, or technology can ever know.


Dr. Lipe is a past president of La Jolla Branch NLAPW and DC Branch NLAPW. She is the author of eight books with the ninth—Historic Tales of La Jolla, published by The History Press—due to come out in January. Patricia is the recipient of numerous awards. An artist as well as a rescuer of thoroughbred horses, Patricia shares her love of nature and animals with her husband, Dr. Steele Lipe, at their farm in Virginia. Please visit


Poem of the Week: Autumn Dance

Patricia Dennis
Santa Clara, N. California Branch

A gust of wind

The soft swirl of leaves
Autumn red and gold




So gracefully through the air

Thoughts of landing

But knowing not where

Then one special moment

Upon the earth they have fallen

A few seconds of time
And then

A gust of wind

The soft swirl of leaves

Continually floating


Poem of the Week: Thanksgiving

Calder Lowe
Modesto California Branch


Hurling himself against the confines
of the picket fence, the chained dog yelps,
its cry piercing my car windows at the stop light.

The house is in disrepair and I already know
that dog is beaten, that woman slumped
in the chair on the deck is beaten.

The peeling wooden planks on the exterior
are no fortress against the drunken man
stumbling up the rotting stairs to the door,

his lined face long stamped with resignation,
his fists already clenched in rage.
I beseech the incoming fog to blanket them all

with a modicum of grace, a respite from the despair
of circumstance, imminent storms.
Mostly, I want the dog to curl up in front of a fire,

his paws outstretched in thanksgiving
for one day unmarred by kicks to his spine,
one day of a full belly, one day of impenetrable calm.


Poem of the Week: Granite Battalion

Barb Whitmarsh, Bayou City II Texas Branch
(Happy Veterans Day – and God Bless America)


It was late
and there was a nip in the air
when he went down to stand awhile
with the granite battalion.

They had run out of ammo
twenty years ago
but held the high ground
below the knoll.

They welcomed any support
but words were cheap by now
old medals were appreciated
———melted down————
for potential bullets
but hell they’d done without fire power
all these years

He lingered in the sulphuric air
of his own cigarettes
left them the pack
told them he was coming back
and together they’d crush the enemy
so they could all go home at last


Poem of the Week: Mendocino Revisited

Christine Horner
Alameda/Diablo Branch, CA


This place is different
every time we come, new,
wind-washed, sea-beaten.

Old woods are eaten
larger in every pore, the grain
exposed more deeply.

Birds have forgotten the strain
of yesterday’s song in their wings,
the better to ride today’s wind.

The sea slips blithely away with the sand
that would hold her, ensuring each tide
must come to a beach rearranged.

And, the waves, as well, we know
can only appear to be
exactly alike, yet we

return again
and again, each time
thinking ourselves unchanged.


Poem of the Week: Lydia (1761)

Margaret Leis Hanna, Central Ohio Branch
Written after reading the historical novel, Widow’s War, by Sally Gunning


She walks the shore

Stripped of her husband
she searches
solace on sand.

Breathes salt air
Water suffocated him.

Arms across
hollow heart
she suffers the unwanted.

As waves before her
Love and loss
Ebb and flow

As limitless horizons
Anger and grief
Stretch through her

As moonlight on stilled seas
Calmness and acceptance
Cloak her.

Love brings her
Weeping and walking
Where water widowed her.



Poem of the Week: Native

Nancy Haskett, Modesto, CA Branch President


Dakota, Choctaw, Wampanoag, Comanche –

names that echo off canyon walls,

blow in the wind over prairies,

rise fiercely from flames of burned villages

in smoke as ephemeral as government promises

proven false.

Warriors, weavers, hunters, herders,

once their drums were the heartbeat of this nation

they called home

before they lost the land,

sacrificed it in trade for horses, guns,

measles, smallpox,

boundless land exchanged

for desolate reservations,

countless lives lost in vain.

Yet, the names live on

as we speak the places:

Ma-sa-chu-sett, Minnesota, Monongahela,

Tehachapi, Narragansett, Rappahannock –

as we breathe life into the names

every day


the land remembers


Poem of the Week: Suitable Companion

Christina Laurie, West Falmouth, Cape Cod, MA
Cape Cod Branch, president


(Genesis 2:18 – on the eve of my 50th birthday)


Seven times seven
I have replaced each cell
and now turn over the leaf
of yet another year –
a new woman once again.

Yet still I am a part
of that primordial Eve
created out of dust and drib—
the Adam split
to form a new wo-man;
creation of the Creator,
“Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.”

I am soil, tissue and muscle
and life-giving breath.
Love me
I am a new creation.


Poem of the Week: The Blanket Lady

Sheryl L. Nelms, Member at Large, Clyde, TX
she unwraps herself
from her stack
of blankets
folds each over
her left arm
and hobbles
into the Fort Worth Federal Building
in fifteen minutes
she shuffles back
out into the cold
standing on the steep steps
she rewraps
a blue one circles her waist
protecting her legs
a green one wraps around her shoulders
and a pink one lops over her arm
for her to sit on


Poem of the Week: Tuesday in New York City

Etta Schaeffer, Boca Raton, Florida


It was a beautiful September morning in The Big Apple
My son, my only child was at work.
He was in a building behind a church
and in the shadow of one of a pair of iconic skyscrapers.

Not yet nine o’clock in the morning
everything was quiet and normal,
then the first plane hit.
Everyone thought it was an accident.


Across the street and thirty stories high
the view was incomprehensible.
Seventy stories higher and across the street
people began to jump to escape.


He makes eye contact with a man falling toward the street below.
He is unable to speak or to move, frozen by what he is seeing.
A second plane attacks the other skyscraper.
He knows it’s time to get everyone out.


At ground level bodies litter the pavement like discarded rag dolls.
Stepping over them and around them is indescribable,
yet they do it, they get away stopping for nothing.
All they think about is surviving.


With time they will go on with life.
They know they will never forget
that beautiful Tuesday morning in
September in New York City.