Authentic creativity at Hippocamp: a whole fancy PowerPoint talk

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 8.21.25 AM

I’m super excited about the Hippocamp nonfiction writers conference in Lancaster, PA this weekend! I’ll be giving a talk about how to find your own unique creativity: how to refine it,  own it, and how to make sure you never get blocked from it. I’ve got PowerPoint slides full of embarrassing old photos, helpful tips and cartoons. It’s gonna be fun.

There are still some tickets to the conference available, so come hang out and talk about words with me and a whole bunch of extraordinary writers.

And no promises, but last year at this conference – they had a mashed potato bar.

Just saying.

with love,

~Lisa

(If your school, conference or company is interested in having me come speak – you can see my speaking kit and contact me for more information.)

Why you are never old enough to be too old

I am so old. 
I’ve been working at the same job for eighteen years. What else can I do? 
I am definitely too old.

This was my constant inner monologue. 

When I was twenty-two.

I was an actor, living in the epicenter of our youth-obsessed culture: Los Angeles. Other people might have defined me as “successful” but success was a mirage that inevitably dissolved every time it seemed like I could grasp it. I signed autographs while out at restaurants or late for my root canal. But I got to a point where the joy was drained out of me. I was barely old enough to order a cocktail, but I felt ancient and hollow.

I assumed that my existence would always revolve around movies. Since I was four, my life had been wardrobe calls, accent coaching, and craft services – acting became my identity. It was the only thing I knew how to do.  Continue reading

Follow your bliss…backlash

I think you can find criticism for pretty much anything. I recently had someone say he was never going to read anything else from me because I wished for peace for everyone in the world.

Eating healthy? That’s the wrong kind of healthy.

Helping people? Don’t help them too much.

Cute cats? Hey, why are you discriminating against dogs?

So, it shouldn’t be surprising that there is some push-back about this idea of living a life based in passion. Continue reading

There’s real famous. Then there’s me.

It is possible to leave Hollywood.

It’s not easy.

People wrinkle their foreheads at you and ask “why?” in this tone that makes you feel like you have just announced your intention to dress yourself entirely in tinfoil. People say you’re crazy for walking away from a good career just because it wasn’t making you happy. But it can be done. You can leave the film industry and do new things and you can almost leave it all in the past. Almost.

Certain things tend to linger.

I rarely talk about my old job in my daily life. I am now a writer who lives in Virginia, and my acting past is simply not relevant. I’ve been friends with people for a while and they have no idea that I used to be an actor. Usually, it will come up because I have to explain why I never graduated from high school or why I have DVDs of the movies that are still in theaters on my coffee table. Continue reading

Embrace your weird

Me. At my wedding.

Me. At my wedding.

I’ve always felt like I was weird.

I’m goofy and dorky and awkward. I make faces like that when I’m supposed to be a composed bride.

Sometimes people stare at me. There is pointing. And whispering.

I didn’t go to school the way most other people did. I had different experiences and I didn’t know things that other people knew about. I didn’t know how to play hopscotch or jacks, I knew how to play poker and craps – those were the kinds of games we played on set.

I was super insecure about that. I liked my job as an actor, I enjoyed working, but I also felt ashamed because it made me different. Continue reading

“You look so familiar” : what it’s like to get recognized

I recently got an email asking me about the “recognizing thing.”

I get this question a lot, so I thought I would answer it here. People want to know if it still happens (yes, but not as much as it used to) and if I hate it (hate is a terribly strong word. I hate bigotry and raisins. I don’t hate getting recognized).

But most people say something like “I don’t get it – is it invasive if someone just comes up to say hello?”

The answer is no, it doesn’t make me angry or upset or annoyed – it’s nothing that simple or dramatic.

It makes me kind of embarrassed. It makes me shy. It makes me awkward. (Okay, more awkward.) Continue reading