Friday (Thursday) Letter, 6-15-17

Welcome to summer!

We now begin our 4-10 work week tradition that will carry us through the summer months.  My calendar says I’ve already filled every free Friday with an adventure.  I’m not sure how that happened.  However, I hope YOU have a summer filled with adventure, relaxation and (hopefully) sunshine.

I want to add my name to those who have extended gratitude for the hard work that is required to pull off graduation.  The Student Recognition Committee with support from all sorts of staff and faculty did a great job at making sure we had another successful commencement.  We had more graduates walk than ever before, we had a bigger crowd than ever before, and we used more cups than ever before.  =)  Thanks for the hard work of everyone who played a role in last Friday’s ceremony.

Congratulations are now officially in order for Dr. Catherine Crain who becomes our fourth faculty member to reach Emeritus status.  The Trustees voted unanimously last night to award Catherine the status of emeritus faculty.  We are happy for Catherine’s new status, for all of her retirement adventures she has planned, and for the fact that she will stay close to Cascadia and continue teaching for us on occasion.

No good deed goes unpunished.  Yes, I’ve said that multiple times this week.  One instance involves the 15 Year Service Wall.  Since its unveiling, we’ve found three misspelled names (how does that happen after a review by three different people, including myself ??) and at least one person who hasn’t served 15 years.  That does beg some explanation, however.  Part-time and full-time status were not considered in the determination of “15 years”.  If your start date began over 15 years ago, and you’ve worked continuously for Cascadia in any capacity since then, your name should be on the wall.  Vicki is coordinating the corrections; talk to her directly if you feel there is an error.

I am entering Summer with optimism.  Our budget is looking better; I hope the legislature doesn’t change that.  We have multiple summer work groups starting; I look forward to seeing the product of their work at the end of the summer. And I get to start Coffees for Three with the staff; bring a hat…we’ll sit outside whenever possible.

Have a great weekend.

 

Friday Letter, 5-19-17

Today’s Friday Letter focuses mostly on a long-term discussion about the idea of our campus hosting Tent City.

Last Spring, I was presented with a recommendation by a campus task force suggesting that we should bring Tent City to campus for three months as a means of fulfilling our mission around integrated education in a learning-centered environment.  The interactions offered by such an event would create opportunities for us to teach our students how to apply their education to real world issues.  I responded to this recommendation by saying that we were not ready as a campus.

There were several criteria that needed to be met in order for me to feel more comfortable with this opportunity. These criteria included:

  • A report from UW Seattle about their hosting experience. They hosted last winter and I was hoping to better understand how this impacted campus. The leader of the effort at UW Seattle (Sally Clark) came to campus last month and spoke with several of us including our Pluralism Committee, a representative from the original campus Task Force, and a representative from UW Bothell.
  • A conversation with UWB about their willingness to co-sponsor the hosting. There exists an RCW that actually prevents any camping specifically on our campus. In order to get an exception to the RCW, both the Chancellor of UWB and I would have to request this of the Secretary of State. I had a conversation with UWB on Monday of this week about Tent City.
  • An understanding of the impact on human resources and financial resources. Many of you attended last week’s budget meetings and understand the state of the budget. Also, I continue to be concerned about the capacity of our faculty and staff to take on more things. This concern has been validated through my Coffee for Threes.
  • The identification of an appropriate space. This has gotten more complicated over the year as we have been on the hunt for spaces to build our next parking lot.
  • And, finally, a personal belief that our campus was culturally ready to host.

These were the things I wanted to consider before saying “yes.” As of today, I’ve had the opportunity to find the answers and have the conversations. Let’s talk about each of the 5 points (this time in backwards order…):

  • I believe the campus is culturally ready. The work we have done in DIA’s and Cavolines affirms for me that this campus believes strongly in inter-cultural competency and is ready to take on the presence of people who have fewer resources than we do.
  • Finding an appropriate space has become more difficult over the year. The space we identified last year has now been designated as the future site of a parking lot, which we hope to start construction on next year. And, after reviewing the campus map with UWB this week, we could not find another site that would allow for the necessities of Tent City. We work on a hillside; there is not much flat space accessible to water.
  • By having my conversation with UW Seattle, I am aware now of the huge impact on staff and finances. As you know, we may be operating in a deficit situation next year. I cannot approve the hosting because I fully believe that it will have a significant fiscal impact. Add to that, UW Seattle ended up taking their monetary support from their foundation because of criticism over using state funds. Our Foundation is not in the same place.
  • The impact on staff was huge. Over 10 departments needed to be involved, including risk management, safety, facilities, grounds, custodial, human resources, etc. As a state agency, we have requirements to staff and attend to such events. And, the common theme about staffing is that most all of these departments report to UWB. Not only were the departments tasked with the care of Tent City, but UW Seattle had an employee devoting 50% of her time to the facilitation of the experience. After a conversation with UWB, we decided we cannot afford to divert our staff to the support of Tent City at this time. We cannot afford the overtime and, like most of our employees, they already have full jobs.

So, as you can tell, the decision has been made to not host Tent City. UW Bothell has been a great partner with us over the past year and has been very willing to explore the ideas that come through Cascadia. I appreciated the partnership as we discussed this opportunity and had a frank discussion about our resources and capabilities. We are in agreement on both sides: we do not know where to physically locate them and we cannot afford the cash and staff support.

The Pluralism committee is in agreement with this assessment. They have suggested an opportunity however…

If an off-site entity would take on the hosting of Tent City, perhaps we could partner with them to create an academic connection that could lead to our desire for integrated learning. I am of course open to this and will connect with any local groups that decide to host Tent City.

Thanks for your understanding.

Have a great weekend.

Shaun Segraves, Yours Truly Editor in Chief

Interview conducted by Thaddeus Vale

Shaun Segraves, our Editor in Chief for the 2017 edition of Yours Truly, shares what it’s like to lead a publication team and champion our creative arts magazine on campus. With his stellar management, communication, and editing skills, Shaun is model for not only excellence in student leadership, but also in integrated and active learning at Cascadia.

Photo credit: Thaddeus Vale

Q: Why did you apply for the Editor in Chief position this year?
A: I have had previous experience as a manager in my chosen career in the past so I felt that it was the right fit for me. I felt that it was the best position for me to utilize my skill set. There is more than just managing involved and I wanted to take a position that has more pressure than a typical position.

Q: What do you do in your role as an Editor in Chief?
A: I delegate all tasks, overlook all the teams, and set and establish the timeline for our publication this quarter. I also meet with the leadership team to check in on their progress and to help them if necessary. I overlook everything and jump in when needed, so it’s basically an all-rounder type position.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge for your team this quarter?
A: The biggest challenge for the team is really making sure that every individual team is working collaboratively with each other, managing that whole experience, and checking and adjusting as we go. We try to look and see if there are any opportunities for improvement within the teams. We also take the time to appreciate the individual contributions people give to the publication.

Q: How will you lead your team to handle it?
A: I will be making sure that the final product is of the best quality it could be. I’m always putting pressure on myself to make sure the publication turns out in the best quality we could achieve.

Q: What do you wish to see at the launch event?
A: I would want to see a well-received interactive event with a diverse audience.

Q: What do you want to notice the first moment you open up the magazine?
A: I want to notice the magazine takes the reader on a journey. I feel that each page should be it’s own experience throughout the publication and no two pages should be alike.

Q: If the budget were unlimited, what would you do?
A: I would make a hard cover version of the publication, and I’d love to make the event a true cocktail party red carpet release event, where people are dressed up and we have passed-appetizers with a wait staff. Truly giving it a special feel, I would also love to frame artwork of the artists themselves as a token of appreciation for submitting artwork for Yours Truly.

Q: What is the key to success in your position?
A: COMMUNICATION IS KEY. I need to be able to see the big picture of the publication process. As the Editor in Chief, you must always see how all the teams interact with each other and oversee all activity.

Q: If a future member of your role wanted to ask for advice, what would you tell them?
A: I would tell them that communication is integral, start planning early, set a timeline, and hold yourself accountable.

Q: What theme does this years’ publication reflect from your point of view?
A: I’ve taken a journey of all three quarters of this class, so it feels like a journey. The poetry and images it appears to be a common theme of a emotional journey that takes place.

Q:
How do you feel Yours Truly contributes to our Cascadia community?
A: I feel like it creates an inclusive environment, not only for our students, but for our faculty and our community as well. Yours Truly has been a meeting place of creativity where people can share and soak in the creative aspect of learning.

Learn more about Yours Truly by connecting with us on social media!

Facebook  •  Twitter  •  Instagram

RSVP to our Launch Event on June 5, 2:00-6:00pm HERE!

Lien Pham, Yours Truly Managing Editor

Interview conducted by Andrew Park

Lien, our Managing Editor for the 2017 edition of Yours Truly, gives us a taste of her important leadership role. She is the “operations and budget wizard” of the YT Team and she’s an expert at fostering good communication among team members.

Photo credit: Thaddeus Vale

Q: Why did you apply for the Managing Editor position this year?
A: I have been taking the Yours Truly magazine publication classes since Fall Quarter. I feel that I am qualified for budgeting and tracking since I have a lot of experience in finance, and I thought this was a great way for me to contribute to Yours Truly.

Q: What do you do in your role as a Managing Editor?
A: I handle the budget for Yours Truly and keep track of the day-to-day operations. I help the Editor in Chief with his tasks. Additionally, I help and contribute to all the teams (Art & Design, Launch Event, and Marketing) related to Yours Truly magazine.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge for your team this quarter?
A: We don’t have too many big challenges this quarter. We have had small problems that we overcame. Typically, these problems involved communication. Everything is on track so far this quarter.

Q: How will you lead your team to handle it?
A: Shaun (our Editor in Chief) and I handle these problems together. We come up with solutions to deal with issues that may occur with communication.

Q: What do you wish to see at the launch event?
A: I want to see a lot of fun with a very chilled-out atmosphere of people having a good time. I also want to see a lot of people at the event, creative decorations, and of course the presence of the Yours Truly team. We also want to inform people for next year’s Yours Truly experiences as well.

Q: What do you want to notice the first moment you open up the magazine?
A: A balance between pictures and poems, visually appealing colors, and something that represents the entire Yours Truly Team.

Q: If the budget were unlimited, what would you do?
A: Have Adele come and sing for me and have the event at CenturyLink Field in Seattle’s SoDo district! I’d also like to have 5-star restaurant food for the event as well.

Q: What is the key to success in your position?
A: It’s balancing between numbers and workload, as well as communication. The most important thing is keeping track of everything– and I recommend using Microsoft Excel and keeping a tracking list. Also, having confidence in what you do is important, as well as trusting in other people when delegating tasks.

Q: If a future member of your role wanted to ask for advice, what would you tell them?
A: I would tell them to be confident and make sure they handle the budget wisely, and to trust the teams.

Q: What theme does this year’s publication reflect from your point of view?
A: I feel the Yours Truly publication inspires curiosity. Most people are unfamiliar with the publication when they come to Cascadia. Yours Truly gives me the excitement of a professional publication process and it also gives me summer vibes because the event is in the spring and early summer.

Q: How do you feel Yours Truly contributes to our Cascadia community?
A: It helps other people know about Cascadia. It’s also a symbol of creativity for the Cascadia student body. It is also a rare opportunity for students to have a job simulation instead of a typical classroom environment.

Learn more about Yours Truly by connecting with us on social media!

Facebook  •  Twitter  •  Instagram

RSVP to our Launch Event on June 5, 2:00-6:00pm HERE!

Friday Letter, 5-5-17

TOPIC 1 of 7:

Cinco de Mayo. From Wikipedia:

Cinco de Mayo is a celebration to commemorate the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has taken on a significance beyond that in Mexico as a date associated with the celebration of Mexican-American culture. In Mexico, the commemoration of the battle continues to be mostly ceremonial, such as through military parades. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is sometimes mistaken to be Mexico’s Independence Day—the most important national holiday in Mexico—which is celebrated on September 16, commemorating the Cry of Dolores that initiated the war of Mexican independence from Spain.

Topic 2 of 7:

In addition to celebrating today’s cultural significance, let’s also take a moment to celebrate the newly wrapped Mobile Collabortory, which we call “Mo”.  Check out Mo here.

Students in Chris Gildow’s fall quarter art class developed this design for the trailer. The students took as their inspiration the garden in which the trailer resides when not on the road and the theme of mobility.

Thanks to Chris, his students, and the College Relations staff (Meagan, Sara, Susan, Elise, and Anne) for all their hard work. Mo is officially ready to be used as a lab, mini museum, gathering spot. Midori Sakura has it checked out for wetland day on May 25 when it will be used as a photo booth and check-in for wetland tours and mud pies. If you are interested in programming the trailer for a lesson, an exhibit or an event, please email apogson@cascadia.edu.

Topic 3 of 7:

I’d like to take a moment to highlight some other student work. As a class project, one of David Ortiz’s classes (HUM 107) built small pantries to be placed in the Center for Cultural Inclusion and the Veterans Resource Center.  David and Larissa have been instrumental in keeping the pantries stocked, and they have been well used by many of our students facing food insecurity.  They are hoping to make these permanent fixtures on campus and using them to engage the campus community on issues of Food Insecurity.  They would like to assure that all employees are aware of the pantries and enlist some help for a small group that will keep them running.  If interested, please email David (dortiz@cascadia.edu)  or Larissa (ltikhonova@cascadia.edu).

Topic 4 of 7:

Thank you to Jared, Dianne, Chris, and Samantha for leading our Cavoline series this year. I believe we have landed on a sustainable model for our growth in Cultural Competency.  As such, Jodie Galvan, Mohan Raj, Sarah Zale, and Tasha Walston have been selected to design and lead next year’s series.  They will meet with the current team this quarter to transition and then start developing our options for next year over the summer.  I look forward to working with them and inspiring your continued commitment to become more culturally competent.

Topic 5 of 7:

Please note that we are soliciting nominations for employee service awards. Email Mark Collins for details or to nominate someone by the end of next week.  Note that part-time staff are also now eligible for the awards!!  Thanks to the Foundation Board for widening the criteria.

Topic 6 of 7:

I appreciated everyone’s participation at the DIA. This was an important day for us as we keep everyone up to speed on our current priorities and use your feedback to shape future priorities.  It is expected by our accrediting body that we do this, so it was a nice way to meet the requirement and also gain valuable feedback. If you would, please take a few minutes to complete this short, anonymous follow-up survey to help us improve future DIA and Closing the Loop meetings. Please complete the survey even if you were not able to attend.

http://baseline.campuslabs.com/cc/ctl2017

The survey will remain open through next Wednesday (5/10/2017). Please direct any questions concerning the survey to Glenn (gcolby@cascadia.edu). Thank you in advance for providing feedback.

Topic 7 of 7:

Safety Check…do you have the number for Campus Safety pre-programmed into your phone? If not, I’d suggest you find out the number and do so that you can be prepared to call for help when needed.  (I could give you the number, but the teacher in me thinks you can find a way to figuring it out and that this would be better pedagogy.)  =)

Remember to always identify yourself, give your location, and clearly state the problem with calling Campus Safety.

Have a great weekend.

Friday Letter, 4-14-17

Did you know that our campus safety department did 278 safety checks in our buildings last month? Those happen sometimes when people are here, sometimes when people are not.  But I thought it was an interesting fact.  We indeed have our safety personnel around us and I appreciate the time they spend checking on us.  In talking to Cham, our Campus Safety Director, he indicated that it is important for him to now have the safety officers really get to know names and people so we can develop good connections.  I support that 100%.

Don’t forget the TEACH-IN.  April 24, 1:00-3:00 pm, in Mobius.  Check out the poster here.

Last week I talked about the history of our campus and the peoples who came before us. I supplied the references for those that asked, but (as I expected) I made some mistakes and applied my lens of white colonialism to my report.  I want to thank David Underwood for helping me to understand how complex this history is and how the language in my report actually furthered white privilege and perspective.  I think this topic may be the focus of a future TEACH-IN!!  Regardless, a future Friday Letter will be coming to help us understand those mistakes.

This week I attended an evening town hall in Redmond given by Congresswoman Susan del Bene. The gym at Lake Washington High School was packed.  They started off the evening by introducing me and the mayors of the surrounding cities that were in attendance.  It was nice to be the only non-elected public official to be recognized.  I’m glad the congresswoman thinks that highly of Cascadia and recognizes us as a community resource.  My point in mentioning this event actually falls along a different theme.  The audience was encouraged to ask questions.  Many of the questions had a tone and an emotion behind them that was accusatory.  It was “furious”, not “curious”.  I’ve always been taught to be “curious” first and “furious” later.  But that’s not how it went down.  I have so much respect for the congresswoman because she always thanked every individual for their question, recognized their concern, and answered directly.  She also has an excellent command over the issues.  There was not one thing asked where she did not know details.  And those details often provided the perspective that the questioner lacked and it diffused the anger.

The moral of my story is that we need to be a culture of inquiry. We need to ask the questions that give us the details before making the assumption of authenticity.  We do that pretty well here at Cascadia, but it was a nice reminder to constantly ask questions, AND ask the questions in a way so that we seek positive outcomes.  I was able to visit both exempt and classified assemblies this week.  I think both groups did a good job of being positively inquisitive.

As a reminder, there is a Board meeting next week, budget council is starting to hear requests, we’re talking about parking, and there are about a 1000 other things going on. Graduation will be here before you know it.

Have a great weekend.

Creativity Myth #9: Your creations are your babies.

This Fall Quarter, students enrolled in Courtney Putnam’s HUMAN 210 course (part one in the year-long series to produce Cascadia’s creative arts magazine Yours Truly) are reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear and debunking common myths about creativity, myths that Gilbert addresses in her book. In the following post, Cascadia students Bailey and Whitney address the myth that your creations are your babies.

Your Creations Are Your Mama

by Whitney Taylor and Bailey Hansen

hotel

Have you ever created something, and then felt a certain attachment to it that forced you to never show it to anyone? Because you were so utterly involved and attached to the creation of such a piece art? Why did you feel that way? What did you do?

There’s something absolutely freeing and lovely about allowing people the privilege of viewing your work. I say privilege, because it is just that. When you show someone something you have put time and effort into making beautiful in your eyes, it doesn’t only affect you, but it affects the viewer as well. In a powerful way. Because you can bet that the observer of your art has never seen something exactly like what you just created. This whole process of sharing releases something inside of you. For some people, this is a feeling of joy and freedom; and for others, this is a feeling nervousness and anxiety.

spaceneedleHowever, there must be a root cause to why one would feel a sense of freedom or fear when finally releasing a piece of work to the eyes of the public. And the root cause of this feeling is our attachment to our creations. We tend to naturally treat our art as our “babies.” In the book Big Magic, the author Elizabeth Gilbert explains this natural habit as something we need to quit doing because of the stronghold it places on the sharing and editing of our work. Gilbert states, “If you honestly believe that your work is your baby, then you will have trouble cutting away 30 percent of it someday – which you may very well need to do…you might not be able to release your work or share it at all – because how will that poor defenseless baby survive without you hovering over it and tending to it?”

Your work is not your baby. In fact, as Gilbert stated in her book, if anything you are it’s baby. Imagine where you would be without the things you make. What would you do? Where would you be? Who would you be?

So the next time you find yourself unsure of entrusting your art with the wings to fly and leave the nest, remember this: You do art the service of initially creating it, but it is the one who brings you into being. Let it go.

**

In the spirit of sharing and letting go of your work, please consider submitting your best poetry, prose, and/or visual art to Yours Truly this year! Our submission deadline is December 31, 2016. More details here: https://yourstruly.submittable.com/submit

Friday Letter, 12-2-16

Dear Campus Community,

Over the last several weeks, college and university presidents across the country have emphasized the role of higher education in educating and protecting their students. While Cascadia has written several letters to employees and students reiterating our values, I want to take a moment to summarize the outlook on our campus from the perspective of the administration and the college’s governing board. And so I write this letter on behalf of our Muslims, immigrants, Blacks and Latinx; on behalf of our LGBTQ and individuals with disabilities, our women and our veterans; and on behalf of every person in our community who demonstrates respect towards others and is invested in learning.

It is both a challenging and critical time to be a member of a public institution of higher education in the United States. It is challenging because so many in our community are genuinely afraid for themselves, their families or their friends. It is critical because we are responsible for teaching and defending the values that define Cascadia. This is not the work of solely the administration, the faculty, or student services, but the collective work of all the employees and students who believe in Cascadia and our mission, and who show up every day to commit themselves to shaping a better future for all of us.

Allow me to be perfectly and unequivocally clear about our institution’s mission and values: Cascadia exists to educate all students and to positively transform their lives. Fundamental to that mission is our commitment to the principles of pluralism, social justice, and cultural richness. We have these values so that all of our students can reach their fullest potential. And we will never tolerate behaviors that serve to marginalize individuals or groups. Those who bully, direct hate, or incite violence will be held accountable.

This is neither quick nor easy work. There is no one blueprint to guide colleges through such complexity and ambiguity. We are learning together, in real time, how best to respond to questions, provide comfort and safety, and hold space for those who are struggling to understand, while simultaneously protecting free speech.

At this moment, we cannot know exactly what changes or new federal policies lie ahead and how they will affect us. We may be powerless to influence outcomes on the national stage but we are not powerless to establish the parameters and set the tone on our own campus. It is the responsibility of each of us to hold our neighbors, our co-workers, our fellow students, and campus visitors accountable to our standards of pluralism and social justice. It is our privilege to unite against bigotry, to give students a voice, teach them to be advocates and stand up for human rights.

How will Cascadia demonstrate this commitment and resolve? The college is coordinating activities and events to promote our values and facilitate learning.

  • Community Conversations

Held twice weekly on Mondays & Tuesdays, beginning December 5th and 6th from 12:00-1:00 pm in The Center for Culture, Inclusion, and Community (CC1-002). These discussions will be facilitated by a rotation of faculty and staff and are designed as a safe space for discussion and reflection.

  • Writing on the Wall Project

Students are encouraged to share their perspectives and tell their stories.

  • Border Door Project

Students, staff and community members are invited to illustrate their immigration stories on life-size doors.

  • Freedom of Expression Board

The place on campus for posting information about organizations, groups, initiatives or events that are not directly associated with the college.

  • Bias Incident Response Team

Student Success Services is establishing a “first response” team to manage campus bias incidents.

For information about these opportunities and others, please visit the web page created for this initiative.

As well, the college encourages students to talk with trusted faculty and staff about their experiences, especially if hostility is encountered anywhere on campus. We recognize that it may be difficult to report acts of hate, but sharing the experience with a Cascadia employee will help us think about resources and responses to help prevent further instances of unwanted behavior.

Our campus efforts, our collaboration with the university system, and our work as part of the state’s community college system will hopefully allow us to retain the same safe and positive learning environment we’ve always had. I believe if we truly live the values articulated in the college’s founding documents, and commit to the actions included in this letter, we will be a safer place. We call on our students to have a voice and we will protect that voice. I hope you will stand with me as we make this our reality.

 

Creativity Myth #8: You Must Have Passion to Be Creative

This Fall Quarter, students enrolled in Courtney Putnam’s HUMAN 210 course (part one in the year-long series to produce Cascadia’s creative arts magazine Yours Truly) are reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear and debunking common myths about creativity, myths that Gilbert addresses in her book. In the following post, Cascadia students Lydia and Haley address the myth that you must have passion to be creative.

Creativity Doesn’t Always Begin with Passion

by Lydia Altenberger and Haley Hendrickson

Can you only be creative if you’re passionate about something? I believe passion is something that can be built or grown into. In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic, she discusses this misunderstanding where people believe that you can only be creative if you have passion.

buildingIn my situation, I, Lydia, signed up for Magazine Publication at Cascadia to fulfill a credit— nothing more than that. I didn’t think I would find my passion in this class. After completing a project for our course, which involved creating a poster and stickers, I found out that I loved it. Before I knew it, I started to become interested in graphic design. Everything about it made me excited. It was all so crazy for me, especially since I never expected to find a passion for graphic design. I guess you could say it was hiding away, just waiting to come out. All I had to do was let myself explore new things. As Gilbert writes, “I have chosen to believe that a desire to be creative was encoded into my DNA for reasons I will never know, and that creativity will not go away from me unless I forcibly kick it away, or poison it dead.”

I think it’s safe to say that I am not artistic in any way, shape, or form. Despite this, I, Haley, have had many firsthand experiences that prove you don’t girl-flowersneed passion to create something great. When I was in high school I took a ceramics class, and I only took it because I needed the art credit to graduate. Our first assignment was to make a clay pot. We essentially had to create art out of just a slab of clay, and this seemed impossible to me. I started looking through a book of all the different types of pots we could make with the hope that it would give me inspiration. After a while, I just decided to flip to a random page and recreate the pot I landed on. Once the pot came out of the kiln, it surprisingly looked pretty good. Next, I needed to paint it, and I already had a pattern in mind that I really liked. As I painted the pot, I started to love it. I would even stay late after school to spend more time on it. Now, this same pot I created from flipping to a page in an art book is on a cabinet for display in my house, and I can honestly say I am very proud of what I created.

I don’t believe you need to start out being passionate about something. Passion can be built over time, while you explore different creative possibilities. You may find yourself falling in love with something you didn’t expect, which is where I believe passion can come from.

Please send us your prose, poetry, and visual art! Our submission deadline is December 31, 2016. Learn more here: http://www.yourstruly.submittable.com/submit

Creativity Myth #7: Creativity should be perfect.

This Fall Quarter, students enrolled in Courtney Putnam’s HUMAN 210 course (part one in the year-long series to produce Cascadia’s creative arts magazine Yours Truly) are reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear and debunking common myths about creativity, myths that Gilbert addresses in her book. In the following post, Cascadia students Parlin and Efrain address the myth that your creativity should be perfect.

Imperfection is Perfection

by Parlin Shields and Efrain Aguilar

artStriving for perfection is not a new concept. We are congratulated for being the smartest, for being the fastest, for being the thinnest. Practice makes perfect. Our culture has been nudging us towards “perfection” for as long as we can remember, and it takes some real world experience to realize that this “perfection” they told us about when we were young is only a myth.

But the thing is, perfection does exist. It exists in the machine made and freaks of nature. The human race has used perfection as a tool for survival. Perfection is different depending on the discipline. Like beauty, perfection is subjective, and shifts over culture and time. Are humans perfect? No. If everything had to be perfect, then by golly! nothing would ever happen. People would just stand around stewing in their own inherent failure waiting for genius to pounce—waiting for their muse to shell out some goddamn brilliant ideas.

The need for “perfect” can paralyze you. It’s hard to create when you are scared of the outcome. Fear is the dirty little side effect nobody really likes talking about. “I’ve been absolutely terrified [of creating] every minute of my life” said artist Georgia O’Keeffe, “and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” So you aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect. Humans are chock full of flaws, and that’s OK.

bronzeWell our flaws make us human, and being flawed makes for an interesting life. It gives us character! And culture! And our emotions, for crying out loud!

If art can never be truly perfect, than no brushstroke, angle of a shot, or note of music can ever be the same. But imperfection really is perfection. Imperfection is beautiful. Flaws are beautiful. If everything had to be perfect then we would never hear rock n’ roll, or witness the dada movement. “The diversity in our creative expression is fantastic,” writes author Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic.

So live your creative life. Live without constraints. Live without striving for perfection. Draw! Paint! Write! Concoct! Create! People aren’t perfect, but you are unique, you are flawed—and beautifully so. “Whether you think you’re brilliant or you think you’re a loser,” says Elizabeth Gilbert, “Just make whatever you need to make and toss it out there.” All you have to remember is imperfection is perfection.

Please send us your perfectly imperfect creative works! Learn more here: http://www.yourstruly.submittable.com/submit