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Brandish

Words about words, brands, names and naming, and the creative process.

#sparkchamber 082117 Robin Rothstein

With great pleasure, we welcome Robin Rothstein to the #sparkchamber today. Robin started an exciting new gig recently at The Clyde Fitch Report as a columnist and editor. “I love the focus of this site — covering topics at the nexus of arts and politics.” As a creative person who is also a longtime arts advocate and activist and Chair of the Arts Committee of her Manhattan Community Board, this is her sweet spot. In her column, Follow The Leader, she highlights people who have shown leadership in the arts in some way, and also shines a light on the political components associated with the steps they've taken. “Pursuing an artistic life in this day and age has become increasingly challenging, what with the rancorous political climate and soaring costs for artists and arts organizations.” The people she highlights don't necessarily have titles, though they could. They are mainly people who have connected to the arts in some way, and then risked taking some sort of meaningful action to advocate for a better world. “I want to explore how people become leaders and what it means to be a leader. Because we all could use some good leadership stories these days, right?”

Robin is Co-Producer and Book Writer/Lyricist of the Off-Broadway hit family musical, Mad Libs Live! She originated the idea of adapting the concept of the World's Greatest Word Game, "Mad Libs" to the live stage, secured the rights from Penguin Random House, and ushered the project to an Off Broadway run. You can read more about that — and more! — at her website: and follower her on Twitter @robinrothstein

1.] Where do ideas come from? 

For me — a place of quiet, clarity and connection. When I am in that peaceful, zone-like place where I can listen to both my authentic self and whatever muse-like source out there that may be sending signals, that is where I hear the truth, the ideas and the voices. I then begin to make connections and go places I did not anticipate. You start with ideas, which is great, but then you have to have the discipline and faith to let those voices say what they want to say and truly understand what the core desires and conflicts are.

2.] What is the itch you are scratching?

To articulate myself and my observations in a meaningful and authentic way that resonates with people. Also, I feel like people get the real me and really "get me" through my writing. It is this deep sense of the connection with others through creativity that makes me feel alive, grounded and joyful.

3.] Early bird or night owl, tortoise or hare?

Early bird, no question. I love mornings — grinding my coffee, the way the light shines through my windows, looking out on my building's beautiful garden into a new, fresh day full of possibilities. Morning is when I am most alert and excited. That said, I have also (inconveniently) had AMAZING insights at 4am where I have to keep jumping out of bed and over to my computer the ideas are coming are coming so fast. This usually happens when I am in the middle of writing a play. I love when that happens because when things click like that and I'm in flow it's exciting and rewarding and motivating — even if it wreaks havoc on my ability to function the next day! And as far as tortoise or hare, I like to alternate between these two energies. Sometimes you just gotta be a hare and plow through because the ideas that come immediately are the best and you gotta just run with them. No judgement. This has become a great skill for me, working under the gun. Some of my best writing has come from being a hare! Other times, though, I do need to be a tortoise and let things simmer. Usually this when I am working on larger ideas and longer projects where, if I try to whip up a big story too fast, it'll come out under-cooked.

4.] How do you know when you are done?

When life changes enough that what I'm working on feels less urgent. It doesn't mean I won't return to it one day — you kind of know when that happens, when the timing is right, the work re-emerges organically in some way — but for the moment, it feels done and time to be fully open and ready for the next exciting idea!