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

#sparkchamber 081919 — Diane Sirois

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Another beautiful week of full-bloom summer, the perfect backdrop for #sparkchamber to welcome wonderful human being, Diane Sirois. A career journalist who entered self-imposed exile from the newsroom after burning out about 15 years ago, she now lives her life. Writer. Editor. Photographer. Hiker. Mountaintop fire tower steward in the beautiful Catskills. Caption editor and former trainer of many, many other caption editors [their work rolls when you mute Netflix or similar]. In her words, “I’m well into my fifties now and assuming that I’ll figure life out sooner or later [um, it’s looking like later]. I don’t know whether to be comforted or alarmed that most of the older folks with whom I hike and hang out don’t have it figured out, either. Today, I’m going to choose the former.”

1.] Where do ideas come from?

Anywhere. Everywhere. I keep a wide net cast at all times, and just being in the world, it tends to collect some interesting stuff. Anything can be inspiration. Often, it works from the outside in. I rarely wake up and think, “Well, I’m in a happy/depressed/anxious mood today, I’m going to write something that’s happy/depressed/anxious.” More often, I’ll see or otherwise encounter something that is then filtered through that mood. Or a word or series of words will pop into my head and that’ll be a launching point.

I’m also a big fan of absurdity, irony, and metaphor, or any combination thereof. And the outside world particularly at this point in history, is a really target-rich environment where those are concerned.

2.] What is the itch you are scratching?

I like textures, both visual and verbal. I like to have fun with words and images. The older I get, the less interested I am in making something “definitive.” Hey, once it’s out of my head, committed to a medium, and circulating publicly, I have zero control over how it’s interpreted. And everybody brings something different to that party, which is kind of terrific.

3.] Early bird or night owl? Tortoise or hare?

My current day job is not creative in the least, so I try to shoehorn as much as I can into the margins. Most mornings, I’m outside by 6:30 or so with some sort of camera for an hour or two of outdoor therapy before a day of [mostly] sitting in front of a screen begins.

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

I’m not sure I do, and I’m never sure I am. Editors like to tweak and groom. That carries over to just about everything I create. Sometimes, you just have to enforce a deadline, real or conjured.

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