Good morning, dear Readers! Please join me in welcoming an amazing woman who I am so grateful to have cyber-met a few months ago. I was perusing another blog and this gorgeous image caught my eye. I thought, wow, something beautiful lives behind this button! Click!
And I was right. Not only something beautiful but someone of heart, passion and creativity who has brought a lot of colour and joy to my life through her e-zine, Sprout! And here she is, Amanda Fall!
Amanda, I’m going to start with one of my favourite questions: when you were a child, what would you be found doing, when left to your own devices?
Reading, reading, reading. Soon I also began creating worlds of my own, writing a “novel” about twin sisters with “waterfall strawberry blonde ringlets.” As a very shy little girl, I found freedom and friends in my beloved books. I also loved wandering in the nearby Kentucky woods with my brothers and cousins, looking way up into a canopy of green and feeling so safe.
Isn’t there something intriguing about blonde twins? That takes me right back to the days I used to devour Sweet Valley books by the armful! It’s wonderful that you belonged to really safe and creative worlds from a young age.
I met you, of course, when I was drawn to your magazine, Sprout. Tell us more about it. What’s the story behind Sprout – the name, the vision, how it came to be?
Oh, Sprout. How my heart pounds at the thought! Sprout began as a teeny-tiny, timid seedling in my preteens and early teens, a little breath of an idea. I wanted to write and publish a physical zine “for kids, by kids.” I wasn’t quite ready to make that dream a reality, but always had that yearning in my heart to express myself and share stories with people around the world.
In late 2010, after years of sporadically selling my art and writing, and discovering a new love for the technological freedom of digital publishing, my zine-dream drifted back into thought. What if? What if a long-ago dream could now be reality, but in digital form? Suddenly it all made sense: my art, writing, digital connections—it all came together in Sprout.
Now I’m blessed beyond belief and thrilled to publish a new issue of Sprout every month, each cultivating a particular theme in everyday life. No matter what the theme (Boldness, Creativity, Kindness, etc.), Sprout is designed to uplift and inspire through color, beauty, and meaning. Sprout’s pages are bright and beautiful, bringing together art, poetry, prose, and so much more in an environment of joy. Sprout has sweet contributors and readers all over the world. It really is my dream come true!
The name reflects my desire to focus on everyday growth, cultivating concepts like celebration, adventure, and joy. I want to meet people where they are in life, helping them find beauty and meaning even in—or especially in—the broken places. Sometimes our lives need to be churned up for the best growth to happen. That’s where Sprout comes in.
That’s fantastic! That really is like a fairy tale – only you’ve made it seem so plausible. I’m sure many of my readers can relate to having a long-ago dream that is never really lost…I hope your example demonstrates that our dreams can become our reality and our reality can be like a dream!
I talk about authenticity on this blog – specifically, I call that true Self our creative Self – and I wonder if you can tell us what living authentically means to you.
I’ve really been working on this in my own life, striving to think, act, and speak in harmony with my core values and beliefs. When I end a day feeling uncomfortable or dissatisfied, it’s usually because I wasn’t being true to what I believe. Living in harmony with my purpose, my calling, and my spiritual core is what it’s all about for me—even if it’s a lifelong process!
Agreed! Authenticity and harmony go hand in hand. I like how you notice your state of being and measure it up to how one should feel when living in harmony. Thanks for sharing that!
Can we take a closer look into your day-to-day life? What does your typical work day look like?
Oh, that’s the beauty of working for myself! (Well, one of many.) I really have no typical day. I go through cycles in the creation of Sprout (my main job right now), so at certain times of the month I’ll create hand-painted backgrounds, scout new materials and contributors, market, network, brainstorm new ideas, work on layouts, etc. I also create lots of original content for Sprout (I’m a co-creator with my contributors, not just an editor), so I dive into writing poetry and prose, taking photographs, and creating visual art. I also blog three times a week at Persistent Green. Somewhere in there I might clean the house. Maybe. When the dust bunnies turn to dinosaurs.
That sounds like Heaven to me! I like your attitude toward housecleaning!
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I had to laugh, because sometimes it feels like I’m always working! Much of Sprout work really feels like play, though—taking photographs, planning new themes, testing new techniques, etc. I love to get my hands messy in paint and glue and marker. I’m rediscovering how much I NEED to be outside, too, unplugging from all the buzzing equipment and reconnecting with something bigger than me—back to that green canopy of my childhood. I love early-morning bike rides or walks with family.
My husband and I also recently purchased a motorcycle, so I’m practicing courage and trust while hopping on the back! I’ve been loving riding with him and family, laughing and leaning our way through the Black Hills curves, seeing this world in a whole new way. Really, any time my husband (also known as my best friend) and I spend together is pure joy. We make each other laugh like nobody else.
Oh my gosh, courage is right! And there’s a quote that came to me when you said this about your work being your play. It’s from an English historian, Arnold Toynbee and he said, “The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.” Sounds like you’ve not only blurred it, but smudged it in some rich-hued finger paints!
In fact, one of the things I love about your magazine is that it is so vibrant and colourful! I feel like I want to grab some paint and brushes when I’m looking at those pages and create something myself! What is your favourite art medium?
Ooooh la la, art supplies! Don’t let me loose in a supply store, ‘cause I could browse for hours. I love juicy watercolors and the way they splash across a page, thick and bold acrylics, squeaky and stinky permanent markers. Ink pens, blotting all over my hands, staining with their passion. Tissue paper, thin and temperamental and oh so surprisingly luscious when mixed with gel medium. Oh! Gel medium! I could eat the stuff. But I probably shouldn’t.
Please don’t! Haha! What can you say to my readers that will help them take that leap and claim their passion, the way you did with starting Sprout?
Listen to your heart-whispers. Pay attention to what makes your heart beat faster, a grin come to your lips for no reason, and gives you a feeling of “oh YES, this is so right.” Sprout has brought me some of the most nerve-wracking and most thrilling times of my life. I spent so long wondering if I could, if I knew enough, if anyone out there would care about what I have to say—when really, I knew deep down (even when I was that timid preteen) that I was born for this.
What were you born for? You won’t regret making that leap of faith . . . and finding out you can fly. Even if you learn that your passion wasn’t quite what you expected, at least you’ll KNOW, and your courage will grow so much in that process.
Great words of wisdom! Let’s hear some more! I hear this a lot from people: “I am not creative.” Or they feel tentative about picking up a paintbrush or crayon because they “don’t know” what to do with it. Now I can tell them to check out your magazines that feature beautiful art projects with step-by-step instruction! What would you say to someone who tells you they are not creative?
I honestly believe we are ALL creative—but in our own unique way. I believe that creativity can blossom while baking a loaf of bread, harvesting tomatoes off your homegrown plant, dressing yourself in color and sparkle, or arranging flowers in a vase. I believe we are all born with a divine spark, a voice all our own—but we need to take time to honor that voice, to nurture it, to cultivate our own way of seeing the world. I can hardly draw a straight line! But you know what, that doesn’t bother me anymore—because MY unique voice embraces beauty in imperfection, and loves wild and abstract color more than traditional “perfection.” Find the way YOU see the world . . . and love it wholeheartedly.
And those of us with time management concerns want to know: How do you manage to get everything you need to do done? Do you have a tried-and-true organizational method?
Remember that dust-bunnies-into-dinosaurs thing? Um, yeah. I don’t get everything done, at least not all at once. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve discovered that I work best in cycles—shifting gently from one activity to the next. I make lots of lists and notes to myself. I follow patterns that work, rather than reinventing the wheel (and just as important, pay attention to “mistakes” and learn from them!). In general, I have a very organic way of working, and try to embrace whatever mode I’m in at the time so I can be most productive and in the zone. I wear many caps at Sprout—editor, creator, marketer, writer, artist, graphic designer, public relations officer, etc. The key for me has been knowing when I work best and hitting that time of flow—even if it’s ten at night. Find what works for YOU!
Thank you so much, Amanda, for that truly inspiring interview and for sharing yourself with the rest of us!
Taslim, thank you so much for inviting me to share here on Let ME Out!! What an honor! I’m thrilled to be here with other creative, passionate souls. Finding a “tribe” has been one of the most important parts of my journey, so I’m especially grateful for this opportunity to connect.
P.S. You’ll notice that I’m an affiliate of Sprout – if you visit her site through this link (or by clicking the Sprout button in my sidebar) and make a purchase, you will be supporting me with a portion of your purchase. Thank you!
P.P.S. I’m so excited about next month’s issue called Joy – not only because man, I love that word, but because a poem I submitted for the issue will make its way onto one of Sprout’s gorgeous pages!!
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