Monthly Archives: May 2012

Have you written your manifesto yet?

It’s not necessarily easy to live exactly the life you want for yourself. We all have to pay the bills, right? But what if you could live by your inner, life manifesto?

The founders of Holstee sustainable lifestyle products have based their entire business upon theirs. Brothers Mike and Dave Radparvar  began their company with the dream of an environmentally ethical lifestyle. Soon after, they decided to write a manifesto – a ‘call to action to live a life full of intention, creativity and passion’ – to back up their company, which went viral across the web (in different languages), T-shirts and posters.

Most importantly, this life-purpose statement has inspired people worldwide to live fulfilling lives – okay, and probably purchase the products (even world-acclaimed Alchemist author Paulo Coelho ‘Likes’ Holstee on Facebook). Meanwhile, the brothers reportedly still use their manifesto for guiding product decisions.

Manifestos are ‘powerful tools’ for steering life and business choices, according to Fast Company executive editor Noah Robischon. And if Holstee’s written statement isn’t enough to convince you, check out the inspiring film version here. I think a manifesto is worth a try. How about you?

Courtesy of Holstee

Courtesy of Holstee


All Around the Jacket

Is it just me, or is it a whole lot of fun to attempt poems that read well aloud? That said, here is my poem for today.

All Around the Jacket
By Beth Greshwalk

I was tied around

her waist, dancing

to the upward beat

of her flying feet. Over

footsteps of folks

she climbed

the starry stairwell

to the Paris moon.

I was wind-resistant.

Most insistent to hug my

arms around a rolled up rock

poster, a gift for a sister.

Oh, just ask me where I’ve been.

I’ve felt the sweat of Athens’s

handprints on the heart,

and sprawled, beer-stuck on

plastic seats, waiting patiently

as he wrote Nikos in her

journal. Translation, the beginning

and the end. And what’s a trip without

my zipper teeth making melodies on

the hand rails of trains, clankety

clank and the rain, downpour on

Delphi, how a wind-breaker cannot shake

the breath of the gods, I let them

inflate me, I am theirs to fill,

along with My pockets, heavy

with copper Euro, I am the hero

who holds the stubs, the camera, the rocks,

the rolls of flim, the air passes, the pretzels,

the sleepy hands. I am their hammock.

This is why she wears me.

to drink the seductive waters of Venice,

one-night stands with the Grand Canal,

each spark of orange splash a kiss,

or was it good-bye tears,

that’s amore, that I must leave,

You’ll find another like me.

Gondolas, God speed!

Now zip me up,

We’ve got a train to catch.

Cat Dream

My poem for today.

Cat Dream
By Beth Greshwalk

If she had it her way, she would be an indoor cat,

every day a hot radiator, a soft sofa cushion, a warm, willing lap, naptime, respected and

expected, oh, to be rested, sleeping through

it all, never having to explain, you’ll love her anyway, a body velvet to the touch, cute no

matter what, graceful footsteps and a face of

unsolved mystery, eyes that glow in the dark, worshipped for her independence, when she

says no, people listen, safe from a world

she could watch from a window, watch and learn, watch and learn, no pressure to act,

getting what she wants, when she wants, like love,

and sleeping through it all.

The Cure for Creative Block

Hey, fellow artists!

I’m happy to announce the May/June 2012 launch of No Cure Magazine brought to you by Brisbane-based designer Mark Zeidler. It’s an impressive online read of arts, design and music articles ideal for getting out of that “creative block” we all undergo at times.

I’ve contributed three articles in the magazine this month on:

  • New York-based artist David Lyle
  • Candy Black Studio in Dorset, UK
  • Boywolf, a new men’s design label

This magazine, as well as the artists, designers and musicians are very motivating examples of what can happen when you pursue your passion with full force. Check it out and be inspired:

No Cure Magazine

Happy Creating!


P.S. What other ways do you break down “creative block”? Please feel free to share your ideas here.

Candy Black Intro








David Lyle Intro

David Lyle Intro

Boywolf Intro

Creativity and Black Coffee

You wouldn’t think I’d be such a whinge-queen on a cold, drizzly day in Melbourne, being a veteran of Minnesota winters. But the symptoms of an ash-colored sky and frigid rain come right through the panes of our poorly insulated windows and I shiver with discontent, distracted from inspiration of any form. So, I search desperately for little gift in the moment, as I strive to do each day. Surprisingly, today’s motivation comes out of a whole other complaint, which has nothing to do with this grey day.

These doggone coffee stains on my teeth.

“Guess that means you’ll have to stop drinking coffee,” says Brian, a non-coffee drinker himself. He barely finishes his sentence before I butt in,

“Well, that’s not going to happen.”

Perish the thought—I love coffee. I mean, love, worship, adore, consume it. And I’m not talking about a fancy Frappuccino or even one of those silky lattes Melbourne does so well. What I mean is, give it to me straight and black. No milk, no sugar. Just pure bean, in a big, round, full mug. (Emphasis on “full”—we need to keep it that way.) Why mess around with what’s already heaven? For me, coffee is no longer about the wakening effect that got me started on the cup in the first place. No, my long-term addiction has reduced the caffeine rush to that of a warm shower, to wake up. Ever so gently. Two and a half cups in one morning is now about taste. The coffee bean, to me, does what a malbec grape does to the red wine, and I am thankful for it: the distinct, earthly flavour organically coats me in calm.

But don’t get me wrong. I am awakened.

One of the things I love most about coffee is that it goes hand in hand with creativity. Let’s face it, many famous artists were connoisseurs of coffee. Take composer Johann Sebastian Bach, for example. He wrote a cantata about his love of coffee entitled The Coffee Cantata. The librettist for the piece, Christian Friedrich Henrici, wrote lyrics like (translated): If I can’t drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment, I will shrivel up like a piece of roast goat.

My sentiments exactly, brother.

I think back to how coffee played a recurring role during my pursuit of a postgraduate degree in creative writing. Arriving to a night class after eight hours writing retail advertising meant the embrace of a tall, travel mug of coffee, to refresh my brain so that I could participate in a discussion about really good poetry. I remember consciously appreciating how that little perk-up actually opened an extra door in my mind, enabling me to truly see poetry beyond the metaphors.

I think back to my fourth ever night in Athens, Greece. I spent the evening sitting solo in an empty taverna, downing Greek coffees to the succulent sounds of a two-man mandolin band and writing furiously in my journal—in the moment, and about that moment. To this day, I’ll never forget how blessed I felt.

I think back to how my good friend Scott and I used to commit ourselves to three hours at a different coffee shop every Sunday, to “create” for the love of it. He was designing a new card game for kids and I was perfecting, you guessed it, my manuscript.

Last but not least, coffee is associated with love, which is a constant source of inspiration for me—and probably just about everyone. Take my mom, for example. Someone who’s always supported my lengthy stints in foreign countries “to write,” and my decision to write for the love of it, rather than for a paycheck. Someone who raised four kids, went back to school, achieved a master’s degree and a fulfilling career of giving, and is now retiring to do artful things, herself. Growing up, her own mother used to gather her and her four brothers and sisters around the dinner table to drink coffee and talk into the wee hours. Today, Mom, my siblings and I share this same, sweet memory-in-the-making every time I visit.

So you see, a lot of life can fill a cup.

And besides, I can always go to the dentist.