One More Time

Sharon Creeden has been my good friend for thirty years.

She was a King County prosecutor, a right-brained person in a left-brained world.  I would describe her as a person with one toe deeply rooted in the earth, and an ear bent toward Heaven.  No wonder she left law, and went on to become an acclaimed storyteller and author.  Fair is Fair: World Folktales of Justice was awarded the American Folklore Society’s Aesop Prize, as well as a Storytelling World Award.


Her brilliant anthology, In Full Bloom: Tales of Women in Their Prime (foreword by Naomi Baltuck!is well known in the storytelling world.


But at heart she has always been a poet, and a visual artist.

Sometimes both at once. Her work, Generations, is a collage featuring a vintage photo of four generations of the women in her family.  Having grown up in Kansas, Sharon chose to include the quilt pattern called “Kansas Troubles.”

On the back of this piece–and at the heart of it– you will find her poetry.

Writers, poets and artists, teachers, mothers and grandmothers…hell, everyone occasionally needs a boost.

I am fortunate to know creative people with whom I can retreat and reenergize.

To share ideas…

To feed our spirits…

To get the creative juices flowing.

To create a quiet space to write….

…and write…

…and write.

Whatever it takes!

Last week I felt overwhelmed by the enormity of the next writing project I have committed myself to.  Sharon said, “Before dawn this morning, I was stewing about my resistance to starting a new painting and was reading Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of ARTMAKING. And this poem came:

I am more than the sum of dried paint tubes and stacks of attempts and tries.
I am the breath of color on canvas,
I am the vision of something never before.
I am the incessant urge of “one more time”.

Sharon transported me from that space of uncertainty.  I felt cradled and spooned by the good women in my life.  I felt bound not by blood and bone, but by our passion for language, story, and the incessant urge of “one more time.”

I know I can and will do whatever it takes.

One. More. Time.

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Admiration.

c2013 Naomi Baltuck.

Please allow me to introduce you to another friend.  Jamie Dedes is the founder and managing editor of an inspiring blogazine called INTO THE BARDO.  Above all, Jamie is an incredibly talented poet, whose words give pause, bring smiles, tears, and moments of breathtaking recognition.  You will find her poetry on her blog,  THE POET BY DAY, the journey in poem.  Another good woman.


  1. I felt such a tug reading this – so many good memories of Sharon, you and the supportive and creative group of storytellers whose lives made indelible marks on my soul during my Seattle years. Thank you for this post, which celebrates something I too hold dear, the company of creatives.

    1. My dear Scilla, you are already there, a golden spoon in our virtual kitchen drawer. I do wish you lived closer, but blogging and the internet do make the world smaller and they bring friends together form great distances.

  2. I love Sharon’s Fair is Fair, but I hadn’t followed her career after that! So glad to know about her other books and the visual artsy side of her!

  3. Oh my goodness, Naomi. I was savoring every word, all the color, and the lovely pictures and love embedded and then your close. How kind and gracious. Thank you! …

    Good luck with your new project … and there will be another “one more time” and another and another …. because it’s not just what we do, it’s who we are. I hope you will share news of your new project with us.

    Thank you for introducing me to another good writer: on my reading list now.

    Many blessings,

    1. Hi Jamie,
      Thank you for your kind words. You are such a talented poet, and you have always been so encouraging to others, a real leader in the blogosphere to poets, artists, and storytellers. I want all my friends and followers to discover you too!
      With Love,

  4. Thanks for the powerful writing, Naomi! Sharon graced our school and our lives and made an indelible mark a few years back and it is good to hear she’s still workin’ that magic. A pretty fine compliment from a magic meister (meisteriss?) like yourself!

    1. Dear Shimon,
      As a creative person yourself, I think that is something you would know about. It is, for me, something I value highly, and never take for granted.
      Thank you for your visit. I enjoy having you for a blogging buddy, and I always learn something new or gain new perspective from reading your posts.

  5. Loved the post.

    What could each one of us do to shift some more towards right brain style of thinking? The world would greatly benefit from this approach.


    1. Dear Shakti,
      That would be an interesting world indeed. Perhaps they could find some creative ways to promote peace and protect the environment and feed the hungry.

  6. Oh, Naomi, I cried as I read this post – tears of joy and recognition. I am remembering all the people who have stepped into my life when I needed them and the joy of supporting others. You have the wonderful gift of knowing how to write from the core of your soul so others can touch their soul with your guidance. You also know how to use your left brain to put words together succinctly so they impact your reader (I hate it when my brain has to work to unscramble grammar instead of message.). I, too, enjoy Jamie’s poetry and look forward to becoming acquainted with Sharon.

    1. Dear Pat,
      That is one of the most wonderful compliments I have ever received. Thank you so much for your very generous and beautifully expressed response. It also says as much about who you are. I feel fortunate to know you and call friend.

  7. Wonderful that you have such a bond, Naomi, but it’s not hard to understand. You get back what you give and I have a strong feeling you’re one of life’s givers. Best of luck with your project, but I know you’ll see it through. 🙂

  8. What a wonderful tribute to our dear friend Sharon! It makes me remember all the lovely times I’ve shared with Sharon.

    1. Dear Yvonne,
      Oh, yes! We are both fortunate in our friendships! It wasn’t so long ago that we all had dinner together at Forest Storytelling Festival. I hope to see you there again next October!

  9. I agree w you Naomi, there’s nothing better than friends who have known and loved you for many years. We ALL need and treasure them! And work hard (as I’m sure you do) to BE them 🙂

    1. Dear Tina,
      Oh, yes. I learned a long time ago the value of a true friend, and it is something I will never take for granted.
      Thanks so much for your visit, and taking the time to share your thoughts.

  10. I love that spooning image, Naomi. Thanks for another really inspiring post. I love the Kansas quilt pattern and Sharon’s ‘Generations’ poem. I really made me think about the generations of women in my family that have gone before me. Although I never knew them, I’m sure they must have had a profound influence on how my own life has turned out.

    1. Dear Sylvia,
      I am so glad that you feel the same way about Sharon’s poem. I love her imagery too, and I really do draw strength and comfort from the idea of all those generations that have come before, and that will follow–held together with love. If all those previous generations could see how you turned out, I know they would be proud.

    1. Hi Dallas,
      I wish you could know Sharon. She is the most delightful combination of down-to-earth and up in the clouds. SO funny, so good, so sassy, so wise!
      Thanks so much for stopping by.

  11. Touching and inspiring words tah make us aware of how important some people are in our lives.
    I read somewhere taht if we have one good friend in a lifetime we are most fortunate. You, my dear, have many, many I’m sure.
    I have followed Jamie Dedes for quite some time. She is expressive and passionate and one that I would love to have even the tiniest amount of her in my writing. Thanks for posting this very moving story.

  12. Such a beautiful tribute to your deep and inspiring friendships! Best of luck with your new project – the first step is always the hardest. I have no doubt you are already tackling it and working your creative magic. Enjoy!

    1. Dear Mary,
      I am so sorry for your loss. An elderly friend of mine once said that her young friends were like tulips brightening up the forest floor, but her close lifelong friends were like mighty trees in the forest, and when one fell, it could not be replaced.
      Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    1. Dear Meg,
      Thanks so much for the visit. I appreciate your taking the time to comment. I am lucky to have such a good friend. I also feel fortunate for all my blogging buddies!

  13. Wow you are so lucky to be able to share your passion with such a close friend. Good luck with the new project–I know you can do it!

    1. Hi Kourtney,
      Thank you, thank you! I just have to watch you, and the determination with which you tackled your book, and I know I’ll be okay. I hope that is going well!

      1. Aw glad it helps. Some days I fear I’ll never break even. Sales are okay. Personal sales seem to be better than online sales this month. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I have been on the road, collecting material, talking story, but I’ll be home tonight and am ready to dig in. Thanks so much for the visit, and taking the time to comment.

  14. Thank you for introducing Sharon Creeden to me. It was a lovely tribute to her and to all the creative women everywhere. I’ll be adding her books to my reading wishlist.
    Hope you’ll have fun with your new project.
    Here’s to wonderful friends and living out our passions. 🙂
    Love, Mary

    1. Dear Mary,
      Thank you so much for the visit, and for taking the time to comment. I have been on the road, am so so far behind in my blogging, and I need to catch up with my friends. It is so good to hear from you! I know you’ll enjoy Sharon’s books. Most of the stories are great for elementary aged kids too, and you can share them with your kids.
      Wishing you and the kids a great summer!

      1. Glad to see you’re still posting even with the busy schedule! I checked the book’s TOC, it looks good! I would need to order the physical book, though. There’s no Kindle edition unfortunately. But I sent a note through to the publisher maybe there’ll be a Kindle edition soon 🙂 Enjoy your journey!

  15. What a heartfelt tribute, and I just love the pic of Sharon holding her art. She and her art are beautiful. It is so great to have writing friends. Sometimes, they are what keep us all going. Thanks for the reminder to go give my writing mates some love. I’ll start with you: I love your work! It’s one of the blogs I go to when I need to see something inspiring and your art does that for me. Keep it up.

    1. Hi Laurel,
      Sharon is one of my dearest friends. She travels so easily between the visual and verbal and literary arts!
      Thanks so much for the very kind words. Let me say that I have really enjoyed meeting you, and I have loved the writing you hgave shared. I also think you are serving your writing community well with your teaching and your very informative blogs, with your reviews of conferences and your encouragement to writers at all levels.

      1. What a lovely message to get, and I have so enjoyed meeting you as well, Naomi. I truly appreciate our conversations as well as my visits to your blog!

  16. you have a wonderful way of joining the pics in a heart felt narrative Naomi – this one, as well as your wonderful hubby tribute. Oh lucky you!

    1. Dear Laura,
      Thank you so much for your kind response. It has been a wonderful learning experience to me, as I have always shared my stories either in book form, or orally to live audiences. I have loved incorporating photography to help tell my stories! Thanks for the kind words about my Father’s Day piece. You can be sure that whenever I do a post on my family I have spent the hours alternately smiling and weeping silly sentimental tears!

    1. Hi Paula,
      I’m so glad that you noticed that reference in Sharon’s painting. She loves Van Gogh too, and painted his Starry Night, using the Seattle Skyline, which she sees from her window across the sound, as a foreground.
      I appreciate your visit, and will pass on your thoughts to Sharon, too, who I am sure will enjoy hearing about you.

  17. Such a beautiful heartwarming tribute Naomi! Sharon sounds like a remarkably talented woman. I was blown away by the line “…..the incessant urge of one more time” 🙂

    1. Dear Madhu,
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful response to my story about Sharon. She is a very interesting person, and one of my dearest friends. That last line that caught your attention “…the incessant urge of one more time” could apply very well to the endless task of blogging!

  18. I’m so glad you re-found your inspiration! Sharon sounds like a lovely person. What a wonderful gift she gave you – just when you, like that poor toppled pear, needed help to find your balance.
    Thank you for sharing your memories 🙂

    1. Hi Kathy,
      I might have guessed that you would catch the symbolism in my little toppled pear. You are a writer through and through, and if you weren’t actually an English major, you are one at heart! Thank YOU so much for sharing my memories!

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