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. Dear Cathryn,
      Those were very good times, and we’re not dead yet! Thanks so much for being a part of it all.

  2. scillagrace says:

    Peering into the kitchen drawer and longing to mingle with those spoons…

    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.

  3. cyclingrandma says:

    So important to have muses, mentors, and good friends!

    1. It reminds me of a character in a story I tell, who says again and again, “I do be a lucky old woman!” Thank you so much for the visit.

  4. Hugs and happiness to you both — such inspiration!

    1. Dear Mary,
      Thanks so much for your sweet presence, and your kind words.

  5. mary grace ketner says:

    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!

  6. Jamie Dedes says:

    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, there!
      Thanks for the visit. I love In Full Bloom, which pairs traditional folk tales with true life stories that make the same point.

    2. 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,

  7. Nancy Kiefer says:

    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 Nancy,

      It’s so good to hear from you. Sharon is still going strong, and practicing her many arts. I hope you are well. Thanks for the visit!

  8. I love your community, Naomi! Sounds like so many wonderful, nurturing women.

    1. Thank you, Jilanne! I do feel fortunate!

  9. ShimonZ says:

    how good to enjoy friendships in the creative life

    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.

  10. pattisj says:

    How blessed you are to have a good friend who inspires you.

    1. Dear Patti,
      I am lucky to have many colleagues, mentors, and friends who inspire me. Little by little the circle grows.

  11. Rosanna says:

    This is a beautiful tapestry of words and pictures. Have fun with your new project!

    1. Hi Rosanna,

      Thank you so much! I am digging in and getting started after a good long think, and it feels like the right thing to do.

  12. bulldog says:

    What a special group… how wonderful.

    1. I do think so too! Thanks for the visit, and for taking the time to comment.

  13. footsy2 says:

    You are blessed. Lovely post.

    1. Thank you, Footsy.

  14. niasunset says:

    Blessing and Happiness to you all, and Good Luck… sounds so beautiful. Thanks and Love, nia

    1. Dear Nia,
      Thank you so much. It is always good to hear from you. Blessings and happiness to you too, and a happy birthday too!

  15. 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.

  16. TBM says:

    wow to be surrounded by those who inspire you and who you inspire. What a circle of friends.

  17. Pat says:

    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.

  18. restlessjo says:

    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. 🙂

    1. Dear Jo,
      You are so generous! Thank you for the kind words, and the encouragement. I am digging in!

  19. Yvonne Young says:

    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!

  20. nutsfortreasure says:

    Wonderful post Naomi. Thanks for sharing more of your world and you!

    1. Hi Eunice,
      Thank you for being there to share it with!

      1. nutsfortreasure says:


  21. Tina Schell says:

    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.

  22. dogear6 says:

    You’ve gotten a lot of great comments – I have nothing original to add!


    1. Dear Nancy,
      You are so kind to visit, and I appreciate your visit. Just one look at your gravatar, and it makes me smile.

  23. adinparadise says:

    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. adinparadise says:

        Thank you, Naomi. 🙂

  24. I loved how your described your friend Naomi, think I would like her

    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.

  25. 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.

  26. Ruth says:

    Your post and tribute in photos and words to a dear friend (who inspires YOU) inspires me! Nice.

    1. Hi Ruth,
      Thank you for your very kind response to this post. I am so fortunate to know her.

  27. Arlene says:

    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 Arlene,
      I’m taking steps toward my goal–got my laptop fired up and my fingers crossed.
      Thanks for the very generous words of encouragement.

  28. Good friends are like have a glass of the finest wine. I’ve had two close ones during my lifetime, but sadly both have gone.

    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.

  29. Nice post. Thanks for reminding me to remember how lucky I am to have those who support me. You come up with such great idea’s for posts Naomi.

    1. Thanks, Jo, for your visit, and all your kind responses. I love to blog my ideas no shortage there. I just wish I had more time to do it!

  30. I like that supportive chain idea, and your friend sounds like a great woman.

    1. Thanks for writing! Yes, Sharon is an amazing person–I feel very fortunate to know her!

  31. megtraveling says:

    Friendship is a wonderful thing – thank you for sharing this!

    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!

  32. Kourtney Heintz says:

    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. Kourtney Heintz says:

        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. 🙂

  33. Lisaman says:

    What a great Tribute.. enjoy the new project!!

    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.

  34. My Tropical Home says:

    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. My Tropical Home says:

        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!

      2. Thanks, Mary! You too!

  35. Laurel Leigh says:

    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. Laurel Leigh says:

        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!

  36. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    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!

  37. paulaacton says:

    Love the painting it reminds me of one of my favourite Van Gogh paintings

    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.

  38. Madhu says:

    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!

  39. kathy says:

    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!

  40. Beautiful post!!! Her paintings is awesome!!! Yeah, wonderful friendships!!!

    1. Thank you for stopping by. So good to hear from you. I hope you are well.

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