The May issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, online and in print now, is all about creativity. And why not? It features the winners of our annual Creative Arts Competition.

A fortune cookie that cheered me as we worked on our May issue

So with creativity a lot on my mind, and this being Change of Venue Friday, I thought I’d share my editor’s column from the issue. Scroll down for that.

First, though: As I mention in that column, State Bar of Arizona President Joe Kanefield even stepped up to showcase his drawing talents. I enjoyed his self-portrait quite a bit.

Joe Kanefield self-portrait

Joe was an inspiration, and his effort caused me look for my own self-portrait that I inked last year. Our younger daughter asked everyone in the family to draw themselves in a place they’d like to be, and this is what I came up with.

And then, as we were working on the arts issue, I happened into a Barnes & Noble bookstore (yes, there are still buildings that sell books). As I scanned the shelves, I came across a unique offering: Boxes and boxes of activities to feature your hidden talent or ability.

Much to my surprise, the target audience did not appear to be kids. And as I found myself attracted to, say, a kit that would help me make a superb paper airplane, or learn to play the ukulele, I realized how strong that yearning for creativity is. (I rather unkindly dubbed the items “hobbies for midlife”; self-knowledge can be so ugly!)

It appears that we all seek the side of ourselves that can make something, or transform something. And if we’re not sure what that “thing” is, perhaps Barnes & Noble can help.

That, I suppose, is why our arts issue is so popular with readers.

Here is a slideshow with just a small part of the boxed-creativity on offer at your local bookstore:

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Finally, before ending with my column, I share one more piece of encouragement. You may have seen this before; it is a letter declining a piece of submitted art. The author is the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The recipient and disappointed artist? Andy Warhol.

See! What does the world know?

Well, enough of that, Here’s my column. Have a great—and creative—weekend.

Mind the Gap

We all like to observe talented people.

That’s one of the conclusions I draw from the feedback I receive annually to this issue, our Creative Arts Competition winners month.

More evidence of that: To my surprise, two separate columnists this month opened their pages with almost the identical line: “This is my favorite issue of Arizona Attorney.” (I’m not telling you more; you have to scour our pages to see for yourself.)
I, too, have always been a fan of this issue. These people are not only talented; they’re brave to put their creative juices on public display.

But (maybe I’m the only one), my pleasure at seeing all that talent on display is salted with surprise at the wide gap between me and the huge accomplishments of all these lawyer–artists (OK, you might call it “envy”).

I suspect many readers share what I call my “supportive dismay” at how little creative work we have achieved in the past year. This magazine is printed evidence that lawyers can lead balanced lives. And if they can do it, why can’t I? What’s my problem?

Well, if the Lorax speaks for the trees, I advocate for the shrub, yearning to grow taller; I tout the lawyer who is aiming for more creative balance.

My own household offers a kick in the pants. For example, my wife, a busy university professor, took up the ukulele a few years ago—while I gazed at a dust-gathering guitar. And she and our two daughters are about to start tap-dancing class—while I consider trying a new setting on my digital camera. The talent gap widens.

The day I worked on this column, though, a waitress handed me a fortune cookie whose contents offered me—and maybe you—the encouragement we need. I share it to remind us that we all have undiscovered talents, so let’s get on it.


(And before I forget, here are some photos I shot at our photo shoot of the Creative Arts Competition winners.)

Talent lies hidden in many places in this issue. For instance, I commend to you Joe Kanefield’s President’s Message, where he shares his self-portrait.

And deep in our story on the Bill of Rights Monument, you may miss the fact that Chris Bliss of has wowed folks with his juggling talents for years. Watch his talent here.

Inspired? It’s time to jump into your own talent. The Lorax and I will cheer you on.