Some people spend their milestone birthdays agonizing about their age.

Some people spend them waiting for them to pass.

Some people spend them waiting for others to intuit their dream birthday and make it happen.

Karen Chase is none of these people.

Instead, for her 40th birthday, she planned herself a month of adventure in France which she captured in her beautiful first book, Bonjour 40: A Paris travel log (40 years, 40 days, 40 seconds).

Since then, Karen has published three more books: two novels and a workbook on brand for authors.

Recently, she’s been all up in all sorts of stuff, including fresh awareness of how her clothespin slides on the clothesline of introversion/extroversion and one exciting beast of a research project that is inviting her to practice a focus on the process without knowing what the eventual outcome will be.

You can watch the preview here, or just jump right into this delightful 35ish minutes of conversation here:

Show Notes

    • As a human, Karen is an extrovert who has discovered she contains more introversion than she had previously realized and that alone time is important to her creative process. She’s also:
      • Creative and curious on a deep level
      • Gnashing her teeth more than she expected on feminist topics
      • More than her work
      • In her 50s and feeling enriched by this decade already
    • She’s working in a marketing capacity in women’s healthcare while also researching Eliza a woman who went West before Lewis & Clark and kept a journal for Thomas Jefferson; Karen has a mission of lifting her from the footnotes of history
      • Karen did all the paperwork for Eliza’s living family to join the Daughters of the American Revolution which was truly a community endeavor which is still only “one percent of one percent of what the project could be”
      • She’s pursuing the history without knowing what she’ll do with the info that she’s surfacing; she’s treating it as an atomic habit, doing the steps that she sees and trusting that it will take her somewhere
    • Karen referenced Flourish: The Extraordinary Journey of Finding the Best in Yourself which introduced her to the idea of wu-wei which is about creative flow that is inclusive of the wider community that contributes to creations
      • For example, Karen’s French teacher neighbor helped her translate an 18th century will
      • This collective of expertise is part of the fuel in her fire
    • She touched on how qualities like introversion/extroversion are like a clothesline and the important part isn’t that we are a way but that we’re able to zoom back and forth as serves us
    • A recent experience of hosting a couple for several months brought showed her that her home is her cozy place and that the routines she and her partner have are in support of her creative process and sense of well-being
    • Seasons are important to Karen, that there are all of the seasons
    • An author who has self-published and published traditionally, she’s feeling particularly dispirited about the current publishing industry which is why she’s not sure where her research is going
      • We touched on the inherent meaning of her work instead of attaching the meaning to its outcome
      • This is tricky to her as a marketer accustomed to seeing every choice needing to contribute to the bottom line – and she’s learning to see some actions as what is needed to recharge
    • Her key tools are the ones that are often the first to go on the backburner, what she called the basic human needs like sleep, movement, eating healthfully
    • Her external tools are a newly-hired research assistant, so many volunteer historians she’s met through the DAR.
    • The DAR is both her spotlight and one of her external tools
      • Though they’ve had a reputation of being stuck up and she’s found great generosity and volunteerism there as well as being impressed by all of the community service work they do. Learn more at:
    • James River Writers, a vibrant writing community in Richmond, Virginia, which creates support, brings in speakers, and has been key to Karen’s education around diversity and inclusion. Learn more at:

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