The Sword and the Pen

“The incubation process of thought sometimes takes awhile to ferment… I’m always at work, 24-7, in my head.”

That nugget of wisdom, shared with me by Vermont illustrator Adam Glazer on my cross-country U.S. road trip, should strike a chord with many creatives. (A short video interview with him is below.) But while creatives all experience similarities in the creative process, their sources of inspiration are unique.

I asked Adam where his first creative inspiration came from.

“When Tron came out in 1982, I had a creative explosion right there. Because I understood Tron, I got it… it’s like a great LSD trip.”

Adam loves technology, philosophy, and overcoming challenges, all themes of the original Disney movie. A major challenge Adam has faced in his life is that he’s deaf. He hasn’t let that stop him from pursuing his dreams, however. He found his way from “the mean streets of Cleveland” to the idyllic creative haven of Middlebury, secured work in a print shop, and is living an art-committed life.

From Adam's blog: "New t-shirt design for biggest fencing tournament in Middlebury, Vermont in March 2011. I designed it entirely on Adobe Illustrator CS5. Great fun."

Adam, like many creatives, is an individual of multiple talents. His passion is illustration; he can be found every day at  Carol’s Hungry Mind Cafe sketching away in his notebook. But he’s also a fiction writer, storyboarding a fantasy video game.

He’s also adopted a new passion for his creativity.

“I saw a flyer one day… it was about fencing, and a lightbulb went off in my head,” he told me. “Maybe this will give me an outlet for my creativity.” So he took a class, joined the Vermont Fencing Alliance, and now that art of war is fused with his illustration: “I’m holding an epee the way I’m holding a brush or a pen.”

Adam was one of the first creatives I interviewed on my road trip. He was also one of the few creatives who told me he had a very specific message he wanted to deliver. While I was setting up the camera outside the Middlebury College Museum of Art, he told me how deaf artists are routinely taken advantage of in the market for the arts, treated as if they were somehow ignorant or less worthy of respect and rights than hearing artists. I not only agreed to convey that message, I put it at the beginning of the video.

Adam was full of surprises. I certainly didn’t expect the movie “Tron” as an answer to his creative inspiration. Nor did I expect him to say his inspiration came to him in 1982, because he looks much younger than that. But that was another lesson Adam taught me early in the road trip. Leave all assumptions at the door; go in with an open mind and an open heart.

That’s actually not a bad way to approach life.

14 thoughts on “The Sword and the Pen

  1. What an interesting guy! I love how he uses his multiple talents, and is always thinking, thinking. My brain has been in overdrive for the last several months – it seems almost ALL I’m thinking about are my projects! (I’ve been learning and experiencing a lot of new ways to express my talents of late – consistently writing for my blog, painting murals, developing workshops for adults). I get where he is coming from with that.

    Connecting with you has exposed me to a whole new world of creative people, Patrick, from different disciplines, whom I might not have been exposed to otherwise. I am learning so much just from talking to and/or hearing about them. Mostly, I am finding the ways in which we are all so very similar, no matter what different approaches we may take and lives we may lead. I like that. 🙂

    (Now, finally … to BED!!!)


  2. An inspirational story from every angle. I love Adam’s passion for what he does! And I love what he taught you: “Leave all assumptions at the door; go in with an open mind and an open heart.” I just wrote that on an invisible sticky note in my heart.

    ~ Milli


    1. “I just wrote that on an invisible sticky note in my heart.” I love it! I’m at my writing retreat this week and we started our creative day by reading some poetry, but that line is what will resonate with me today. 🙂


  3. Wonderful young man!
    For me being creative means living from the heart -sorry, I sound like a broken record-. When you’re in touch with that authentic core inside, you can’t help but be creative, whether you knit a blanket, organize a birthday party, or write a Pulitzer winning book.
    For me anything works: A dish I’m making, a comment I’ve heard, a picture, anything. And the next step is to trust that more will come from the same source. 🙂


  4. Thank you for giving a voice to this community Patrick. My best friend is a deaf interpreter and he has taught me so much about the issues that the deaf community face. I never thought about deaf artists. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. You’ve got a real special blog going on here. Keep it going!


    1. Ollin, since you’ve never heard of deaf artists, was it due to limited information? I believe it’s not common knowledge in the media of the existence of deaf artists and their endeavors. It take research to find out about their experiences if they have been positive or not on gaining exposure of their creative work, or given fair treatment and understanding.


  5. Patrick, Thanks for the repost of the interview! I’m glad to get to have this interview and bring more awareness to the arts and issues that are important to us, especially deaf people, which the timing is ironic for this happens to be Deaf History week as of this posting. As for the “mean streets” of Cleveland, well, it depends on which ‘hood you live at 🙂 . Some of it is rough and some of it is nice. But still, it will always be my hometown and a great city.


    1. Adam, thanks for stopping by, and I’m glad you like the post! I must have been channeling some sort of mystic connection to do this post this week, Deaf History Week.

      Thank you once again for being a part of my road trip, a truly life-changing experience.


  6. This is great, missed it the first time around. I love what he says about how the creative process sometimes takes a bit of time to ferment. Yes, indeed. I often call it composting, and its one reason why consistent creativity is so useful, because you’ve got the connection to your project rolling around in your head.


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