3 Questions for Scoutie Girl

When I met Tara Gentile virtually, I was like: Oh Shit. Here goes. I’m probably going to make a fool of myself, drooling.

Generosity is one of the keys to the success of blogger, business innovator, and creativity guru Tara Gentile.

It’s all over everything she does. In fact, she has made a full-time business of big thinking and promoting the spiritual and business welfare of creative people like you and me.

She’s out there, at ScoutieGirl.com, at The Creative Empire, and in her daily interactions with friends and tweeps, taking action to remind her network, everyday, as Chris Guillebeau says:

“You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to.”

Tara’s generosity in business is a key selling point and is something I am so curious about: how does she do it? Could I do it? How can a person GIVE so much, and still be successful (and also not end up morphing into a heap of sodden tissues on the floor that the cat lays in)?

Here’s Tara, answering three questions about her motivations, her cultural manifestation, and her priorities.

Me: How do you SEE the world?
Lola in Leaves, printed by Hipstamatic. By Tara Gentile.
TG: Literally? I regularly see the world as a series of Hipstamatic photos. I’m not exactly sure what my obsession is with that little gem of an app but it’s changed the way I see the world.

I love the fact that I can see a composition in a moment. Once I do, I grab my iPhone, open the app, and realize the composition never quite looks the same in the view finder.

The viewfinder in the app is a square box that doesn’t line up with the actual rectangular viewfinder on the phone.  You can either try to anticipate how the frame will line up or you can just leave it to chance. I’ve gotten pretty good at trying to figure out what will be in the picture and what won’t. But sometimes I just click it.

Seems to be a fitting metaphor for life. No matter how you see things, plan things, compose things, it will always turn out a little differently than you expected.

Me: Where have you traveled that has impacted the way you think and why?

TG: Sadly, I have not traveled much. I have been nowhere where I’ve experienced extreme poverty or where the culture was vastly different from my own.

Truthfully, the place I live now has probably impacted the way I think the most. I grew up in Harrisburg, PA – the capital of the state. The area I where I lived was distinctly middle class, with a good mix of lower middle class and upper middle class. There were Christians, Jews, whites, blacks, Catholics, protestants, and, I’m sure, many other kinds of people.

But no one really associated with labels. People were people. Didn’t mean there weren’t people you really disliked… just not so much because of a label.

My transition location was college. It was pretty homogeneous. Most LVC students are white protestants.

Where I live now, there’s a lot of diversity. Just like where I grew up. But here, everyone has a label. And people don’t mind telling you what they think of those who are labeled differently from themselves.

It was a shock.

It still shocks me. I hear “good people” say “bad things.” It’s odd.

I worry about what I say. I worry about how my daughter will think. I worry which paradigm is more representative of the rest of the world. Did I grow up somewhere progressive? Or do I live somewhere backwards?

I’m not sure that I really answered your question. But I am sure that nowhere has challenged my view of the world & its people more than where I live now.

Me: If you had to leave your house right now forever, what would you take for yourself in one small duffle bag?

TG: I don’t have to put Lola (her daughter) in there, do I?

I would totally put my laptop in there. It may cause me stress & anxiety… but in the end, we are soul mates. I think I’ve always felt that way about my computer.

I would take John Caputo’s book, On Religion. After 6 years, its pages still thrill me. Luckily, I can read everything else I need online!

You know, I’m not sure if it’s a product of my profession, the digital age, or if I’ve really realized some sort of break from material attachment but I can’t think of a lot of things other than my computer that I couldn’t do without.

I’m not a fancy person. I don’t need a lot of clothes or shoes and I certainly don’t get attached to them.

I’d bring my good camera but I’d be perfectly fine with my iPhone camera.

Nope, there’s not much I own that I can’t do without or easily replace.

Do you have any questions for Tara? You can follow her on Twitter @scoutiegirlblog.

  5 comments for “3 Questions for Scoutie Girl

  1. January 12, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Excellent questions Elizabeth. Very interesting answers Tara. How you see the world I immediately relate to as the camera in general has become the way I see. It is also the thing that largely changed the what I see, both through a viewfinder and in the world. If I write a book it will be on this topic. I have traveled a bit and seen extreme poverty, extreme wealth and different cultures to an extent. I would say that experience does not impact me any more than what you describe. I would love to explore the question of whether Harrisburg is progressive or where you are now backwards as I have experienced a similar shift moving from Philadelphia to where I am now. On the last I have no comment for now. I am in the getting rid of way too much in my life phase.
    Thanks to you both for getting me thinking!

  2. January 13, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Ooh – those are great questions Elizabeth…and as alway, thoughtful, interesting answers from the generous Tara! As my husband and i have moved our family around the country for his career, I find each place a way to expose my kids to a different way of life, and I make sure we talk about what they see and hear, from the “hollers” of Eastern Kentucky, to the lands of legend in Ohio and now the pinnacle of high culture here in Southern California (sigh…) No matter where we are, we talk and talk with them, and so far I think we’re helping create kids with open minds and kind hearts.

    • January 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      Candy, that’s great. I hope they can travel with you outside the States sometimes too. It’s great for kids to see the continuity of the world in humanity… it makes it easier to comprehend our own place in the world, I think.

  3. January 13, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Elizabeth, nice to meet you! Great questions, these were fun to read!!!!! I especially appreciated the info about the Hipstamatic, and I feel a bit like a dork now. I just started playing with it over Christmas vacation and was totally puzzled about how and why the pictures came out a bit differently than they look in the viewfinder. OMG. I get it now! hahahahaha

    Thanks for asking these very creative questions!!!
    Kristen

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