Let Your Life Speak Interview: A Life Worth Living
An interview with Amanda Moore, Artist
Sharing the words and stories of other people who are working daily to live lives of conviction so that we can all learn how to do the necessary work is one of the greatest joys of this Let Your Life Speak project for me.
Integrity is a habit, just like any other behavior that you engage in repeatedly. It is not an attitude or a belief; it is a practice. I depend on surrounding myself with people who are pursuing lives of integrity in order to continue learning how to best cultivate my own integrity. I am always on the hunt for media that also bolsters my learning. I hope this does that for you.
Talking with Amanda Moore, Artist
Amanda Moore is a self-taught artist and former producer who works mainly in acrylics in the style of Magical Realism. Her passion for wildlife conservation and lifetime curiosity to understand the deeper workings that make a life worth living fuels her imagery. Amanda has also worked as a death doula for 14 years, which influences the emotional tenderness that is recognized throughout most of her creative endeavors.
Amanda produced various transformational gatherings along the northern East Coast while also co-producing TedxBlackRockCity at Burningman and serving as co-producer and speaker coach for TedxProvencetown. But in 2019 Amanda, with the encouragement of her family, stepped away from production to pursue her life-long dream of becoming a full-time artist and illustrator.
Amanda’s debut illustrated children’s book, The Dancing Hippo, written by Bright Hawk was published this year. You can explore more of her work and purchase a signed copy through her website at www.AmandaMooreGallery.com. You can also find her on Instagram @a.j.moore_art and enjoy the more candid pieces of Amanda, along with creative tips, frequent late-night live paintings, and heart talk through her TikTok @a.j.moore_
Can you tell me who you are underneath all of your professional accomplishments, or perhaps as the foundation for all of them?
I’m a creative connoisseur at heart; I value connection and shared experiences. I’ve spent a great deal of my adult life facilitating spaces where others can freely explore, feel seen, and heard while experimenting with their most authentic selves through the creative arts. Throughout most of my professional and creative endeavors, the common theme seems to be creating shared spaces and moments where others feel safe in a “coming home to self” kind of way.
I feel most alive nurturing the process of actualizing a creative vision or goal. Whether it’s through producing transformational gatherings, co-producing a speaker series, teaching theater arts to middle and high schoolers, or painting in my studio for hours on end. My art and helping others open up to exploring the possibilities is a way I make sense of this silly, sometimes chaotic business of human-ing.
I’m a good listener; I’ve always held a deep reverence for hearing people’s stories. I’m a natural nurturer, a complete nature nerd, a goof-ball, a work in progress. The older I get, the more sensitive I feel to time well spent and honoring what makes a life worth living.
What is a core belief that you carry— about people, about relationships, or about the world— that you feel really shapes your life? How did you come to believe it?
I believe that everyone is born with an innate gift for creativity. I believe that tapping into this source opens up a person's life in powerful ways. I also believe something magical happens, something beautiful shifts, the moment a person feels seen and heard in their process.
There’s a quote I carry with me: “ Be the person you needed when you were young.” It reminds me that at my core there’s a driving force to serve as a kind of creative, energetic midwife. I’m a natural nurturer, helping others feel confident that who they are, what moves them, how they need to express themselves, and what they love matters in a big way. It’s worth discovering, exploring, and experimenting with. The possibilities are limitless.
I wholeheartedly believe that simply by living these truths out loud, you never know who you may inspire in the process, awakening someone else to their own creative potential. This is where the most healing happens. Through embracing a creative unfolding, you’re inviting your inner child back out into the world. It affects the greater good of the whole.
It’s an honor and a gift to live a story where I get to witness this gentle and sometimes not-so-gentle creative, expressive, coming-home-to-self with others.
What helps you to live this belief?
Growing up, I often felt like an outsider. I had a lot of freedom at a young age and spent a great deal of time alone in the woods— building, drawing, foraging, hanging out with animals that crossed my path. It wasn’t uncommon for me to invite baby turtles, and bugs to come home with me to stay awhile. I often had tree sap in my hair or stuck to my knees. I feel this really influenced my own creative freedom and also my deep reverence for nature. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized what a gift the freedom to roam was.
From a young age, I could also see social constructs all around me that simply didn’t make sense. I remember not even having a word for it but thinking. “But WHY is this something everyone does? It’s made up, who made it up? I don’t know this “who”, it seems silly, so I will do it the way it makes sense to me”.
Early in life, my great-grandfather began to call me Storm. Apparently, I’ve always been pretty headstrong, not easily governed, and wildly independent. No matter how hard I’ve tried to graduate from it, because I feel less like a force of nature and more like an element within it as I get older, I’ll do something and someone will say “HA. STORM! There she is!”.
Fundamentally I’ve always had a stubborn sense of self-governance and often operated in brazen, somewhat rebellious ways that have been mostly constructive, sometimes not at all. I love to discover cosmic gifts and sometimes I have to embrace that I feel like a cosmic joke from time to time and I’m okay with that too.
What gets in your way of living this belief?
When I was in college and a single mother, I initially majored in nursing because I loved to help others feel comfort during difficult times. I had already had experience working in hospice as a CNA and discovered it was a sacred work that I was deeply committed to. Nursing was also a safe, practical choice for a young, single mother of two toddlers. I had been told once that being an artist wasn’t a responsible thing to do when you have children and that I would only make money after I was dead. I never believed this for a moment. I secretly minored in the fine arts on top of nursing. It felt like a steady balance. Until it was time to sign up for classes for my second year. I was told I could only receive financial aid in one major. I was devastated.
I was sitting in the computer lab at FLCC’s Honors House staring at the screen, choking back tears, on the cusp of a deadline to make what was, in my eyes, a choice that could possibly affect the rest of my children’s lives. It felt like I was about to abandon the love of my life. The guilt ate me alive, it felt so completely selfish that I would even risk such an uncertain path on my children's behalf.
One of my professors noticed my pensiveness and asked me what was up. I told him of the choice I had to make— practical and safe, or passion and uncertainty. If I chose my art, I had no idea at that time what was ahead of me. I couldn't see it yet. He listened; he was always a good listener. He responded with a story about how one decision to attend a creative writing workshop when he was younger changed the course of the rest of his life. He explained all the incredible people he came to love, and amazing experiences that landed in his path. All because of one decision. He asked me to consider, “ What makes a life worth living? Choose that, always choose that.”
He also asked me what would I do if I could do anything. I said, I want to learn how to put on events that invite others to explore the creative arts, music, dance, poetry, art. I want to open up people’s lives with art, all the arts. And he said, let’s make it happen then, I’ll teach you.
I dropped nursing that day and promptly signed up for a handful of his creative writing classes. Together we created Community Art nights that were held for many years after I left. We also created a live music series featuring college musicians and creatives.
The healing, opening up, and community building that I witnessed through these endeavors was profound. Having Curt as a mentor opened up my whole world of production and facilitating creative spaces. Seeing how it influenced others’ quality of life, self-confidence, connection to self and healing put me on the track to always follow my bliss, which is ironic, since Curt’s last name was in fact Nehring-Bliss. Little did I know, the question of “ What makes a life worth living?” would serve as the catalyst to helping others follow their bliss while discovering my own.
What is the joy, or satisfaction, or benefit, for you in doing the work to live into this belief?
I take a great deal of care and find comfort in helping others move through difficult periods in life— healing from family trauma, grief counseling, co-teaching sexual assault survivor empowerment workshops, helping families understand the process of a loved one passing while simultaneously serving as an advocate for the loved one to feel safe and ready to pass on. It’s important to me that others feel seen, heard, and not alone during these periods. It only takes one person, one moment to completely influence the course of someone's life for the better, or at least help life feel a little less heavy.
Being an advocate for considering the possibilities that await an individual on the other side of fear, self-doubt, trauma, and tragedy has always been a part of me as well. You want to live a cattywampus, creative life full of potential and endless possibilities? I got your back. You’re on your way, transitioning into the great unknown on your own terms? I also got your back.
I’ve also discovered I slowly wither away into a pitiful “Amanda husk” when I turn my back on my creative self. It’s all connected; all of these experiences influence the essence of what I paint. The way the subjects in my work engage with the observer. It’s that bridge between worlds, between fear and possibility.
To me, the ultimate reward is all the memories created with others, all the stories we hold collectively, all the lessons, healing, and growth. It’s raising daughters that aren't afraid to walk in the vast unknown and follow their own passions. It’s discovering and rediscovering how the universe really does hold us if we can just lean into that initial fear of the unknown.
Beauty and magic await on the other side for all of us that have the ability to create. Doing it alone is all well and good, but being able to do it with others is a gift. If I spend the rest of my life pitter-pattering through my creative bliss while helping others embrace their own and trust their own creative instincts...that will be enough. To me, that is a life worth living.
Thank you, Amanda! And thank you to all of you, my dear and wonderful readers. None of this would be possible without you. If you enjoyed this, please feel free to like (click the heart!), share, and comment! I’d love to hear your thoughts.