The interview question

Many years ago, well before opening my own little studio, I was exploring job opportunities and had the chance to interview for a great design position. The interview, I thought, was going well. Right up until I fell flat on my face.

The interviewer asked: What is your creative hobby?

I panicked. Most designers have some form of fine arts outlet. They paint, and sculpt, and draw. I don't paint. Or sculpt. I draw, but that's for work, so it really doesn't count. I knew he expected an answer like I love to capture the the blue-greens of the Sierra before a winter storm. The cold, dry air gives my oils a unique texture, capturing the essence of ... . Well, you get the idea.

What I wanted to say was that I really enjoy cooking, and I'd love to be a writer some day. But I was young, and too terrified to admit that my creative outlets weren't in the visual arts. I burbled some sort of disastrous nonsense, and the interview was over.

My pathetic flame out pushed me, albeit many years later, into writing. So while my creative hobby isn't visual, it's an outlet that's loads of fun. To date, I've published three novellas (under a family-based pseudonym) on Amazon. When I travel with my family or for work, I'm always looking around, collecting the smells and tastes, the way people walk and talk, and the cultural tensions.

So if I were asked that question today, I'd jump right in, and tell him my hobby involves flying around the world, using a helicopter to stop a rocket attack, catching spies gone bad, shutting down terrorist networks, sneaking into Gaza, disarming bombs, and all manners of catching bad guys. I'd explain that we work with colors and shapes and proportions all day long, so why not paint with words?