The Creative Unconscious: What's your name, age, and professional title?
Allison Roger: Allison Roger / 36 / Copy Director at Hornall Anderson / Writer
TCU: What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field that keep you inspired and motivated to generate personal work? How do they inspire you?
AR: I have a penchant for old things. Old boats. Old typewriters. Old places with old stories. There’s an integrity to them that reminds me of what it takes to make something real, something lasting. I think that’s important and humbling and beautiful. I love losing myself in finding them.
TCU: Do you have a hard time balancing being a creative professional and generating personal work that you're proud of?
AR: More than the professional versus the personal, it’s vision versus reality. A writer friend was talking to me recently about the idea of not trying to boil the ocean. He put it like this: If you go down to the beach and see people boiling a pot of water over a bonfire, and then you see a bunch of lunatics up to their knees in the water trying to boil the ocean, the crazies have bigger dreams, but the other people are going to succeed. So, how much water and how much fire, that’s the critical question for me.
TCU: What time of day do you feel the most creative? What about the most productive?
AR: We love thinking about writers bent over desks in the dead of night, a half-empty bottle fueling perfectly turned phrases. It’s all considerably less romantic—and more sober—than that. Being a professional writer has taught me how to connect with my creativity, how to get to the place where the words are, on demand. The secret: Ass + Chair.
TCU: What are your creative goals for the future?
AR: I believe in the power of big ideas delivered through well-crafted stories. I think people are hungry for meaning, invitation and affirmation—and that, if you tap into true things, they pay attention. They join you. My goal is to continue doing that as best I can, as much of the time as possible.
TCU: What scares you?
AR: Being part of the problem. We live in a cluttered world. Every day, we are bombarded with messages about stuff we don’t need for a life that’s (quite often) focused on the wrong things. Working in advertising, my job is to make people see brands as an additive part of their lives. On the bad days, I’m just contributing to the clutter. But on the good days, I’m working to change the conversation. Because I believe brands are powerful tools, which can be used for good if we consider them to be more than mere commerce.
TCU: Anything else you want to add?
AR: I lived on East Coast after college, where I cut my teeth as a writer and messed around on boats. After a handful of years, I knew what I was there. What I needed was to understand what I was (minus the “there”). So I shoved off. I think we’re always doing that in a way, as creatives but also as people. We are rovers, our course set on a sight just beyond the horizon. Steering to that is good for our work—and our life. After all, “A ship in harbor is safe. But that’s not what ships are built for.”
You can see more of Allison's work and find out more about her at www.allisonroger.com.