Your creative legacy is based in your life and work.

Be conscious of the impact you’re creating—next, build strong foundations to anchor that legacy in place.

My name is Esmé. I’m a novelist and essayist. Words are the tools with which I work best; I put together inspirational talks and create work that I hope will affect people, and will perhaps even outlast me.

Maybe this seems outrageously hubristic.

Or perhaps you have a similar aim.

To focus on creative legacy by considering our mortality may seem unnecessarily morbid, but it’s a useful way to keep ourselves aware of how every moment of our lives matters. We never know when our days will end. We all have something unique to give.

But if you make things—if you write, dance, draw, paint, sculpt—it is likely that, despite what some may think, you work insanely hard. After all, you’re not only honing your craft and exploring new frontiers; you’re also figuring out how to earn money while doing so. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed artist, writer, designer, “creative,” creative entrepreneur, or all of the above, your efforts to build a powerful body of work also come with the demands of building a life for yourself.

Do you believe in building a creative legacy sustainably, and with resilience?

I do. And I want to help you make your best work.

At this website, I provide resources for creatives to develop mastery and resilience while building a legacy. I do this with a high value for compassionate excellence, and a sensitivity toward the need for emotional and physical health. My work is inspired by my business and life ethos…

Leave your mark.

…as it applies to programs and conversations about creative legacy and resilience. These include Where’s the Electricity?, a powerful workbook and audio program to help you discover a well of inspiration via your creative themes and obsessions, as well as the forthcoming self-paced program Rawness of Remembering: Restorative Journaling Through Difficult Times, which has been called “beyond amazing” and “transformative” by former students.

…as it applies to my writing. I’m the author of the forthcoming novel The Border of Paradise (Unnamed Press, April 2016), as well as a freelance writer and essayist for publications such as The New Inquiry, The BelieverSalon, and Jezebel. I received my MFA from the University of Michigan’s top-ranking Creative Writing program; am represented by The Williams Company; and have been awarded the Sudler Award, Hopwood Award, and the Elizabeth George Foundation Grant. I’m currently writing an essay collection about schizophrenia.

…as it applies to my work as a speaker at places such as the World Domination Summit and the Out of the Binders Symposium, where I not only talk about my personal story, but about everyone’s story: there is nothing broken about us.

…as it applies to my mental health advocacy. I’ve written an e-book and audiobook about living well with mental illness, called Light Gets Inwhich has been described by PsychCentral editor Margarita Tartakovsky as “a must-read for anyone, as this beautiful book ultimately speaks to humanity and hope.” As part of my advocacy work, for which WEGO Health selected me as a 2014 Health Activist Hero Finalist, I share my stories in my blog, also known as the Journal, and with permission, the stories of others, about mental health and illness. My personal stories are based on my life with schizoaffective disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as my experiences with neuroborreolosis.

When people ask me why I write about mental health struggles, I tell them about the woman who wrote to say that she was contemplating suicide one night, spent the dark hours reading the Journal instead, and then decided that she was going to live. Storytelling about surviving, and thriving, with serious and chronic illnesses is both a balm and a call to action for everyone to live their best life, no matter the circumstance.

dyana valentine Your biggest strengths are storytelling, aesthetic reverence and a kind of curated compassion that is unparalleled. I’ve learned that we are the ‘More Story’ — not more than our stories, but that my story matters and I matter — in combination.” – Dyana Valentine, Oracle

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Subscribe to Legacy Notes, and you'll receive missives about compassionate life and business, as well as living as a working artist while working to leave your mark. As a bonus, you'll receive a copy of the Creative Legacy Check-In—a tool that allows you to thoughtfully examine your recent work, determine where you're heading, and to course-correct (or celebrate) as necessary.

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gala darling
[Esmé’s] blog is beautiful, smart, and thought-provoking.” – Gala Darling, writer & founder of the Radical Self Love movement


For fun, a few lesser-known facts:

  • I used to be on a children’s television show. I was “let go” from the show because I couldn’t stop laughing during one of the tapings.
  • Though I was a class clown in high school, being a brainy kid saved me from punishment; the pinnacle of my comedic career was making it to callbacks for Yale’s oldest sketch comedy troupe, in which I spent about five minutes reciting the alphabet while pretending to withdraw a tapeworm from my mouth. And I want to try stand-up comedy at least once.
  • I’m an INFJ, a 4 on the Enneagram, and a Gemini with a Taurus moon and a Capricorn rising.
  • A popular Taiwanese miniseries was created about my father’s family. Skeletons in the closet, ahoy!

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Credits: All of the media photographs of me on this site are by Kristin Cofer, except for the above photograph, which was shot by Catherine Just, and the top Polaroid, which was shot by me. The beautiful watercolor illustrations are by Caitlin Shearer.

A few last things with that final sip, if you don’t mind. If it sounds like we’re on a similar frequency, I invite you to sign up on the right-hand side for my highly intentional musings at Legacy Notes, which will also score you a free copy of the Creative Legacy Check-In.

Thank you.

And, finally: I challenge us — both of us, in it together — to be meaningful.

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Subscribe to Legacy Notes, and you'll receive original writings from me to you. Each e-letter also includes Five Words, featuring unusual vocabulary to tickle the mind, as well as curated links of top-notch writing from around the web. Finally: as a bonus, you'll receive a copy of the Creative Legacy Check-In—a tool that allows you to thoughtfully examine your recent work, determine where you're heading, and to course-correct (or celebrate) as necessary.


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