Women on a Triple Quest

by Kimberly Nagy

The Triple Quest essay and interview series features interviews and essay subjects who inspire me–a word that literally means to fill with breath–as well as “fill with the desire to do something creative.”

Women on a Triple Quest will feature conversations with individuals who offer thoughts and viewpoints that, in my view, deserve longevity, and are from all backgrounds, religious persuasions and creative journeys. Whether they are speaking, writing, leading, singing, drawing, producing, painting, making films, cooking, inventing, exhibiting, digging up missing research, raising resilient children and nurturing grand-children, gathering others in community—all of my interviewees want to pass a caring and vital part of themselves on to the next generation–through determination, study, grit, delight, focus and daring. Stories, messages and legacies that will endure past the next trend and offer timeless sources of substance and renewal.

In my role as editor for Wild River Review, we spent years devoted to creating content in a manifesto we called-The Slow Web movement. That movement aimed to use all of the benefits of the digital world to carve out a slower place and pace for ideas we want to last (rather than chase) within the abundant information overload of our busy world.

I don’t know about you, but in the blur of emails and posts, volleys I scroll through and participate in every day, things start to get pretty fuzzy. I wanted to create a space to think about and uphold a series on my favorite women, my own role models of warm, authentic, wise grounded substance– right within the loud digital labyrinth that monopolizes our attention span.

The triple part of my quest has everything to do with considering past, present and future in my approach. Because, while living in the present is a tempting catch-phrase, it can also leave us stranded in a social media environment that is a dangerous rabbit hole without context or focus. An endless scroll that might fool us into thinking that our projects could or should materialize overnight, when that kind of instant success is almost never the whole story.  The triple format calls for interviewees to reflect on their past-talk about the present–and offer some words about how they’d like to imagine or re-imagine the future.

Muna Imady icon
Lady of the Largest Heart

Syrian writer and teacher, Muna Imady used language and stories to connect, to spread warmth and soothe others with the combination of kindheartedness and deep intellect…


Bertha MorganSing, Live, & Love Like You Mean It: Gospel Singer Bertha Morgan

“I want everyone to make a difference in the world. Seek to be counted among those that are the remedy for the situation rather than the cause of the problem. Reach out in love…love everyone. You might not like everyone, you might not like their ways, or their person, the way they handle things, but there is still a love that has to be had for every creature.”

Edwidge Danticat
Create Dangerously: Edwidge Danticat:

“I think intimacy is crucial to any kind of creation. I spend so much time with my characters that I ultimately grow to love all of them, even the despicable ones. You have to become intimate with your characters in order to get them.”

The Art of Memoir Book Cover
Truth Hunger: A Meditation on Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir:

But be forewarned, to get inside that church for real, to feel that soft whoosh of unadulterated wonder, it takes a willingness to open your ears in sand-stuffed layers, of which there tend to be many calcified folds. We must always be on guard against partial thoughts at the expense of the whole-and our own natural tendency to pose and posture. Or the sentimental sludge that loops us into stories that sound damn good in our heads but are far more propaganda than the vital hum/roar of true emotion.

Pamela Tanner Boll Dangerous Women: Pamela Tanner Boll Talks About Creativity, Motherhood and the World of Art:

Poet, painter, teacher, former Wall-Street trader and mother to three growing sons, Pamela Tanner Boll once wondered how other mothers went bout re-entering the world of the fine arts. To Boll, creativity has a vital place in the life of every person (man or woman) and yet she points out that we often mistake the mysterious life-giving force behind creativity with the hard “proof” of material success. “You’re heart is the driver for all creative work.”

Tracy K. SmithThat Email Changed My Life: Tracy K. Smith:

In pages that illustrate her mother’s vitality and character, “there was something gleaming and spirited beneath it, something that instigated pranks and stunts that could bend the rest of us over in laughter,” Smith writes, painting memories that vividly recall her mother’s voice. “Or the evening when the topic of nicknames came up for discussion in the family…..When it was my mother’s turn, she said that she didn’t want to be called Mom, or Mama, and that we should cease calling her Mommy. She told us with a straight face, ‘Call me Sexy.’”

Beata PalyaThe Secret World of Songs Beata Palya

Even if I’m emotional, I want to turn those feelings into a nice, musically worked out song. I like words and meaning but I also like sounds, rhythm and melodies. So, I‘m like a mother, looking after her two children – words and music – playing together, I love them both. I want to make both happy, but I don’t want to see that one is pushing the other down.

Light of Innocence photography

The Light of Innocence: On Playfulness, Trees and Growing Up in the Former East Germany:

“When I am creative I often get lost in that playful realm of childhood, where I forget time and space. Creativity fuels me with energy and passion.” says Christine Matthäi.