Creativity in the Least Expected Places

Bear with me on this for just a minute.

I had a stunning encounter with creativity while paying my credit card bill this month – and it was all 100% legal and legit.

quote from The Art of Mistakes

I had to handle the payment over the phone due to some unusual events. I was dreading making the call . . . the excruciating details I’d have to explain, probably to be misunderstood over and over. Good chance there’d be a tussle. Certain that it would drain me.

Serendipity connected me with Teresa. Well, here we go – time to hunker down.

I couldn’t be totally sure, but early on in the telling of my saga to Teresa, I thought she may have made a little joke. It couldn’t be; that was usually the sort of thing I sometimes tried to do to infuse just a bit of humanness into the mix.

“What?” I asked.

Yup, sure enough, Teresa made a little comment, with just a tinge of snide in it, something along the lines of . . . “I’ve been waiting to talk with you all morning.” It got my attention and immediately made me chuckle.

Wow, I thought – they never do that.

Well, Teresa did. She also listened to what I had to say. And then, in the most cheerful and buoyant style I’ve ever experienced with telephone customer service, she explained how everything could be resolved … painlessly.

I told her that I was amazed and that I’d never encountered anyone like her on the other end of the credit card “help” line.

And then, Teresa treated me to her most inspiring perspective. She said that she loves her job. She is thrilled every single time she gets a customer on the phone who’s expecting the worse and she’s able to turn it around and win them over. She told me that she had recently gotten out of a toxic marriage and that her job made her feel alive and vibrant in the world. I asked if I could talk to her supervisor to express my astonishment and delight at having encountered her. When I spoke with the supervisor, he echoed my amazement and said that he gets comments like mine all the time and that she stuns people on a regular basis.


The whole situation simply delighted me. Teresa at Chase reminded me just how true it is that creativity can be expressed in endless ways.

I like to think that artists have particularly well-developed creative muscle which can be applied in all sorts of directions. I don’t know if Teresa is an artist or not, but she sure lives like one.

by Melanie Rothschild

author of The Art of Mistakes

The Art of Mistakes cover

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One thought on “Creativity in the Least Expected Places

  1. I am so grateful to have discovered you recently! My husband found your book at Joann fabric and brought it to my attention telling me, “This looks like you.” And indeed it did. My soul sang as I paged through the colorful chapters. You speak my language. I identify with everything you say about taking an art class. I had a class like that, but unfortunately, it shut me down as the teacher snatched the brush out of my hand and said, “No! Like this!”, and in that moment I lost my confidence. I failed a sewing class in college and I am JUST now, nearly 30 years later, beginning to experiment with sewing again; this time, on my terms. I am learning, and more importantly, loving it! I dabble in many forms of creative expression from, jewelry making from recycled material, to sewing, to mixed media journaling and painting.
    I so appreciate your philosophy and am grateful to have your book for inspiration and encouragement on my creative journey!
    Thank you so much!


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