By acknowledging the limits we face, and tapping into our natural talents, we overcome deficit to find true strength.

When first learning to scribe, I was incredibly intimidated by colleagues who could quickly produce realistic pictures of people, animals, buildings, and objects from memory. Some people have this innate ability, where they pick up a pen, start working at a wall, and everything they make is recognizable. They listen. They draw. Go!

But that definitely was not me…

It took 1-2 years of very dedicated journaling, where I wrote words alongside sketches, to realize that my style – my true voice – was going to have to be something new, to me and to others. It would be some mix of what I knew my hand could shape, and a processing skill unique to my brain.

What resulted was an organic, nature-based approach* that more accurately represented how I saw and made sense in the world. I failed quite a lot in private and public while figuring this out. And my strength – surfacing coherence – only became clear after many, many years of this too often awkward and aching process of experimentation.

And this leads me to the point of authenticity. When learning to scribe, I emulated others. Our teams would literally “wall copy” to document the work, which really is an excellent introductory way of learning.

To uncover our unique gifts and give them shape, though, requires an additional kind of diligence.

We grow when we follow our curiosity – whether it be working with leading thinkers, visiting museums, or gaining exposure to other disciplines and art forms. Our view of things shifts as we take on new vantage points, like walking a route normally driven, or flying above a field of grain we are used to seeing as cereal in a bowl.

Additionally, we settle into our authenticity as we start to listen to our internal voice, the one that says: “This is true. Yes.” To the impulse in the gut: “Okay, go with it.” To the heat rising through the veins: “This matters.”

As we hear these messages and listen to them – like we would take advice from a mentor or a coach – we inhabit our truest self, the one that has been waiting all these years for us to grow up, to show up.

We learn through copy. We advance through integration. We master by tapping into our own source.


* Thank you Bryan Coffman, showing me there was a place for abstraction


  1. Patricia A Kahoe` says:

    Kelvy, I remember well those early days of struggle. I remember some beautiful organic scribing and I also remember that at times I did not understand what the heck you were thinking/doing. Thank goodness Bryan was there to encourage you from his deep wisdom, because I remember I wasn’t the only one who said “Kelvy, do you think you can be a little more literal here?”.

    I am sooo glad you soldiered on through your process, keeping to your individual path of learning – otherwise the world would be missing a singular talent who has risen to the top of the field. And I thank you for maintaining our relationship despite my ignorance of what you were going through and striving for. A lesser person would not be where you are today, as a person as well as a GF and writer (the latter is no less a gift to the world than your scribing).

    Love and hugs,

    • Kelvy Bird says:

      Patsy – I’m speechless! and quite humbled by your words, and also grateful to have this recollection shared through your eyes. What a time it was. Your encouragement all along this path is a huge part of what has – and keeps – me going. Thank you!

    • Kelvy Bird says:

      thanks, Jack. in an increasingly visual world, it does seem like finding our true voices of expression will help keep the possible overload of messaging, of signals, more personal somehow – more closely bound to the uniqueness of the individual, reinforcing the breadth of our humanity