Creative Family Series | Tracey Crooks

by , posted on July 18th, 2013 in creative family series

creative family - Tracey Crooks

It’s hard to believe the Creative Family Series has turned two years old! I’m excited to celebrate its birthday with a fantastic interview with the super lovely and talented Tracey Crooks. Tracey is a writer who works in television. She’s also a mom to two lively and adorable kids. Her passion for storytelling started at a young age and continues today. Everyone, meet Tracey…

How do you nurture your own creativity?

My best ideas tend to come to me when I’m not actively trying to “be creative” – like in the shower or when I’m out on a long run. So I run a lot. And I take really long showers. I think giving myself time and space to not think helps clear my mind enough for the good stuff to get through.

Did you grow up in a creative household? If so, what were some of the ways your parents nurtured your creativity and curiosity?

My dad loves music, and I remember there always being music playing in our house growing up. He used to quiz my sister and I on who sang any given song that happened to come on, and would offer up a dollar if we got it right. That was incentive for us to pay attention to artists and their sounds. I also remember a lot of oral storytelling growing up, from both my parents and other relatives. My grandmother especially told the craziest stories about growing up in Trinidad that always seemed to have some supernatural element. She told these stories about things like witches and shape shifters with such conviction, like they were the absolute truth. Sometimes she scared the bejesus out of us. But they were great stories.

creative family series

How do you hope to nurture it in your children?

By encouraging them to believe in magic and nonsense for as long as possible, and to follow wherever their imaginations take them. They love to make up stories and songs, and what they come up with is endlessly entertaining. We try to expose them to art and music and poetry and the like as much as possible. We give them lots of access to creative tools like art supplies and musical instruments, and let them turn empty boxes into buses and rockets. When they have questions or problems we encourage them to think them through and try to find their own solutions, rather than just giving them our own answers.

interview with creative family

What are some of your favorite ways to spend time together as a family?

We’re still pretty new to the area where we live now and love to explore new places – whether it’s taking a day trip to a nearby city or just checking out a local restaurant or park we haven’t been to yet. We also enjoy the occasional dance party in our living room.

How have you been able to integrate work with pursuing your creative passions?

I’m glad you asked me that. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stress of work and to forget how lucky I am that my job and my passion are very closely related. My passion is for storytelling. My job is to tell compelling stories (about TV shows). I should appreciate that more often.

creative family series on classic play

What drew you to television?

I grew up in front of the television and fell in love with the characters and stories I found there.

What are you working on now?

I very recently started a new job with a network where I’m working on the launch campaigns for several new shows.

From time to time everyone’s creative juices wane. How do you handle that? (do you do something specifically or do you just ride it out?)

I go for a walk or a run and just zone out and try not to think so hard. Usually the combination of physical activity and a change of scenery helps to get things going.


How cool are Tracey and her kids? I love that last picture where her daughter is posing like the woman in the Picasso painting. I see the love for music hasn’t skipped a generation either ;)

Tracey’s story about her grandmother got me thinking about Maurice Sendak who believed children are able to handle dark, complicated stories. My grandmother was a spinner of tales. And many of them scared me growing up too. I remember my Aunts saying, “Now Mom, don’t go scaring the children.” And yet, I wonder if that’s where I developed my own love for tall tales and wild stories/characters. What are your thoughts on scary stories for your kids?

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2 Responses to “Creative Family Series | Tracey Crooks”

  1. Caroline Says:

    July 18th, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Tracey, I love that your best ideas come to you while trying not to be actively creative! I find that to be the case with me too! And your grandmother sounds like my mother in law! My husband is from Venezuela, and she is such a fabulous story teller and there’s always some element of the story that leaves of going, “Woahhhhh.” and then “Seriously??” :)) Good story-telling is such an art.

    Great interview!

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    I loved that part too Caroline. I don’t know about you, but I tend to get anxious when I try too hard to force it when I’m trying to figure something out (be creative).

    And you’re right, good story telling is an art. I think it’s not something we don’t do enough here in the US.

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