Structured Walking with Sharon Mashihi

Audio artist, screenwriter, performer, and story editor Sharon Mashihi is the creator and host of the podcast Appearances from Mermaid Palace and Radiotopia.

Sharon on managing fear and self-doubt, saying yes to your wild ideas, and using rituals to break through creative blocks.

Aaron Finbloom and The School of Making Thinking


ZAK: Sharon Mashihi is one of my favorite audio people. One of my favorite artists in general, I'd say. She made this podcast called Appearances, which if you haven't heard yet, just stop this episode and go listen to that. But anyways, I was reading an interview with her on a website called The Creative Independent, and she talked with the interviewer about this thing called, Structured Walks.

SHARON: Alright. It's recording and unfortunately, I'm not able to fully monitor the levels but they look good.

SHARON: You and I would take a walk and we'd time it.

SHARON: I was thinking we could do 25-minutes you and 25-minutes me and then we'll both walk in one direction and we'll both walk back. Does that sound good?

ZAK: Perfect.

SHARON: You know, my friend, Aaron Finbloom, devised this but I always think of Socrates and those dudes. They were walking.

ZAK: So, I'm walking on Belle Isle which I may have mentioned to you before. It's the big, public park in Detroit.

SHARON: Uh huh.

ZAK: So, the concept here is simple. You can try it today with a friend who lives in your town. Or you can do what Sharon and I did and call someone up. You take a walk on your end, like I did in Detroit. And then they'll be wherever they are. Sharon was in New York City when we talked.

SHARON: Go first Zak. I think it should be you. Alarm set.

ZAK: For the first half of the walk I'm talking through this current creative struggle I'm having. I've been mapping out this historical fiction project but I don't know how to start and I'm intimidated.

SHARON: Maybe can you articulate what your hurdle is with fiction?

ZAK: And this is all we're talking about for 25-minutes. My current struggle and then when those 25-minutes are up, we turn the tables and it's Sharon's turn. You can do it for however long you want. I think the important thing is that it's equal amounts of time for both people.

SHARON: What I had in mind to talk to you about. I'll paint the picture. It has to do with work and art and how organize this next chapter of my life. Um...

ZAK: The structured walk is such a simple, effective tool. And it can work for anything. You don't have to be engaged in a creative project for this to work. Maybe you're just having such questions you want to wrestle with about your work life or a relationship.

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