How We Survived Our Zombie Apocalypse

October 25, 2011

by Deborah Atherton

Occasionally, Leslie and I go away to shore hotels (off-season) to work on our creativity book. This weekend, we chose Asbury Park, New Jersey, one of our favorites, because of a great hotel rate.  To our shock, when we arrived, we were told that we were still in time to get makeup for the Friday night Zombie Events. Seeking quiet, we had unwittingly landed in the greatest Zombie convocation in the world, the culmination of which was a Zombie parade, set to break the world record for most people gathered for a Zombie walk.

Our first impulse was to flee on the next bus back to Manhattan; but the trouble with those great rates is, you have to pre-pay, and running into Zombies is probably not grounds for getting your money back.  Judge Judy would dismiss us instantly. Instead, in the spirit of the Intuitive Edge, we decided to explore, and ask questions.  We first went to question the guy on the Boardwalk who does the Zombie makeup.

“Why do people dress up as Zombies?” we asked. He shrugged. “It’s the new fashion,”” he said. “For a while people loved vampires—True Blood and all that. And then werewolves.  But now people like Zombies. It’s just fun.”

“Are you a Zombie?” Leslie asked.  “No, not me,” he said, “I just do the makeup.”  “But who does want to be a Zombie?” “There is no demographic,” he said. “Old, young, skinny, fat. It’s just fun.”

We proceeded to the information booth.  “Are there qualifications to be a Zombie?” Leslie asked. “No,” they told us. “All you have to do is pour a little blood over your face and join the crowd. And,” they continued, “Don’t forget, we are going for a world record!”

We remained puzzled, and began to walk back over to our hotel.  We ran into a number of Zombies, all of whom were extremely polite, considering they were undead, and a few square dancers, who had also chosen this weekend to convene en masse this weekend. Apparently the whole world had chosen this week to come to Asbury Park.  But as we walked back, we saw a huge, beautiful, inspiring bonfire on the beach, with sparks flying to the heavens, apparently surrounded by Zombies, square dancers, and their happy children.  We decided to stay.

It ended up being a very productive weekend—we wrote and strategized and tried to practice what we preach, creating a schedule of goals, and times, and accountabilities for the book and blog.   And as time went on, and a parade of Zombie nurses, prisoners, chefs, fairy princesses, and even a mermaid sailed by, we realized that Zombies are all about creativity.  Zombie creators spend time and energy creating costumes, makeup, and back story for their characters, and then join together to share their work—and of course eat brains.

It turned out to be the best place and time in the world to work on our creativity book after all.

The festival reports over 12,500 people attended.  Just a nice quiet October weekend on the Jersey Shore.

Asbury Park, New Jersey

October 22, 2011


Interview with Rev. Sheri Heller, LCSW

October 1, 2011

Sheri Heller

“Creativity is a Metaphor for the Subconscious” is only one of many  unique nuggets of wisdom expressed by Rev. Sheri Heller when I interviewed her in August.  First, a little background – Sheri Heller is a colleague of mine who is both an Interfaith Minister and a seasoned psychotherapist. I recently met her in March at a professional conference where we were both on the same panel.   After I heard her presentation,  the only word that comes to mind to describe how I felt was Inspiration.   After the conference, I spontaneously  asked her if I could interview her for this blog.  In addition to being a therapist,  she is also an actor, writer and playwright. Sheri’s love of being creative goes back to her childhood, when she said that as a kid she loved the theater.  Having been a shy and self conscious child, she  found soalce in writing and reading.  As she said, “When we connect to our creative impulses we are deeply authentic.”   As we talked further she revealed that when younger she “knew there was an artist in me but did not feel entitled to give her expression and in certain ways afraid to give her expression – fear of my own power – difficulties with my own power being allowed to shine and to play.”  She goes on to say, “Being an artist is affirming your right to be who you are.”

I wonder how many of us feel this way about letting out even to ourselves,  perhaps especially to ourselves,  our desire to be creative.

I will blog  more  about my interview with sheri in  future blog posts To learn more about her you can  go to her website: