The Heroine’s Journey of Lara Captan

What is the best thing that I love about my work?
My work revolves around designing Arabic letters: digital, drawn or written. What I most love about it is that the letter is a microcosmos: We all need text in our daily lives, but we often don’t see that the text is made of letters that are designed by people. In fact, it take ages to make a font, it’s also part art and part science, it’s historical and technological at the same time, it involves power, politics and propaganda, it symbolises cultures and carries the thoughts of the best thinkers of humanity as well as the most humble of people, if the text is preserved…
What is my idea of perfect happiness?
It’s happening on a beach, on a beautiful sunny day with amazing blue skies, calm waves and trees of all forms and sizes all around. I’m surrounded by my loved ones who are all in good health, we’re laughing and feeling satisfied with what is, now.
What is my greatest fear?
Coming nose to nose with a shark! More seriously, I fear the moment of death taking away people whom I love.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?
I hate that I worry a lot, it’s a very Middle-Eastern trait, passed on through generations, and then I feel really cliché or common, which creates a loop of nuisance!
Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?
In the world of Arabic Type Design, the people I admire most – who also happen to be a couple – are: Mirjam Somers & Thomas Milo. I’m lucky to have worked with them and also consider them to be my Dutch family. I admire them because they are thorough, genuine, kind and brutally honest inventors who have dared to challenge the status quo of the industry of type technology. 
What is my greatest extravagance?
I guess extravagance is relative to the perceiver so I wouldn’t know!
On what occasion would I lie?
I would lie if the stakes are very high and the lie would create a better outcome for all the people involved in a given situation. Meaning, I would be using a lie as a form of protection. For example, I would not hesitate to lie if it saves someone’s or my own life. 
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
I really dislike that I have to sell it. I’m trying to change that though.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
The happiest moment at work for me – and I’m not aware when it happens – is when my work has no time and no space.
If I could, what would I change about myself?
I’m very proactive about changing things in myself so I’m afraid that list would be too long for the five or six sentences required to answer this question. I would, however, be very curious to feel what it’s like to be a man for a day or a week. 
What is my greatest achievement in work?
I’m very proud that I had somewhat of a crazy dream, and I made it happen. 
Where would I most like to live?
I most like to live where I am, so I’ve lived in a few places. I do love cities that are surrounded by or within nature because I need to have access to design, art, performances, a neighborhood bar or café, and to be able to sit in a park, forest or go to the beach or some form of water to take a moment of peace without concrete around.
What is my most treasured possession?
It’s the sink, and not just any sink: it’s one that provides one of the best quality water in the world, for free, and as much as necessary. Thank you The Netherlands for that!
What is my most marked characteristic?
I smile, unless I’m super focused, in which case I frown. I smile most of the time thanks to my grandfather who told me an Arab (kind of cheesy) saying translated to: “Smile and the world will smile right back at you”.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
Inspirational places depend highly on my mood, so I don’t have one particular place. 
What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?
I love to have picnics in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam and to eat at my grandmother’s house in Beirut, she’s a wonderful person and cook!
What books influenced my life and how?
When I was fifteen, I read Jean-Paul Sartre’s “Existentialism Is a Humanism” and was amazed by the concept that humans are fully responsible for their own life “project”. From then on, I’ve taken choices as well as their consequences as my responsibility. It’s sometimes a bit much to carry but fortunately, there are other books such as Peggy Guggenheim’s memoir Out of This Century: Confessions of an Art Addict” that remind me of the lightness of being, and that life in the creative sector is a form of lifestyle filled with adventures. Lastly, another inspiring book for me was: “A World I Loved: The Story of an Arab Woman” by Lebanese author Wadad Makdessi Cortas. It’s also a memoir of her life and fights for better education, fighting for the love of our country and the Arabic language. This book gave me valuable insights into the social history of my country.
Who are my favorite writers?
It’s hard to make that list, some of them are: Amin Maalouf, Khaled Husseini, Yasmina Khadra and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
I would make a playlist that reminds me of great moments of life and people I love: Here are a few songs: Hotel California, my dad loved that song, and since I admired my dad, I played it over and over again as a teenager. Then I would play music from the 60’s billboard charts and picture my mom dancing to the tunes, she’s had a lot of hip problems so she would have loved to dance a lot more. To remember my rebel days with my amazing friends in Lebanon, I would listen to Palestinian singer/songwriter Cheb Obbeid’s song called Belady. It’s a bitter-sweet ode to his land. My list is long and includes many genres from classical music to electronic. I’ll always be a fan of diversity. 
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
The Little Prince. He speaks for himself so I need not say more.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
I don’t know most of them: My heroes and heroines are all the people who sacrifice themselves or part of themselves to contribute positively to their surroundings. They are all the people who are in jail, tortured or killed because they ask for justice under dictatorial regimes. They are the women who don’t have the choice to change their lives, have to accept social injustice and yet keep going. They are the garbage collectors, farmers, fire fighters, all these people who work in the shadows of recognition but if they all stopped working they would create a global paralysis.
Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?
Children of Heaven, a 1997 film by Iranian director Majid Majidi. Such a beautiful story that portrays success as not being ‘the best’, but something else that I won’t spoil for the viewer!
What role plays art in my life and work?
To me, art, work and life intertwine. I don’t separate them and often identify more as an artist than as a type designer. What I love about art is that it documents civilization, and at the same time, it pushes the boundaries of the present, of our minds. So, to answer this question more specifically: In my life & work, art plays the role of being my vehicle for change. It could be the work of artists past and present that inspire mine or my values, or it could be my work that aims to inspire a cultural shift.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?
Respectively: my mom (and there’s no one in the world who could compete with that place I think), my dad (he helped me kick start my career, I wouldn’t have been able to have creative freedom in a crucial moment without him), my partner Thatcher (our life together is one big adventure filled with support and mutual motivation). What can I say, I’m super grateful to be surrounded by amazing people! 
Whom would I like to work with in 2019/2020?
2019/2020 will be years of reinvention/expansion for me, so making a list of people I’d like to work with in the future is on my task list!
Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2019/2020?
I have the same answer as the above one. I’ll be making a list of people who can offer mentorship, support, who can inspire or are inspired by my work vision. 
What project, in 2019/2020, am I looking forward to work on?
As I said, I’m looking forward to working on building the foundations of what is now a different stage in my career. At this very moment, I don’t want to define it because I’m searching for a space where I feel my competence and experience will be most useful to my field, and myself. Let’s see!
Where can you see me or my work in 2019/2020?
I’ll be at my studio in Amsterdam and my work will be slowly getting uploaded to laracaptan.com and thoughts to arabictypediaries.com and maybe somewhere else!
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?
“Passion” = cannot live without it. “Never” = should be wiped out of the dictionary except in the case of criminal, hurtful or value-breaking activities. “Retires” = what’s that?
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? 
Cara Di Edwardo | educator, calligrapher & papermaker | USA
Leila Musfy | educator & graphic designer | Lebanon
Maria Montes | calligrapher & lettering artist | Spain/Australia
Mirjam Somers | type designer | Netherlands
Nada Kano | choreographer | Lebanon
Rima Khcheich | musician | Lebanon
Siba Sahabi | artist | Netherlands/Germany
How can you contact me?
You can send me an email at: hello(at)laracaptan(dot)com. And if you’re a bit crazy, I’d be very happy to answer a letter sent at my studio address on: Krelis Louwenstraat 1 B29, 1055KA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Letters may come back to you with extra surprises.

 

Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster, founder of The Heroine’s Journey 

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Are you a creative leader or creative professional looking to develop your business skills and storytelling?

Amidst today’s uncertainty, it is more important than ever to reconnect with yourself and others, develop your creative business, and build your story. Dive deep into your unique business style and areas for growth with the coaching of Peter de Kuster.

IS THE HEROINE’S JOURNEY COACHING FOR YOU?

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    You are a creative leader or creative professional  who is interested in developing yourself, your business, and your story.

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    You are aware that there are no quick fixes. Learning is a journey that works when you are fully committed to it. Coaching can bring awareness and help you navigate, but in the end it’s you who is in charge of your growth.

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    You want to learn more about how to resource yourself, learn about blind spots, and get feedback.

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    You are curious and want to engage in online learning.

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    You are motivated to work in-between sessions on yourself (e.g. working on homework assignments that will help you develop new storytelling, skills, and behaviors).

WHAT’S YOUR COACHING QUESTION?

The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is all about your development. To make the most out of your sessions, we ask you to prepare topics to work on with Peter. These topics can serve as a starting point for further in-depth exploration with Peter.

These coaching topics typically resonate with the creative leaders Peter works with:

How can i tell the most powerful story possible about myself and my creative business?

How can I handle self promotion and marketing of my creative business better?

How do can I stay authentic and with focus when having difficult conversations with potential clients?

What are my creative values and how do I align these with my business values?

How can I manage my time and energy better?

How can I radiate confidence to my clients while feeling anxious inside?

How can I steer myself towards creative excellence without becoming rigid?

About Peter de Kuster

Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project,  a storytelling firm which helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lives and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.

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Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing,  MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.

individual coaching for leaders

PRICING

The Heroine’s Journey Coaching online sessions last 50 minutes and the fee is Euro 189 excluding VAT per session. The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is suitable for people at any stage in their career.

FAQ

Who can sign up for The Heroine’s Journey online coaching?

Creative leaders and creative professionals who wish to improve their business story and develop their business skills and mindset.

Should I choose 1:1 coaching?

Our The Heroine’s Journey experiences in world cities allow you to learn not only from the coach but also from your peers. For the small group coaching (1 – 4 people), we have selected important, relevant topics that we find regularly come up for creative professional: purpose, storytelling, creative confidence, self promotion, time & money and resilience.

If you would prefer to work alone or on a different topic, individual coaching is a better fit for you.

What language do we speak in the coaching sessions?

English.

Can I buy coaching for my organization?

Yes, you can! We support many organizations around the world with their coaching needs. Please contact us for more information.

Can I bring my own topics?

Yes, for individual coaching you get to choose your own topic.

Are coaching sessions confidential?

Yes. Peter will not share anything that is discussed in the coaching sessions.

Where will the coaching sessions take place?

Sessions will take place online (as per the times we live in) via an online tool like Zoom or Skype. Peter will let you know.

How do I sign up?

Send Peter a mail to theherojourneyquestionnaires@gmail.com to start booking your coaching sessions.

How do I pay?

After you send the mail, you will receive an email with a link to pay.

How do I book and reschedule sessions?

Once we’ve received your payment, Peter will contact you and book your coaching sessions. He will also support you with rescheduling sessions if needed.

What is your cancellation policy?

Individual coaching sessions can be postponed up to one week before the session.

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