In this issue, we're celebrating a whole bunch of creatives, and the verses they're offering up

Thanks to Apple's brilliance (and an apparently limitless ad budget), I can't get Walt Whitman out of my head:

That you are here-that life exists, and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

Gosh, I love that.

And in this issue, we're celebrating a whole bunch of creatives, and the verses they're offering up.

To create takes courage. Whether you're painting a picture or playing an instrument or building a business or cooking a meal, you pour these little pieces of your soul into something, and you hope people find in it beauty or inspiration or a need fulfilled or just a simple, pleasurable moment. And all of those things-they are what color our world.

So this is our thank you, to the folks in these pages, and so many more beyond. We can merely scratch the surface, we realize, of introducing those whose verses are worthy. But we can at least highlight a few.

Among the women you'll meet here is Nancy Kramer, who grew up on the East Side with a profound curiosity and wild dreams. She helped market the aforementioned brilliant company when it was merely an upstart. Now, she runs the largest independent, woman-owned marketing agency in the country, and she's building a preschool in Rwanda (among a slew of other do-gooding deeds).

You'll also read about:

Anna Sokol, who couldn't find a job teaching art, so she made one.

Suzanne Cotton, who has used her experience (and sass) to elevate CCAD's fashion program into a powerhouse.

Jamie Riley, who took a leap of faith, opened a shop and is selling her own handmade jewelry along with upscale artisan goods.

Catherine Vonderahe, who used a cancer diagnosis and divorce as an opportunity to reinvent her life, return to her hometown of Upper Arlington and open the café she thought it deserved.

Five difference-makers named this year's YWCA Women of Achievement.

Four noteworthy nurses.

And, oh yeah, an actress named Ashley Judd, who hopes she's portraying powerful women on screen and using her Harvard degree to help the powerless off screen.

Walt was right a century ago.

And he's still right now.

Robin Williams recites the last line of Whitman's poem in Dead Poets Society, and then asks: "What will your verse be?"

Thank you, to the women who know-and who inspire the rest of us to sing.