I’m 42 years old and I’m going to give art a try. It’s nothing I’ve really done before. No one was withholding that license from me. No one told me I shouldn’t. It just wasn’t part of what I did.
I grew up with a brilliant and devoted artist as a brother. His obvious attraction to and cultivation of his creative ability was there from his very youngest years. It was clear as day. He would lie on the floor with a pad of paper and pencil and scribble complex worlds, completely absorbed for hours on end. It was what he did. I admired and still admire him. I love what he creates. I love the abandon that he shows in creating. I love what is uniquely his.
I think I took a painting class in about third grade. What I recall of it is that it was offered in the gym and we made some stuff. I know nothing I created at that time still remains. I took a ceramics class during the J-term of my freshman year. I LOVED it. But I never did it again.
From time to time over the years I’ve made line drawings. Typically of my dog. They weren’t bad. But they weren’t anything I practiced making. A one-off on an intrigued afternoon perhaps.
About six years ago I was part of a women’s group. We came together to read and study the archetypes and fables presented in Women Who Run with the Wolves, the brilliant and difficult book by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. In that group we were called upon to make collage. We called them soul expression cards, if I recall correctly. I loved making them. I made many, and continued to make more over the years. I know now that this was an art practice, but I didn’t recognize it as such back then. I thought of it as something like homework. It was Therapy with a big T. Something I had to do because there was something that needed fixing, and this was part of the prescription. Maybe I believed that if I was “better” — in whatever that meant — I wouldn’t have to make these kind of soul-baring creations any more. The fact that I absolutely loved making them, and would be lost in the joy of creation when I constructed them, did nothing to teach me that this might be a wonderful thing rather than something shameful.
Now I’m participating in a training, a school, that has at its core the critical importance of nurturing creation. Of developing a practice of creativity, as part of my work to become better at what I do professionally, in relationships, and in the world. The teachers view it as necessary to anything else that I and we may hope to do to be part of change in these structures around me.
Interesting that it takes permission — no, instruction — for me to embark on something as personal as a creative practice. So it has always been for me. I need a structure to write with abandon. I need an app to do exercise. A program to eat differently. Accountability, even if only to my phone, to meditate daily.
But those are the parameters I have to work with for the time being, and I accept them! So today I declare that I have embarked. I will cultivate creativity.