My friend Maria Given Nerius wrote this on FaceBook, “And crafting is a friend…as is writing…so that friend will wait. The mojo comes back when the time is right and the heart is open.”
I told Maria, “what a profound perspective that crafting is a friend that will wait for your return.” It inspired me to think about creativity, which is so powerful in childhood, then dims in most and sometimes fades away for years. But it is always there, writing for your return. Like the Eugene Field poem/song of the “Little Boy Blue” that my mother used to sing to me.
The little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and staunch he stands;
The little tin soldier is red with rust,
And the musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.
“‘Now, don’t you go till I come,’ he said,
‘And don’t you make any noise.’
So toddling off to his trundle-bed
He dreamt of his pretty toys;
And as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our little Boy Blue–
Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
But the little toy friends are true.
“Aye, faithful to little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place–
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face;
And they wonder as waiting the long years through
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our little Boy Blue,
Since he kissed them and put them there.”
And so it is about creativity. It waits ever so patiently for your return, no matter how many years. I understand that if you walk into a first grade classroom and ask how many are artists, almost all hands go up. If you return in fourth grade and ask the same group, very few hands if any are raised. So somewhere between the first and fourth grade we strip the creativity out of people.
But that is where I come in, years later, to help you relearn to play like a child and recapture your creative spirit. For me, and the lucky ones who call ourselves artists from an early age, who followed a path of creativity that we could not contain or deny…the world remained a playground of awe and inspiration.
I have had brushes with paint that lasted for years. And, even when I have hung up my paintbrushes to dry and left them to gather dust…they remained steadfast friends awaiting my return and sprang into action as soon as they were returned to the glorious puddles of paint. So Maria, you certainly brought forth this morning a nostalgia for my brushes and paints…as they have been waiting for me for a while now, as life has been crowding out the friendship and companionship of my old ally creativity.
Ester Lee, whose photos are used in this post, wrote, “For the entire past year I’ve been thinking that I lost ALL of my paint brushes. ALL of them. And it would trouble my dear little soul every time I thought about painting. Painting is both a cathartic and relaxing process for me…”
And when I allow the everyday madness of my life crowd out my art, my dear little soul is indeed troubled and restless.
Please leave your thoughts in a comment below…