I’m back! Look – did you notice? I managed to upload a photo, change my background color, make my title readable and put some information in my profile. I know most of my readers (I have readers!) could do all that in about five minutes, but it was a challenge for me and I intend to celebrate small victories. Woo hoo!!
I hope there will be more. I have lots of hopes and dreams for this blog. The biggest one is that it will motivate me to make stuff. I want to make stuff.
When I quit my soul-sucking cubicle job, I wanted to take some time to find my true calling. I had been an accounting clerk for nine years and I was quite certain that Accounting was not it. I wanted to explore my creativity and I figured the time was right, since my husband had recently been promoted and his income would cover our basic expenses. There would be no movie nights or dinners out but as long as he kept working, the wolf would stay a pace or two away from the door.
While I was still in the cubicle job, I tried to soothe my weary soul by spending Saturdays (and way too much money) at Michael’s and JoAnn, buying supplies and dreaming of doing creative things I had no time, energy or inspiration to do. I piled up a lot of supplies in my creative space, which I called my Temple of Creativity. It was, pretty much, an abandoned temple, like those overgrown pyramids in Central America, only not hauntingly beautiful, just cluttered and sad.
When I escaped from the cubicle, I thought my inner artist would immediately burst forth in an explosion of pent-up creativity that would lead, inevitably, to my true work – the work that would make my heart sing and make me feel as if I was finally doing what I was born to do. That’s not exactly what happened. What happened was that I worried so much about my lack of contribution to the family coffers (did I mention that the Great Recession hit and my husband was forced to take a pay cut?) that I jumped, way too soon, into my own arts and crafts business. My daughter and I took a tie-dye workshop in May and by November we were selling at local craft fairs. I figured tie-dye could be my day job and I could try other creative things in my spare time. If anyone who is reading this has ever tried starting a crafts business, you are already laughing. Spare time?
Yeah, right. Okay, it’s been six years and the tie-dye business has settled into a bit of a groove (or maybe a rut). It still doesn’t contribute much to the family coffers, but it supports itself and my daughter’s tie-dye habit, so I consider it a success, as far as it goes, which is not far enough. I love tie-dye but it’s not the only creative thing I want to do. I have all kinds of supplies in that abandoned temple and I want to try all kinds of things. I want to paint. I want to make dolls. I want to make art quilts.
I have spare time now but I don’t do anything with it. I’m stuck and I need help. That’s where the children come in. One day, I was thinking about my mountains of supplies and remembering my childhood, when my parents were raising six kids on a small disability pension. There was no money for frills of any kind, but we were extravagantly creative, using anything we could find around the house – Sears catalogs, old cereal boxes and paste made from flour and water. I wondered what my younger self would say if she could see the things I was hoarding in my temple.
The answer came quickly, and not just from one younger self, but from several. My pre-school self went straight for the glitter. “Oooo,” she said, “Look at all the pretty colors! And there’s glue! And paper! Why is it just sitting there?” My Junior Girl Scout self was appalled at the amount of colorful yarn and embroidery floss going to waste in there. My high school self said, “Oh my gosh – you have canvases! You have brushes and you have paint and no one is using them!” A younger, quieter version of my teen-age self went to the magnetic poetry board, let out a contented sigh, and was not heard from for hours. My young thespian started playing with the hats, wigs and feather boas.
All of these people still exist inside me. Their talents and enthusiasms are still part of me. I want to let them out to play. I need to let them out to play.