Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The First Creations

It has taken me a long time to get to where I am comfortable talking about my creative path.  And a couple of years to realize what I want to share here, in blog form, as well.  Many a New Year's resolution to write more, blog more, share more have come and gone without success.

Some things just can't be forced before its time.

The delay was, mostly, because part of that story is about the events of my childhood. Not all of them pleasant and several outright harrowing but, in fact, they are a part of that creation inside.

So, no better time than today, on the cusp of a New Year, to start. . . without a resolution or promise. It's just time.

I would count myself among the millions who probably utter this phrase, "I have been creating since I can remember" more than I would like. It is, of course, true but I always have a bit of an issue with non specific statements like that.

I could say that it was a finger-painting a did at age 4 ( and vividly recall making)  that my mother still has framed and on her wall almost 40 years later. I can still see the spot where I started to finger paint my name before realizing that did not constitute a "picture" and promptly smeared over it with a blend of paints.

That was done in the bedroom of the apartment my mother ad I lived in the first 10 years of my life.

But the memories of my first creations artistically are blended with the meory of my first creations in my head of the sing-songs, games and mantras that were to keep me safe from what  can only say was a very dark entity in my room. 

That is not a cloaked statement alluding to someone evil or any sort of abuse. It was most definitely some "thing" that I feared. And it haunted my horrible nightmares from my earliest memories. I would fight to not have to go to sleep in that room and often would convince my mom to let me stay up and fall asleep on the sofa in the living room or on the floor. Then she would get me into bed once I was already out.

In the nightmares it was something about the curtains/window of my room. The hideous floor to ceiling orange curtains might have been enough without their animating and speaking in those dreams. lol  I also had a series of health issues then. Spontaneous nosebleeds that would not stop but, luckily I was told, I awoke just before they would start every time.  So it seemed a battle of forces and, in my mind, I did all I could to appeal to the forces of good.

So, in that part of my paracosm, I found it useful to create ways, in my head, to defeat that darkness. I had games that, if I won, would keep me safe. Chants and sing-songe repeated the right number of times or for a minute straight etc.

In the case of the nightmares, perhaps it helped.

One night, in a most frightening dream where the darkness was closing in on my bed and the curtains were flailing across the room trying to grab me, I watched as that the ceiling of my room split and a shower of millions of gold spinning snowflakes (sort of shaped like little nuclei with tiny round orbs at the flake points but all gold and sparkly)  , the size of a dime, cascaded down from the sky spreading over my entire bed. In the dream I sat uptight as the snowflakes poured over me and, then, awoke, sitting in my bed, still able to feel the last snowflakes falling on me and I could literally "see" them as well. Once they stopped falling I realized it was still very dark. . . late night. . . and I was alone. But then, as I stared into the darkness waiting for my eyes to adjust, I saw one spinning gold snowflake appear in front of me.  Hovering and constant. I lay back down in my bed, realized I was sweating and got up to get a drink of water.  When I returned, the snowflake was gone.

I never had another nightmare again.

In fact, to this day, I only remember dreaming once every couple of months or so and I sleep, most of the time, only 5 hours a night (which may be a hold over from those childhood years).

Also I should mention that anytime since that night that I think of those little spinning snowflakes one, and only one, will appear right in front of my eyes be it dark or daylight . . .  as one is here in front of me now as I type. I'm used to it and, in all honesty, I find it most comforting.

All those little games, rhymes and songs were invented to keep me safe. To help me cope with nightmares, fears and the darkness. . . it would not be a stretch to say that now, in my adult life, they came back to do the same though the shadows were most definitely more internal and they had names we all know like expectation, self-doubt and all around general adult world illusions and societal programming.

The stories to come get stranger. . . but the power of creativity will be the theme throughout.  The struggle to stay close to that possibility and wonder that permeated my youth. . . to this point where, once again, my whole life revolves around it now.

So I'll tell it as best I can and hope that it leaves something behind that will resonate with someone else one day.

Wishing you all a happy start to your new year!

Create it to be pure magic!


Saturday, December 14, 2013


When people throw the phrase, "I am going through a second childhood" around, I always like to ask, "Are you getting it right this time?"

By that, I mean, are you incorporating it into your everyday life? Movies, books, activities etc etc? Not just a trip down memory lane for a day or two but a real rebirth of that spirit within.

Often there is a "looking down"upon certain things, even in the midst of the reawakening, that can lead to a dismissal of many important elements.

I've said before I think one of our greatest faults is that we tend to see "growing up" as a need to move away from childhood loves and pursuits.

I try to keep all aspects of that time close by. Even finding some that I never really connected with or that were a part of my world back then. Always looking to expand that world and that possibility.

So, let me recommend a book to you that creates a world and a story that I think every adult and kid should peer into.

"Journey" by Aaron Becker is one of the year's best books for any age in any genre.

The lack of words makes it a story anyone can read themselves into (even the main character is not given a name) and, if you want to know if you are in touch with that creative inner-child, pick up this book. . . if it resonates, you have the magic in there somewhere.

Erin Stead, a former Caldecott medal winner said:

"We live in a time with a lot of flash and beep and tweets. Mr. Becker has made a beautiful reminder that there are times we need to turn it off. Sometimes we need a book, some quiet, and our imagination. It’s so well done."

The only downside of the book is that in all reviews it is listed as appropriate for ages 4-8. That, I consider to be. selling it far short.  I picked it up at at our local library along with Maurice Sendak's last publication, "My Brother's Book" which needs no review or testimonial . . . because it's Maurice Sendak for goodness sake! Isn't that all you need to know? : )

But Journey is a book I intend to buy and keep near at all times.

One can't lose the way with that sort of guide. . .

As for the rest of my world. . . 

Busy holiday sales were a bit intimidating. And, of course, in the midst of the busiest times I find myself coming up with new ideas for the coming year.  So, instead of worrying about the dwindling shop stock, I am working on all new themes, creatures and little worlds to ring in the new year.

I hope the season, the solstice and the magic of it all surrounds you every day. . .

Until the next,