Creative is a Verb

I am part of an incredible book club that meets monthly. I seriously love these ladies to bits. Right now we are doing a "Members Pick" series where each month one of us picks a book for us to read. It definitely pushes me out of my comfort zone in terms of what I read, aka I never pick any book that has a hint of sadness to it as I find it really hard to dissociate and things bother me for weeks. I think about them, dream about them, pray about them... 2 of our most recent 3 books dealt with the holocaust. I'm glad I read them, I'd actually like to talk about them here eventually but with January being my pick I was ready for something a little lighter.

After scouring the Amazon Kindle site for hours I found a book - not available on Kindle - sorry Book Club! It's called "Creative is a Verb: If you're alive you're creative" by Patti Digh. Intriguing right?

I'm really enjoying it so far. At the beginning the author asks you to equip yourselves with a stack of unlined index cards and a black pen. Then, after each chapter she gives a "Take 10 Challenge" that is a quick prompt for writing (one one side of the card) and then an image prompt (for the other side.)

I love that it is quick, accessible and makes me think.

I read one chapter last week that started with this quote:

And so our mothers and grandmothers have, 
more often than not anonymously handed on the creative spark, 
the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see -
or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read. - Alice Walker

Throughout the chapter she discussed the creative sparks that have been handed down to us by either parents or other influential people as well as how those people and we ourselves can often "tell stories" about our children or students that sometimes cast a shadow on their true creative selves.

It got me thinking about a lot of things. As I've grown I've had the eyes to see more and more that I come from a very creative family. Most of their outlets are quite different (embroidery, painting, rock work, carving, woodwork, landscaping, painting, sewing, etc) but they are all quite fearless in their creating. 

When I dream up a project that I think would be cool to do I rarely ever doubt that I can. Everyone in my life dreams and creates something from practically nothing all the time. I am blessed to have that kind of heritage. It challenges me to ponder how I can pass that on to my own children. How I can embrace their creating even if it doesn't look like mine. 

The girl one was painting as I took out my cards to work on this "Take 10" and then my son came to join us. I decided I would experiment and attempt to create as they created and see what I could learn.

My first lesson: Double dipping is O.K. 
My kids just dunk their loaded paint brush from one colour to the next. It was a little tough for me initially. Normally after their done with water colours I take a set a wipes and clean each palette so that you can tell its original colour again!

I don't ever want to squelch their story. Yes, at times I'll teach them techniques and there is a place for colouring in the lines (fine motor development I guess) but I really want them to have freedom to create in a way that they enjoy. Thankfully my kids are quite confident in themselves and if I try to push my "ways" on them they just say "No thanks."

Another lesson I learned is that they don't really care about the finished product, they just do what is fun and looks cool in the moment. It takes a lot for me to paint over what I've already painted. I have this idea that I need to save everything, that I can't go over it, even if I don't particularly like it. I pushed myself to keep painting over and over my same card and just enjoy the process. It was fun.

(the boy one's roads and race tracks)

(the girl one's cards. She took it to a new level by stacking and smearing her cards on one another - and of course painting herself... should I be worried tatoos are in her future?)

When we were done we had a table full of colourful index cards and I had learned much about myself and my kids.


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