Sunday, August 29, 2010

Creative Adventuring & Taking Credit - Katherine Toms

I am not the first to start things off with a confession, but here goes: I am a dabbler. I have come to realize that I often enjoy learning how to do new things even more than I enjoy doing those things once I learn how. This has led to a long string of hobbies, or to put it a bit differently, a long string of doing lots of things half-assed. I am like the small child who swears she wants to play violin, take up basketball, or learn to dance, and ends up with a closet full of unused instruments, gear and accessories. The parents of these children often get frustrated that their child can't stick with one particular interest, and that they see such little return on their investments in the right equipment. I see it differently - I think the fact that my inner child has so many passions is something to celebrate. I am more than happy to follow them wherever they may lead, and make occasional modest investments in pursuing them even if the only "payoff" is the fun of trying something new. And hey, someone else can use my supplies when I'm done with them. I was not always this forgiving of creative adventuring. I was not always this in touch with the simple joys of doing what feels right. There was a time when I would wag my finger at that inner child and ask things like: "Are you going to stick with it?" "If I buy you these things will you practice every day?" And because we are our own worst critics, I would ask things of myself you would never ask a child with a budding interest in anything: "Are you going to be good enough at this to make it worth trying?" "What if you fail miserably?" "Don't you know there are probably millions of people in the world who are better at this than you?" "What's the point if you're going to do it half-assed?!" Someone recommended the book The Artist's Way to me at a point in my life when it was exactly what I needed. I have since recommended it to friends, and I will recommend it to you. Yes, you. You may not consider yourself to be an artist, or even a creative person - read it anyway. You may think your life is just fine and doesn't need anything that even resembles a 12-step program - read it anyway. You may be an atheist and find talk about spirituality unnerving - keep an open mind and read it anyway. You may think a book that promises to change your life is clearly trying to scam you - take it out at the library for free and read it anyway. It may appear to be a book about discovering your inner artist, but it is really a course in self-nurturing. We are so often and so easily cruel to ourselves, especially when it comes to creativity. We tend to silence or drown out the inner voice that tells us what we need, especially if what we need requires great change, but learning to hear and honor that voice is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Something that has come up for me recently is the fact that so many people, women especially, are afraid to acknowledge and own their talents. We call our pursuits "hobbies" because we don't believe we are artists. We call ourselves "bloggers" because we don't believe we are writers. Where is our confidence? Where is MY confidence? The reality is, in most cases, nobody else is going crown you an artist. Some great artists are undiscovered; some great writers are unpublished. Somewhere out there a very talented performer is saying "I use a trapeze" instead of "I am a trapeze artist." There is no visible line you cross one day to enter the territory of artist-ism - you have to make that decision yourself. I still struggle with this. When I signed up to write this guest post I had no idea what I would say, or if I'd even have anything to say. I know how to make jewelry and for the past year or so have sold some items at craft sales - how does this make me qualified to talk about life as a woman artist? I so easily forgot what I had learned from my inner artist child: "I AM TOO an artist!" (Am not.) "Am TOO!" (Am not.) "AM TOO, STAMPSIES!!" I am an artist. I am a writer. I am a poet, a drawer of pictures, a maker of pretty things. A knitter! A baker! A candle maker! A weaver of dreams, and the architect of a happy life. I nurture and cultivate beauty. I am my own Creator. And a dabbler. Hopefully an incurable one. ----------- Katherine found herself in Toronto and is having fun with it. You can read her blog here: She would like to thank Michelle for providing a safe and nurturing space for her fellow wavemakerz - keep rocking the boat!

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