She grabs the Red Expo marker from the tray below the white marker board, making tiny flecks, one then another. Then she picks up the green. Then the light blue. The middle school girl creative isn’t talking with friends, like the other students finishing up one of my seminars. She stands in the back of the room making a picture, starting from the center moving out.
“Cool piece of art,” I say, walking over, hoping not to scare her off.
“This?” she says, “Just messing around.”
But then she smiles and marks faster, switching colors with more energy. Another girl steps away from the larger group and picks up a blue marker, standing to the girl’s left. Then another picks up the purple and stands to her right, all of them mark and mark, following the pattern until it takes up a big part of the board. They don’t talk and all smile.
I recently read a letter about this type of creativity by 84-year-old author Kurt Vonnegut, in response to a teacher, Mrs. Lockwood, and six of her students who had written him. You can click over and read it here.
That letter reminds me.
What if we make something today? Nothing fancy or really for anyone else, but just because it makes us smile.
What if we create because it’s a gift we want to open, a way to live thanks that feels an awful lot like playing. When was it that we forgot how fun it can be to make:
- a heart in your peanut butter sandwich
- a meal
- a bed with a stuffed animal on the pillow
- a coloring-book page
- a little poem
- a painting
- a quilt
- a mess
- a clean room
- a conversation
- something with a hammer and nails
- a piece of art on a marker board 🙂
- a hug that holds on
So, whatever little (or big) thing you make today, just make it and, in the spirit of Julia Child, don’t apologize for it. Catch the creative energy and simply say thanks for any way you’re enlivened by it, for any way you catch yourself smiling. So, what is it that you’re going to make?