It’s like ten thousand ideas when all you need is a nap.
I’m adding a new line to Alanis’ song, as equally as inaccurate as the rest.
Since entering motherhood, creativity has called my name, urging me, teasing me, even more than I ever remember. I believe as a mother, the very act of surrounding myself with little beings who create as their single vocation, all day long, with wild abandon, this influences my greatest and somewhat lost desire to tap into even a little bit of that freedom of expression I once had as a little one myself. And I know I’m not alone. The amount of incredible work written and crafted and shouted and whispered by mothers is inspiring. I should know. I just spent a precious nap time falling down the Instagram black hole of talented artists.
And while all this consuming of creativity is enriching, it does not give life in the way of words to pen or hands to brush or whatever the creative passion of the moment might be. At some point the consumption must turn to creation, but that is also the very point where the reality of mothering makes herself known. Because as soon as you find the motivation to put on your apron, literally or figuratively depending on your craft, that flutter of an idea calling for a home will flutter right passed you as soon as somebody wakes up from a nap, another asks you the 39,400 question of the day, or you remember you forgot to thaw the chicken for dinner. With the tap of the shoulder, the scream of your name, or the fleeting glance around this studio you call a home, the creative passion is squelched. Just like that, you are yanked back to responsibilities. It’s a constant start stop, start stop, start stop. 10 thousand ideas when maybe it would have been easier if you had just taken a nap.
I try to remember to repeat the words of Ira Glass over and over again.
So I write and rewrite. I plan and scheme and write again. I color and craft next to the littles or sneaking it in to the things I already have to do. I gather and sort and label all the supplies so I’m ready to practice all this great creative work. I work during nap time, in the wee hours of the morning and after bed time. I work while they play and I work when they are away. I log 3 hours stretches or 5 minute chunks here and there. I have tried. It. All.
But let's be honest, mostly I'm doing it all inside my head. I think about the amazing things others are doing. I think about what if maybe I tried that too. Then I remember to think about the things I once wanted to do. And I think about how I might try to do them.
Consuming and thinking is so much easier and safer and manageable in this crazy beautiful life I’m living than getting to work and practicing it all.
But if there is anything I can practice well it is permission and grace. Permission to consume the creative realm when I don’t have the energy or space or time to create. And grace to trust the process. Practicing the art is slow, and tiny, and sometimes feels superfluous. But it is still a practice. A little grace will help me appreciate that more.
So to practice both the consumption and the creation, I also need to share. I will allow the space to celebrate the consuming, because there are truly some lovely things in this world to admire. Consuming is not a bad thing. It can lead to paths of inspiration we never dreamed of. And consuming beauty is so much better for the soul than its counterpart.
But then I will also remember to practice at least one idea. I will find the time in my day, or my week, or when it's really tough, maybe that month, to just be free with creativity without the fear of a finished product. So at least one of those ten thousand ideas finds a home, and then I can take a nap.
Today I’m consuming…
I picked up a book Ladies Drawing Night from the library the other day and consumed it immediately. I first heard of it from Shutterbean and her crafting nights. This most recent craft night is so much gorgeous eye candy. The food, the drink, the crafting, the fellowship. Makes you think all the world's problems could be solved over cheese, gin and crayons.
l stumbled upon children's musical artist Emily Arrow a few days too late. Upon discovering her Instagram account, I learned she performed at our local book store just this past Saturday. I was heartbroken to miss her but declare myself an instant fan. With delight and whimsy, she takes beloved children's books, many of which we have read, and she turns them into music that even the kid-less fan would want on their playlists. One of her CDs, and maybe even paired with a book from the album (you know how I love book pairings!) would make a fantastic gift.
Finally, for my consuming transformed into creating, I turn to a great resource I've spoken of before at the Artful Parent. When I saw this heart collaborative artwork I knew this was exactly the amount of creativity I needed in my life. Caroline and I sat side by side, sharing the paper and watching it grow. And, wouldn't you know, my heart grew a whole bunch too. Creativity has a magical way of doing that to us, in a way that consuming art just can't quite capture. I'm going to remember that.
And I'm going to keep practicing.