This cartoon is the story of my life: endless ideas, carousel-like focus. These six tools became my best friends, each one taking a turn comforting me, challenging me, defying me, and assisting me in my exploration of the woman I was to become. They are each worth their weight in solid gold.
Roots of Creativity
Both of my parents were fairly decent writers, my mom also a multi-media artist and my dad a woodworker. I was taught by example that creativity is natural, even important, but it will never pay the rent so “First Things First.” Dad had a high-stress job that killed him at 61 years of age. Mom had three kids and a case of semi-managed depression. Their creative outlets saved them, their marriage, and probably us kids too.
Like many young girls, my expressive efforts began with a diary, a small white, leather-bound volume with strap and lock and key. The key was easily replaced by a bent paperclip, which I suspect most brothers-of-girls learned quickly. This humble diary turned from friend to lifeline on September 10, 1967. That sunny Sunday morning, Dad died unexpectedly and five days later I was driven from New York to Massachusetts to a boarding school I had been scheduled to attend. I suppose Mom was numb, so she proceeded with Plan A. It took me years to forgive her, I confess.
The gift though, so visible in hindsight, is that writing and I are very old friends. I can feel my pulse slow, my exhalation deepen, just by putting a pen in my hand, even when I have nothing to say. We just sit together and wait in silence. That’s what old friends do.