When I was young, in elementary and high school, I couldn’t imagine existing without being creative.
I wrote short stories and poems mostly and occasionally won contests and awards for them. When I was younger, my writing was fluffy and happy (think fairies and bunnies). In grade 5, I wrote a story about our dog being killed and after that most of my writing was a little darker. I won third place in a high school writing contest for a dark, angst-ridden short story about a boy and his dead brother. In the same contest, a poem I wrote about a ship wreck received honorable mention. Some of my best poetry came out of dark moments, in fact. The journals from my high school creative writing class are full of poems about battle fields, dying false messiahs, hangmen…and unrequited love. *sigh* Don’t you just love puberty?
I painted. I drew. All through school and even after graduation. Even my science projects incorporated artwork. I have a couple of pieces here with me and my folks have most of the rest. My art now is limited to the complex mood abstracts I draw during long meetings. (It keeps the part of my brain occupied that wants to fall asleep.)
I played guitar–passably; my biggest problem is that I can’t seem to play and sing at the same time and I can’t not sing when I play, so playing could only progress so far. I also have short fingers, which aren’t as suited for playing a musical instrument as they are perhaps for bricklaying. And I played the tenor recorder in a recorder ensemble when I was in junior high. We travelled to other schools in our area and even took road trips out of province. (I love road trips. I hate travelling on my own but I love road trips.) It’s not a “cool” instrument but the tenor recorder is still far and away one of my favourite instruments. Sadly, I gave my instruments away when I was purging my life to move ten years ago so I would have to replace them if I ever wanted to take up music again.
My sister and I used to stage plays we wrote (sometimes with really back musical numbers) for our family, complete with tickets and door prizes that we bought with our allowances. I even took theatre arts with my brother in high school — I had some notion that perhaps I could overcome my stage fright enough to become an entertainer of some kind, like many teenagers (I had a fairly robust though not leading role in a junior high performance of Music Man but was so overcome with stagefright at just the thought of it that I bailed out–I’ve regretted it ever since). Together, my brother and I created some pretty awesome projects for class including a modern dance thing about the history of the world from the beginning of mankind, and a radio play about mutants escaping from a detention facility, told through news broadcasts. I’m a ham when I am not alone. Alone in front of people and I can’t think for the nerves. My voice raises half an octave and breaks when I’m nervous, making me sound like a pubescent teenage boy.
We (my class) had to write a short play in small groups for a creative writing project at one point in high school. My group wrote this really good play about a man in a coma in the hospital, whose wife and best friend were having an affair essentially in front of him. It was really good. The twist to this project is that your group then had about 15 minutes to read the script for another group’s play and act it out. The play we had to act out was really hokey but we acted it well, being three extreme hams, where the group acting out our play sucked. So, we won for our acting but not for our writing. One of the girls and I decided we were going to collaborate again on a play of some kind, and on a dance routine for the assembly, but we never managed to get our shit together on our own.
I took ballet for years, until puberty when it became apparent that I was never going to be ballerina-sized in either height or breast-size. Ah, yes, my dreams of having boobs came true in spades and some days I’d like to give them back.
I miss all of that. Gradually over the years, after the pathos of the breakup started to fade, I seem to have shut my creativity behind a wall. It tries to come out every now and then but I haven’t had the energy to sustain it. Hence the half-finished graphics, web designs, and other digital debris….and the half-assed attempts to write again. And age and misuse have begun to destroy the voice I once had. I’ve thought about what I might like to do to try to bring a little of what I was back. I thought about taking up guitar again or maybe finally learning piano, something I’ve always wanted to do. But really, I think what I’m going to do later on in 2007 is take voice lessons, to try to save what I can of what’s left of my voice. And I’m going to start writing again. God knows I have enough reference material to help me out there…I just need to apply ass to chair and fingers to keyboard to actually start doing it.