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C is for … taking advantage of creative opportunity

If you follow our Monday Post comments, you know that I’ve been out of my daily writing groove. I’ve even had the itch to do some drawing, but recently have been making the choice to focus on editorial client work. The work is coming out my ears and as my husband lost his job last week, it’s hard for me to not fill every waking moment with billable hours. (Totally unsustainable and ill-advised, natch.)

But then Liam, my kindergartener, came home with an assignment — an assignment for me. His teacher is assembling an ABC book created by class parents. She needed a few parents to take an extra letter, so what the hell, I took two. First I signed up for N, because I immediately thought of “nest.” I love making nests, whether two- or three-dimensional. Then I went ahead and signed up for A, telling myself that I’d have to come up with something slightly less obvious than “apple.” I should also confess that I LOVE Liam’s teacher, and wanted to impress her didn’t want to embarrass myself with a sub-par effort.

N is for nestSo last night after dinner, I left my laptop in my office and got started. Liam supervised. I told myself not to get too carried away: “Don’t even think about looking at typography,” I told myself. “Just freehand it.” After thinking through my basic approach, I improvised.

Of course, I ended up completely immersed. It’s just so darned fun to play with colored pencils and paper for a couple of hours. Does it matter that my lettering looks totally amateur? Or that the colors on the A sheet don’t work that well? No. Doesn’t matter at all. I had a great time and Liam was pleased.

A is for autumnIn “N is for nest,” I really wanted the baby birds to look cute. Please tell me I succeeded! If I’d let myself have more time, I would have tucked the nest into a the crook of a tree branch, but it is what it is.

The photograph of “A is for autumn” didn’t come out that well (the colors are actually more red than pink), but you get the idea.

The moral of this story is: When a creative bone comes your way, grab it and run. Then get back to work.

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Honestly, I thought you did a fine job with ‘A is for Autumn’ — and yes, you DID succeed in making the birds look cute!

    Sorry to hear about Jon losing his job. I hope he lands on his feet, and sooner rather than later. Incidentally I know what you mean about wanting to fill up every waking moment with billable hours, because I’ve been in the same boat ever since Cathy had her surgery in December. Consequently, I’ve been out of my writing groove pretty much ever since. Thankfully, I’m still taking the time to sing and play guitar.

    September 18, 2013
    • So good that you’re making time for music, Andy. I’m starting to think that some of my physical issues are more connected to my neglected creative practice than I’d like to admit….

      September 18, 2013
  2. I love that you took the time to do this Miranda! Glad to hear you went with it and didn’t get caught on the perfection wheel. Perfectly imperfect!! I didn’t even think about the letters one way or another either. Just think it’s great!! Good for you for making some time for yourself and bonus that it was for your kiddo too!! 😉

    September 18, 2013
    • Thank you so much, Alisha! We gotta get it where we can, right?

      September 18, 2013
  3. i think these are beautiful and as a kindy teacher i would love to do this project with my parents )

    September 18, 2013
    • Thank you so much, ksbeth! I think it was a great assignment too. We were explicitly instructed NOT to use anything computer generated — perhaps a tough project for someone who thinks he or she “can’t” draw — but maybe eye-opening, too. We were also told that our kindergarteners should be able to see us working on the pages; modeling was clearly part of the teacher’s agenda! 🙂

      September 18, 2013
  4. I love this!!! It reminds me on a deep level why being a mom and an artist is a gift. I think as an artist I get stuck on being the best painter I can be and in those moments I lose the free-flowing-fun naturedness that is creativity. Having a child brings us to our roots ever reminding us where we came from and why we do it. Thanks for this message. Oh and the baby birds are adorable 🙂

    September 18, 2013
    • So well said, Betsy — it’s difficult to set aside perfectionist tendencies. Having a limited time frame was actually helpful; I knew I couldn’t afford to fuss over these pages for days. (I’m so glad you like my little birdies! My husband says they look like little Twitter birds, lol…..)

      September 18, 2013
  5. These are beautiful! I think you’re an amazing artist, writer, and all-around creative person! I look forward to yours posts and your blog has inspired me to try to find creativity in all sorts of ways, even within the mundane.

    I also think that sometimes we sell ourselves short by qualifying and apologizing for our creations! Please, let us help each other not to do that.

    If I knew you, I would bring you a cup of hot tea (or your preferred favorite beverage) and give you a standing ovation!

    At the same time, though, thanks for acknowledging what you’re feeling and thinking.


    A big fan (also known as Kary)

    September 18, 2013
    • What a kind and supportive comment, Kary! And I would so love to share a cup of tea with you 🙂 I’m really just a hack artist, but I do have big plans in the writing department. In the meantime, we gotta keep it real, even on the days when it seems like we’re hobbling along more than soaring, right?

      September 18, 2013
  6. I love this! The birds are super cute! Recently, I had to help my son make a time line for history class, and although originally I intended to just help, I got so carried away that I wound up doing the whole thing myself. You’re right, we should definitely allow our creative bone to take over more often. It keeps that inner child alive.

    September 19, 2013
    • lol — that made me laugh, Ana. Thanks for the comment! 😀

      September 19, 2013
  7. This was a perfect example of a small window of opportunity, often overlooked, that concluded with large impact and is still reverberating around! It’s thankfulness in action! Cute birds!

    September 20, 2013

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