I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.

Good designs sell – mine sell out!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

"Voice"


I got more snow last night.  I can't say how much I miss hearing the sounds of birds' voices, especially the mourning doves cooing me awake every morning.  It seemed like a good day to paint feathers.

I could've been a writer instead of an artist.  I loved words and books first, but in 4th grade I wrote a poem.  The teacher made me stand up in class and read it out loud.  I thought I'd die from heart failure.  The paper shook so much when I was reading it that I could barely read it.

It wasn't the usual 4th grader's poem.  I spoke of my love for the river as if it were a real person whom I loved and who loved me back.  The poem was romantic and passionate in ways that 10-year-olds aren't supposed to feel or express.  I talked about the animals and the spring flood and everything else that was part of my intensely personal relationship.

The class was silent when I finished.  I figured that whatever chances I had of appearing "normal" were finished, when a popular, attractive boy clapped.  The rest of the class joined in.  I went from despair to surprise to gratitude, and I took that applause in and felt my heart expand and myself begin to change.  That boy will never know how much he changed my life.  He's in my permanent gratitude column.

You'd think this would've set me on the path of authorship, but there's more to the story.  The poem won a state prize and I was forced to rewrite it for the national competition.  My teacher, dad, and a sister took turns editing it despite my screams of creative pain.  I refused to write anything again that would open me to that kind of pain again.

I used to keep a diary, but another sister, mom, and a boyfriend all violated that sacred space.  I quit writing even to myself.

Many years later I told someone about another painful moment in my life.  He suggested that I write about it, and to take special attention to capturing every detail of it that I could remember.  I told him that I don't write, he pushed, I told him about the diary, and he pointed out that I was living alone and nobody could violate my thoughts on paper.

So I journaled about the poem.  It turned into 12 dense pages of painful memories, but the journaling made me start writing again.  At first it was just for myself, but now I put my thoughts and feelings on this blog and let everyone see it.  The process is freeing.  All of those words that I had bottled up inside come bubbling out.

I appreciate all of my blog buddies the same way I appreciate that nice boy in 4th grade. I see him once in a very long while.  I'm pretty sure he's long forgotten this moment in time, but he has a kindness that I hope has been rewarded.  He helped me find my voice.

A child confided to me about her shy anxieties.  I remembered the poem and told her that I think most people on your side.  Most people want you to do well, and sometimes they let you know.  Don't let the bullies change who you are.  Remember the nice people because they want to know what you have to share with the world.

11 comments:

  1. I got snow last night as well. And today, thanks to you, I got a bunch of inner sunshine. Thanks Linda.

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  2. Linda, I love your testimony. There are so many creative people who have been squelched in early life by either insensitive adults or adults, out of the goodness of their hearts, feel they are encouraging one by their overly assertive support. Your writings flow, easy to read and are enjoyable. Your story would touch other artists who are sensitive to their creative talents and being shy to express their thoughts on paper. Keep being creative

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  3. I'm so glad you write. This post makes me very happy.

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  4. Snow really does make the world silent Linda, I hope spring arrives soon. I'm so glad you found your written voice as I love reading your posts....keep talking ;0) x

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  5. Thanks everybody! If I can spread a little sunshine, then I've done at least one thing right today! Thanks for your blogs too. You keep me inspired and motivated :)

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  6. It is an achievement when you can write and make illustrations at the same time. It took me some time to do both. Somehow it was either a brush or an ink pen for me. You are not only doing both but also talented to combine them.

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  7. I was really unpopular in school. And teased a lot. So when I received an award for my art once, I was shocked when all of my classmates applauded me. It meant a lot. I guess they respected me after all. Isn't is wonderful when people surprise you? Now I'm facebook friends with most of my classmates, And they support me more than most. Go figure.

    P.S. I love your writing!

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  8. Maybe you weren't as unpopular as you thought Sharon? I found out a lot of years after the fact that some teasing is from jealousy and some is because people actually like you. All in my thoughts of "people are nuts". Good for you to reconnect with your classmates.

    Thanks Paula. I'm glad you draw and paint because the rest of us get to enjoy what you do.

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  9. Bravo for continuing on the creative path, Linda. I know from experience that being true to yourself can get quite rocky at times, and yet it is the most Soul-rewarding way to live. Your bravery here on your blog (and transparency about your life, thoughts and feelings) has reinforced my own blogging adventures, and I will be eternally grateful for that, and your thoughtful reader comments as well! Lovely, soft feathers…I really like the background addition. :-)

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  10. Your blogging inspired my blogging too Susan. I love it when you write things that make me think. And for anyone who hasn't looked yet, visit Susan's site to see her new shop.

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  11. I applause you! Great that you have been able to return to writing. I can see how the pressure and the violation of your creative spirit could turn you away from that first passion of yours. Even better that you have started over again. I surely appreciate your writing on this blog.

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