April 12, 2005

good questions

pink_ranunculus.jpg
pink rununculus, Canon Digital Rebel

A most intriguing question was posed to me recently. I am part of a women's artist group called No Limits and we get together twice a month to talk about our creative lives. {No Limits is a national network of support groups empowering women artists to fully succeed in their creative work and careers.}

We were all asked to answer the following question and speak about it at length: "Recall a time when you were a kid and you were joyously engaged in some creative project. You were blissfully absorbed and had no regard for the outcome or who would see it."

So much came rushing back to me.. Those little toy mice with the costumes {Cleopatra, a scuba diver, Superman} that I would paint sets for, place them in the scene, and then photograph them. The numerous dance routines I choreographed in my bedroom to the Flashdance soundtrack, the hours of teaching friends said dance routines when they came over, fashion photo shoots in my bathroom with the hairdryer blowing their hair in that sexy, tousled, magazine way.

Then there was the singing. I loved to sing, and I must have have been pretty good at the time because a great teacher named Bob Reid who used to come to our school and play his guitar and teach us folk tunes {oh, how I adored him} asked me to be on an album he was making of kid's music. I jumped at the chance. It was one of the biggest thrills of my life to be in the recording studio, 10-year old legs dangling on a stool, holding headphones to my ears and singing into a microphone. I remember feeling elated, tireless, and as cool as the Brady Bunch kids. {Believe it or not, you can still buy this album called Abracadab on his website}

I've always believed that what you did as a kid tells you everything about what your spirit wants to do as an adult. I saw an old photograph once of the brilliant photographer Alfred Stieglitz when he was about 3 years old. He has a photograph wrapped around his neck attached to a piece of string. The caption read that he saw the photo and became obsessed with it, wanted to have it close to his heart all the time.

What I realized in answering this question is that my kid life was a lot about music and dance, and I haven't made that a big part of my adult life. Not being a dance club kind of girl, I had forgotten about dance, but that was about to change. I immediately signed up for a dance class called Nia {a blend of yoga, martial arts and global dance forms} and fell in love with it. I feel happier. It's like I was missing one important vitamin and my body wasn't running well without it. Or a spice that made the soup finally come together in the most delicious way. I feel a new self emerging.

I encourage you all to answer the same question: What did you love to do as a kid? Recall a time when you were joyously creating.

Posted on April 12, 2005 07:32 AM
Comments

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Posted by: Mark at April 18, 2005 02:20 PM

Hi. I loved the memories your question conjured up. I too was obsessed with a photograph. It was in an old book on photography and was of a bowl of cherries. They were this deep, dark, saturated red and I remember it so vividly. If I could have torn that picture out and hung it round my neck I probably would have!I remember paying with beads and buttons and collecting stones. Today my obsession with colour remains. And so does my love for cherry red.

Posted by: Lee at April 17, 2005 09:41 AM

Hi,
I used to take my tape recorder and make up fake interviews with the reponses comming from my record player.

I bought a little suction cup device that you could attach to your phone and record phone conversations.

I'd call people and do interviews and surverys.

I'd spend hours editing all that audio right onto a cassette tape.

Now I'm using Final Cut Pro to edit video!
--Steve

Posted by: Steve Garfield at April 15, 2005 11:12 AM

Bob,

So great to hear from you!
and I'm glad you found this little mention of you
and your work on my site. As you know, my experience
singing with you impacted me deeply and richly. You may not know that you have impacted thou*sands of kids this way...
but now you can imagine.
:)

I like the distinction you made between choosing kids not for their singing style so much as being who they are when they sang... beautifully said.
and I think there's something so innocent and wonderful in that, because it gets harder and harder to be who you are as you grow up, you know?

so wonderful to hear from you, and where can I listen to the show on the radio
tomorrow morning?

a

Posted by: andrea at April 15, 2005 09:44 AM

Andrea,
I am so happy to hear about what the experience in the recording studio was for you.

I want you to know that the kids that I had record with me were never ask to participate, not because they sang so well, though you did, but because when they sang they were being who they are. So many people try to be someone else when they sing.
You were dependable and capable and I knew that you would come through in whatever situation we were perfoming.

Tomorrow morning I am taking some kids to sing on the radio, just lke we used to do! Your memories will help me savor the experience.

Snap, Crackle, & Pop forever!

Posted by: Bob Reid at April 15, 2005 08:11 AM

Art projects were my life and many many days were spent in this kind of thrilled absorbtion.

What you reminded me of, though, was that in graduate school, two friends (a couple) and I drove to New Orleans. We became obsessed with beads and tried to figure out a way to incorporate mardi gras beads into our lives. Our friend had a cheap picture frame with them glued on so, on our way out of town, we stopped at the bead store (cheating, but we were in a rush) and Woolworths' for frames.

I went over to their apartment for dinner and wine and we started gluing. We drank and glued and drank and painted and glued more beads. Suddenly, it was four in the morning.

Imagine, we thought, if we enjoyed writing our dissertations that much! (But we didn't &, alas, that's not what dissertations are for.)

Your blog is a great gift.

Posted by: Anne at April 13, 2005 06:33 PM

For me it was singing, making up plays & performing, choregraphing to Joan Jett (eek), puppet shows complete with cardboard puppet "theatres," writing "novels," baking, reading like a fiend, and for some reason - make a house out of shoebox for my recently created PAPERCLIP family. I still d o all that stuff - well, not the dancing to Joan Jett or writing novels, or creating puppet shows. Oh, not the paperclip family either. But I make films! And Bake! and.... I gotta tap into my inner artist again....SOON.

Posted by: carrster at April 13, 2005 09:03 AM

Yes, going to the kid core is always a good thing. I've been working with mine for a couple of years now...most helpful. Dance was a big part of my younger life, too. And when I was 25, I took a year to study it full-time two days a week at a junior college. It didn't matter that by that time, my slothfulness in not pursuing it earlier meant that I'd never find myself in a Bob Fosse production...it only mattered that it made me feel good when I did it. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself. As for your singing, you did belt it out at Glide, no? Let that little 10-year-old keep singing...I'll bet she's got beautiful music in store for you.

Posted by: Marilyn at April 13, 2005 04:34 AM

Hm, I used to make little paper d ogs with paper uteruses (!) inside, and you could take out the uterus (it was just a folded square really) and inside there were little puppies. I liked making things out of paper. I also read a lot. It always made me lose track of time. I study literature now and I write poetry, so I guess you're right about those important things!
I used to play horse with my friends all the time, too. I have no horses in my life now, but I miss them, and I still go "look! a pony!" when we drive by a field with horses in it :)

Posted by: Anja at April 13, 2005 04:11 AM

I can not remeber.I'm really thinking hard about it, and I can not remember anything what i did as a kid except fight.

I used to love a good fist-fight.

Other than that I can not remember anything I liked as a kid. I still like a good Boxercise sessions now thought.

Posted by: Maria at April 13, 2005 03:24 AM

Gosh! I used to write and direct musicals with all the other children. I was crazy for puppets and checked out every available book at the library and made as many types as I could. I painted and believed I was going to grow up to be a children's author - because i loved to read so much. I wonder if Nia is something I can find here? I'll have to look around. You're wonderful. Thank you for sharing with us. Love, Georgy

Posted by: Georgy at April 12, 2005 07:53 PM

i love the idea of NIA, who knew? it was all about puppets for me. cutting up socks, usually my mom's nice wool ones, and making monsters and mice.

Posted by: mati at April 12, 2005 05:05 PM

As always, your post sets me on a quest. You really have a way with words!

Posted by: Witzy at April 12, 2005 04:48 PM

I love NIA too! I hope sometime you take a class with France-Laude, she's a regional trainer and she's amazing!! It's so good to be reminded of how your body can move...

Posted by: rachel at April 12, 2005 04:00 PM

Great post!! I really got to thinking. :)

Posted by: Julia at April 12, 2005 03:52 PM

My sisters and I used to fight over which of the Mandrell sister's we wanted to be. I wanted my own variey hour just like them or Marie Osmund. We also memorized all the words to a country album by David Fizzell and Shelly West. We performed the entire album one summer night for my dad, step-mother and grandparents. We set up all our Care Bears to be backup and we even charged admission. And, my Barbie's had the most romantic, dramtic lives ever. I created all kinds of soap operas for them to live through (complete with changing hair styles and rotating wardrobes.)

Posted by: Michelle at April 12, 2005 11:52 AM

i loved to dance and sing- i was such a camera whore. we have home videos of me pushing my sister (who is now an amazing musical theatre student) out of the way so i could be front and center singing loudly or telling some completely nonsensical sotry ....

:-) i also liked to cut my sister's hair...

xoxoxo
eMiLy

Posted by: Emily at April 12, 2005 10:29 AM

andrea, have you thought about working as a life coach? i'm working w/one now as i try to finish my thesis and it's been SO helpful . . . and i also think you have a real talent for it. nerissa's siite is here: http://www.lifecomposition.com

she trained w/martha beck, who offers northstar certification.

Posted by: jacqui, again at April 12, 2005 09:28 AM

I LOVED playing dress-up and acting out scenes with my friends. We'd get all gussied up and run out into the woods and create and act out all kinds of elaborate stories...this translated into my auditioning for a play in 6th grade and then acting in almost every play that came my way throughout my life. Theatre helped me survive high school. I was always amazed at how time wizzed by while I was on stage. It still amazes me how important acting is to me and how much I absolutely love it, because I have tendencies to be shy and timid but put me on the stage and I feel more alive there than in any other part of my life. I have also let this fall to the wayside but I will audition SOON!!!

Posted by: Piper at April 12, 2005 09:27 AM

Ballet, ballet and more ballet! With some singing thrown in.

This has lately turned into karate, and composing music for my mum's church's prayer group...

Posted by: Molly at April 12, 2005 09:01 AM