As a lover of words, I have tried to be faithful. I have made a sincere effort. Time after time though, I find myself growing weary of the same old rut and longing for more. The grass is always greener, they say, but what if you’re sick of grass and you just want to sit down with a knife and fork and tear into a steak dinner?
Enter: The Creative Affair
To be clear, I am 200% against unfaithfulness, adultery, and polygamy, especially the marriage kind. But when it comes to my writing, well, that’s a different sort of union. When we quarrel, I need to turn elsewhere for comfort.
Writing is not the only thing I will ever need to love, just as I am not the only person the writing demon (or angel, or spirit of any variety) must possess. Reading is only half a step away from writing because I’m still entertaining that spirit. I need something more.
I’m not talking about a one-night-stand-up comedy routine at a hotel ballroom. And Disney World is fun, but it’s just a summer fling. I need another solid relationship I can be sure of. I need something that’s going to be there consistently. I need an art on the side.
Remember the days when writing was all you needed? When you never got bored with it because the ideas were fresh and new and had room in your mind and soul to breathe? If you think you remember that, you can forget it. Writing was never the only thing you needed. And if you still think it was, realize that just as your child has necessitated adjustments in every other relationship in your life, your relationship with words must also grow and change. Don’t worry though. Just as room appeared in your heart for that little person, your creativity will expand as necessary for this too.
So what’s it going to be?
I enjoy photography. Some benefits are that it gets me out of my same-old-same-old environment and lets me go places, like the lake or the park, where Em can have fun too. On outings where your kid has to be the primary focus, you can still be on the lookout for creative opportunities to snap a shot or two, especially candids of the little one. To make this easier, I often opt for my smaller point-and-shoot over my DSLR because it interferes less with life between pictures, making the outing more fun and less frustrating (and involves less financial risk).
BC (Before Child), I enjoyed singing, playing the guitar, and occasionally picking up Chris’ violin. It’s hard to fit guitar time into my daily schedule without Em wanting to play too. And my violin playing would probably make her cry. But what I can do is put music on in the house during the day while I’m doing other things. Em enjoys it, so sometimes we’ll dance and sing along. It doesn’t matter if I can carry a tune or if I know all the words; she doesn’t care.
If you don’t always feel artistic but enjoy making something pretty, get yourself a book of mandalas and share the kiddo’s colored pencils for some fun-time you can both enjoy. It sounds silly, but my bet is you’ll find yourself coloring one when the kid’s not around. Mandalas are great for meditation and look so beautiful when they’re finished.
Maybe you like to keep a flower bed or vegetable garden looking nice. Maybe you enjoy cooking or baking. Drawing is a fairly portable fun thing. So is needlework if you’re of a meticulous mind. Glass etching is a fun naptime or evening project. Painting might be a bit too involved for the narrower time slots in your day, but if you can carve out the time periodically, it’s a great art form. There’s also woodworking, fixing up an old car, mowing the lawn.
The possibilities are not necessarily endless (after all, you still have someone pulling on your pantleg the whole time you’re stirring the cake batter), but there are enough that you can find something you enjoy and that will fit your lifestyle.
Once you’ve gotten the writing frustration out of your system, you can pull the project back into your life again. After all, no matter what else you are (butcher, baker, candlestick maker, whatever else), you’re a writer.
For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live.
PS – Have a look at my page Fun Favorite Links for more on where to get mandala books. I’ll be adding more info on glass etching, photography, and some other things over time.