Often people tell me that being creative and exploring their own ideas and art is such a selfish act, and with all the demands on them from the other people in their life, they don’t feel that they can simply cast those aside and do something just for them.
The crucial part we’re overlooking here is that being creative ISN’T just for you. It’s merely the starting point, the centre of the earthquake, the eye of the tornado.
I wanted to relay three different stories in the coming weeks that illustrate how important it is you create, not just for yourself, but for those around you, and for the community across the world. Here’s the first story, of David and Elisabeth.
A woman now in her mid thirties, Elisabeth had always loved drawing since a very young age. She would rarely be seen without her sketch pad and pencils as a child and drew to capture the world around her in the way other people take photographs.
As Elisabeth went through school, her sketching was not encouraged so much. Her parents wanted her to get a “good sensible career”, not pursue something as “frivolous and futureless” as being an artist.
So for the last 15 years, Elisabeth had barely touched a sketch pad.
David didn’t know Elisabeth. But he was about to have a profound effect on her life in a way he couldn’t imagine.
David had also loved drawing as a child. And his parents had been very encouraging, and had supported his passion, helping him go through art college and pursue a rewarding career in graphic design.
As a sideline, David produced portrait sketches of people in the main park of the City where he lived, not for the extra money, but simply because he loved the challenge and enjoyment he got from drawing different people.
Now Elisabeth had moved to the same city a little under a year ago, a move that came with a promotion in her “good sensible career”.
And, most evenings, she would walk back home through the park and pass David sketching.
Each time she passed, she wanted to stop and look, find out more about him, and the portrait sketches he produced. A part of her yearned desperately to do the same at the mere sight of a pencil and sketchpad.
One time, it was particularly quiet in the park as Elisabeth walked by. David called out hello, and she stopped, momentarily, smiled and then hurried on, shy and embarrassed.
The following evening, she didn’t just walk past. She actually went over to speak to David.
They began talking and before she knew it, she was telling him about her long buried love of drawing that had been barely acknowledged in over a decade and a half.
A few days later, Elisabeth bought a new sketch pad and set of pencils. She felt more excited, more alive, than in longer than she could remember.
As she first put pencil to paper, the soft swooshing rhythmic sound was like a Hallelujah chorus in her heart.
A few months later, Elisabeth had rediscovered her passion for drawing so fully that she began to publicly sketch too, like David, in the park across the other side of the city. She had never felt happier, more free.
A few months after that, an older man stopped to talk to her. He told her with his world weary demeanour how he hadn’t picked up a pencil in nearly a quarter of a century.
Elisabeth immediately handed him a couple of hers, and a new sketch pad she had. She told him they were his, a gift from one artist to another, and, if he wanted to, go home and start sketching.
The older man took the pad and pencils, trembling. And he did take them home. That evening, he turned over the cover of the sketch pad to the first crisp new white page, and, with the care and delicacy of a surgeon, made the first mark on the page.
Inside him, the sound of soft swooshing rhythm of the pencil on the page was like a Hallelujah chorus in his heart…
The names, the genders and the locations of this story aren’t important. The point is this could have happened in your city, my city, or any other city. You could be David or Elisabeth.
Either way, once you commit to creating, once you step up to the page, or canvas or screen or microphone, once you make that regular commitment to show up and create, you have no idea what powerful forces of inspiration you set in motion.
It’s not selfish to create, because when you do, you enable others to in ways you may never even know about.
It’s only ok to create, it’s your duty to create, your obligation. So stop reading, pick up your creative tools, and, well, you know the rest.
Read story two of this series on The Unstoppable Power Of Creative Inspiration now – Grady and Miss Hampton
And the third in the series is here – Kelly and Coach A
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