Friday, January 9, 2009

12 Secrets - week 1

Chocolate - that's what I need to begin, right?? Isn't Chocolate a KEY ingredient for creativity? Ahhh :)

OK, here we go, exploring our sense of our own Creativity, for the 12 Secrets book group!
I was lucky to be the only child of older parents, my dad creative in music, my mom with colour, home making, cooking, story telling, praise.
A fav. author, Kim Stafford, son of Oregon's Poet Laureate William Stafford, talks about sitting around the dinner table, sharing ideas, & his dad reframing (after praising the idea) 'Abe Lincon said it this way: . . . Walt Whitman expressed that idea thusly: . . . ' always affirming the idea had merit, then restating it with elegance.

I grew up playing piano & singing with my dad, crafting with my mom. She crocheted & knit, an aunt commented that with her colour sense, she could have done very nice graphic art, if she'd been so inclined. This was in the 50s & 60s, when moms stayed home; but my mom was from pioneer stock, & KNEW strong women! She'd gone to secretarial school in the 30s, on disability money (polio at 9) & saved the family farm. Her grandma birthed babies, her mama grew herbs. She reminded me that at Grange (a fraternal farm Organization) women could hold any office but one, which was 3 more than men could hold! - the 3 graces had to be women!)

I recall dying rice & making mosaics, carving lino blocks, cutting out paper dolls & snowflakes, making candles, learning to crochet & knit; & learning to knit again, & again!! Hearing stories, both from books & from my mom's childhood. 4-H sewing, choosing pretty fabric, & eventually making my own patterns. Paint by number sets, & then using the left over paint for my own pictures. Taking art in HS, with a gal teacher, who enjoyed art & enjoyed encouraging her students! I learned to do watercolour & enjoy washes, rather than just painting with them like the oils.

Playing, drawing, reading, taking piano lessons (from the best local teacher, a woman who'd gone to NY to study voice, Marion Coe); going to community concerts, going to musicals, being in musicals in High School, having a crush on an older boy, so joining the Church Choir (after an obligatory year in Jr Hi choir), & then on my HS choir teacher, so working HARD to learn to accompany our 'Girls Choir.'
& writing - I loved horse stories (lived across from a dairy that also had ponies, & learned to ride from my neighbor, who'd been a jockey (the woman! Another strong female role model :) So I wrote horse stories. & copied poems, had a black book of poetry, written by hand. & jourals - I've journaled since I was about 12, have loads of journals. Usually just words, with an occasional drawing - am working at creating an ART JOURNAL!

I took Creative Writing in HS, & again in college. After leaving my marriage, dated a HS teacher for awhile, & he taught 'imaginative writing,' which I asked if I could sign up for! He, my HS room mate, one teen & I were easily the best writers in the class! Last year at my 40th HS reunion, we toured the old HS, & while I could remember teachers & classes, I looked at the rooms, wondering how the other students could recall which was which!

By my Sr. year, I accompanied friends at 'solo ensemble' (voice & violin), was one of two classroom accompaniests & played for one song in a choir concert. I did better at my piano recital than ever, & was 'musician' for Grange, as well as Pomona, one of the 'graces.' My & I did duets in church & Grange at least seasonally, & I was in Church choirs for a few more years.
My mom's family often 'read' plays, & she was in a few (usually the 'old grandma' so she wouldn't have to move much with the crutches), so when I was in plays, she'd help me rehearse.

One grade school teacher made an unkind comment about my singing (which used to sting, now I can hardly recall the remark!); I was disappointed when my dad & I weren't invited to be part of the 'dad & daughter' performance when I was in HS choir, . . . but I sang with him at Church & Grange, & adapted his 'I can' attitude. & I was very sad I didn't get to dance in the May Day celebration in 5th grade - I got sick.

Movement came harder - with my mom on crutches, I hiked with my dad, & we camped under the stars (& sang - I loved it when he sang us to sleep!) & did day hikes. But I hate, hate, hated PE!! I was abysmal at 'ball sports' with the jockish women & mean men PE teachers. & I almost drown river swimming with a gal friend; tho my mom had taught my cousins to swim at the pond at the family farm! So no swimming, & grace?? & did I mention my rotten posture?!

In College I took one gymnastic class, & enjoyed that (was fairly good, too :) & volleyball, oh, & archery! I thought I'd enjoy archery more than I did, lol. I was a Music Minor, with a great background in Theory (thanks to Mrs Coe!), tho didn't really enjoy getting up for an 8 AM class 4 days a week! I tried for swimming, but got sick partway through the term, so didn't learn yet again! (I'd failed beginning swimming a couple of times before the near drowning - how does a child FAIL beginning swimming??)

I took Life Drawing, & was in the first 'Fine Arts' class - brainstorm of an artist I've recently re-met - graphic art, music & drama! We drove to Ashland (5 hours) to see a few plays, & got to play with abstract art (early 70s) I'm one of those kids who didn't stop drawing at 12 - just kept on, & felt good about my skills with that.

When my kids were little, I kept up with crafts & drawing, often having a sketch pad along when we went to coffee or Kinko's with friends. I made dolls, I journaled, sewed clothes, made ornaments. My mother-in law is a Renaissance woman, & also crafty. We learned to spin, we knit things (I'd finally learned how!) we embroidered, crocheted, drew, did watercolours. She is a Biologist, & loved pastels - has some very realistic paintings she's done over the years.
My biologist former hubby & I went 'bog-stomping' with our entomologist friends, looking for small iridescent beetles that live in the moss just under the surface; 'stomp' on the moss, & they float to the top. I took along the watercolours & some paper, & painted the scenery as we drove, painted the hills around the bog.

My grandma Mary made rose beads (mom's mom) & in HS I found an article on that craft in one of my girl's magazines. My first attempt looked like raisins!! The author hadn't mentioned grinding the paste! So I experimented with the recipe, & finally made smooth beads! Later, in an herb class, the instructor suggested keeping culinary herbs relatively whole, & grinding them before use (larger quantity) in a coffee mill. Aha!! I tried that with 'crispy dry' rose petals, & viola! Lovely rose petal 'powder' to reconstitute for a lovely, smooth bead!
She also made 'switches' of women's hair, & my mom taught me how to do that, & we made a few. My hair & my mom's from her teen years were the same colour ! I gardened & kept a garden journal (that had drawings! & garden designs)

30 years ago, my niece was in The Nutcracker, & we were invited 'up' (~ 30 miles from where we lived) to watch her. I was enchanted! All those ballerina paper dolls, & 'Francis,' my tall ballerina doll - I'd always wanted to take ballet, but our small central Oregon town didn't boast a dance studio. & our Grange didn't hold Square Dances, so I'd only danced around the living room with my dad to Lawrence Welch!
I tagged along when my sis-in law went to her adult ballet class a week later, & the teacher 'talked me into' taking class, too; even though I wasn't dressed for it! (probably in jeans :)

I love love loved ballet!! & it was an hour's drive. I surprised myself, as I thought of myself as 'hating exercise' (I really hated "PE"!!) I tried taking ballet back 'home,' a much larger town, but no 'World Class teacher!' (Lynn studied Russian ballet with Branaslava Najinska, Nijinsky's sister; & taught Peggy Flemming some of the grace when her own daughter was figure skating in Ca) . . . .
So I began commuting for ballet classes, & we eventually moved here. It took me several years to really feel confident & competent, but I loved ballet, & my posture improved as I took class. My hubby, son & daughter all began taking class, too, tho my son didn't stick with it long, the rest of us danced off & on for years. At 33, I went 'on pointe,' didn't do a lot of that! - but COULD! :) & after moving to Breitenbush, I came down for a 3 week summer workshop with the head teacher from the Bolshoi ballet! 2 classes a day with him, & a class or two with Lynn - by the end of that time I was IN SHAPE!
I'd begun taking Tai Chi after ~ 5 years of ballet, & so taught that in the community. & have studied Qigong & a Cherokee movement form as well.

My daughter was a dance minor in the same college my aunt, great aunt & I had attended, in a great dance program. She took modern, jazz, belly dance as well as ballet, & I've branched out as well.
Last night, she went to ballet with her 8 yr old dau (who was just in her first Nutcracker - Lynn's 25 yr old daughter Emma has taken over teaching) while I went to Ecstatic dance with the almost 4 year old!

So I've always thought of myself as musical & 'artsy craftsy,' with dance & the harp later additions. I've been lucky to feel creative all my life, though I have expressed it in different ways, & to have my creativity enhance my health & vice versa. Reading some of the others stories, I feel truly blessed!


creativehealinggoddess said...

This is great such creative support Dia, It reads like a novel....

traveler one said...

My goodness! There's no way on earth that you couldn't have turned out to be a highly creative woman!!!

Sacred Suzie said...

You have such a creative and crafty family! How wonderful.

Kavindra said...

Good lord woman! I got a little tired just reading this lol!

I'm going to try and think of you and this post when I am feeling creatively lazy (my secret worst sin) and get off my butt and "Dia-fy"

Genie Sea said...

What a prolifically artistic family! What a beautifully inspiring legacy pass on from one generation to the next! Thank you Dia for sharing your story and sharing your creative and supportive and magnificent self with us :)

Lisa said...

Wow!Just wow!

1,000 Faces of MotherHenna said...

What a beautiful life of creativity and inspiration! Dia, thank you so much for sharing your herstory and letting us get to know more of you :)
Lots of miracles to you!

BB said...

Thanks for sharing the potted history of your creative, crafty history, Dia :-)

Here's to creativity and balance over the next 12 weeks, and to finding what you need,

Bright Blessings, BB x

Her Speak said...

What an amazing creative journey! How blessed you are to have such a wide array of talents. I can't wait to see what your art journal looks like! :)

Merry Making!
Much Joy, Many Blissings~*

Lisa PN said...

I really love that you acknowledge those before you. I work with personal stories, and so many people don't know much about their families. It seems that you know their stories and are the one to share them!


peppylady said...

Wow we have something in common. I'm only child of older parents to.
But I have to confess that I real didn't like being an only child to me it was very lonely.

Sound like you have a lot creative talents too.
After reading about the bloggers who is involved with 12 secrets I'm so delightful all that talent out there.

Coffee is on.

Serena said...

WOW....I'm not surprised that you have turned out to be such a beautiful and creative soul with all that creativity around you growing up. What a blessing!