A is for Art

I’m doing the A to Z Challenge again this year.  My plan was to have a theme but that hasn’t worked out yet.  One may develop as the month goes on. 🙂 

I think that a lot more people are drawn (ha!) to art than we realize, and maybe even more than they realize.

I can remember when I was a kid, I used to draw these endless pictures of two hills with a sun rising between them, and a blue sky and clouds with a perfect arc of a rainbow. I included a river sometimes and little tufts of grass, sometimes there would be trees. Occasionally there would be seagulls (really just v-shapes in the sky). It wasn’t a good drawing per se, but there was something satisfying about drawing it. I knew what it was going to come out like, I liked using the art supplies, and it was fun. I would never have called it art, of course, and it wasn’t even particularly creative, but it made me happy to do it.

At that point in my life (and for a long time after), I didn’t know that you could learn to draw, that you could learn art techniques. I thought that you had to start with *some* talent and that you could improve on what you had, but if you didn’t have any natural skill then you might as well choose something else.*  So after a while, when no natural talent appeared, I just stopped playing with crayons and I stopped drawing the hills and rainbows.

But I still felt that pull, I still WISHED I could draw. And I did, sometimes. I drew things for my kids, or for birthday cards for my family, that sort of thing, but I never really did any actual practice because, after all, I wasn’t an artist. (I’m moving away from that position but I’ll write about that another day, this post is about that pull to create.)

I think that there are a lot of people in that position though. A lot of people who can’t name what the feeling is but they feel pulled towards creativity – they flail on dance floors, they spraypaint graffiti, they doodle on walls, they make weird comments (online or in real life)**. They may not have an appropriate channel for their creativity, but they feel that need to put their stamp on things, to say that they were here, that their ideas matter.

They may not recognize that art is what they need, they may not understand that art is available to them for that purpose, and for those that do ‘get it’ they might not think that they have ‘permission’ to create art, but they do.

Part of my work as a creative life coach is giving people permission to do the creative things in their hearts. I just wish that I could let them know that they had the power to choose it all along.



*I believed this about a lot of things, not just art.

**No, I don’t think that every shitty internet comment comes from a thwarted artist, but I think that some do.


Fiction: Trouble

This is part of a story that I am working on.  It’s only the second draft so there is still a lot of work to be done but I have to get some distance from it in order to see how to fix it, so I am tossing it into the ether to see what to do next. 🙂


Somehow, after all this time, she wasn’t sure that he was going to be waiting there when she climbed the stairs.

It was ridiculous in a way, there was no way for him to leave without coming down where she was, but still somehow she was never sure that he would be there.

Of course, there were many ways to leave without actually moving your body to a different place… it was possible to check out without moving at all.

She had had men like that before.  They looked at her blankly when she complained, unable to understand why she was annoyed.  They were right there with her, weren’t they?

Even though he had been there in all senses of the words ever since she had taken him home with her, she still didn’t trust it.


She still didn’t believe in always.


She was too much trouble for always. Sooner or later he would realize it, too, and then he would just take off.  She knew it.


She knew just how it would happen. She would think everything was fine but then he would grab his things, his clothes, his feelings, and pull them all away.


She tried to pick fights with him sometimes, just to try to have control of the time that he gave up on her. She hadn’t made it happen yet, no matter how ridiculous she acted but she wasn’t convinced that meant he was here to stay. She stayed braced for his exit, for him to back away.  She just always expected there to be trouble.

Because she was trouble.


That’s what they had always said about her: she caused a lot of trouble. She made everything more difficult. She wasn’t worth the hassle.


It was only a matter of time until he figured that out.

Trying to be the sage

As frustrations grow around me, I am working on being the sage from this Hafiz poem. I hope to have to duck my head soon.

For the prisoners

For the prisoners

The small man
Builds cages for everyone
He knows.
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the
– Hafiz

For my own amusement

I have often been accused of being ‘too serious’ and that may be the case when I am really trying to focus on something or when we are talking about a topic I am really passionate about.*

That, however, doesn’t stop me from laughing at myself on the regular.

For example, when I spend a chunk of one morning trying to create an image for the phrase ‘You don’t need a cape to be a superhero.’ I ended up with this and I immediately shared it on Instagram.


As soon as I posted it, I realized that the cape looked like bacon. I have sent myself into fits of laughter about that at least 5 times since.

*And I way-over-the-top hate being misunderstood, so if you are teasing me about something and I feel like it is based on me not communicating effectively, it is going to be a challenge for me to let go and recognize that you are just giving me crap.

Roberta Bondar and Steel Nails

On January 22, 1992, astronaut Roberta Bondar became the first Canadian woman to go into space! Source: https://www.facebook.com/LibraryArchives/

On January 22, 1992, astronaut Roberta Bondar became the first Canadian woman to go into space!
Source: https://www.facebook.com/LibraryArchives/

Today is the 25th Anniversary of the day that Dr. Roberta Bondar became the first Canadian woman in space and when that information appeared in my Facebook feed this morning, it made me think of a story about her.

I was a session leader at an International Guide Camp in Guelph in the summer of 1993. Dr. Bondar held some honorary role with the camp, so, one night, she came to speak to us all.

I didn’t even really know who she was, aside from the fact that she was an astronaut. I was 21 years old, a bit caught up in my own personal quests and  while I was definitely all about equality, I’m not even sure if I described myself as a feminist at that point. So, while I thought it was cool that she had been in space, I don’t think I fully understood the obstacles she would have faced to get there.

Her speech was fantastic and left me feeling stirred and empowered, that much I know, but I don’t remember the specifics.

In fact the only detail I remember is that earlier in the week the local newspaper had published a ‘political’ cartoon featuring an image of the camp. One of the tents had a speech balloon over it with the phrase ‘Oooh! I broke a nail.’

We had been all furious of course. Seeing that stereotype, having our efforts diminished. Sure, we knew it had been intended as a joke, but every girl there knew about that type of joke – one that wasn’t intended to include us, one that wasn’t laughing with us, but one that was mocking our efforts, one that was intended to remind us of our place. We had felt those jokes before and we knew we were in for a lifetime of them.

Dr. Bondar got us all riled up on our own potential, our own power, and then she told us that she had seen the cartoon and that she was writing a letter to the paper. She said she was going to tell them that…

‘The only nails broken at this camp are made of steel, baby!’

My heart still thrills thinking of that moment.

Here was a powerful woman, an astronaut, a doctor and she wasn’t telling us we were being silly for being upset. She wasn’t telling us that we were overreacting. She was telling us that we were right, they were wrong and that she had our backs.

It resonates with me to this day and it’s one of the (many) reasons I make sure to tell young women that I see when they are being slighted and that I have their backs. I’m no Roberta Bondar, obviously, but I do what I can.

Thank you Dr. Bondar

, from my 21-year-old-self.

And, even more so, from my 44-year-old-self.