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The Creative Process Brings Joy.

It is fun to watch Nick working on Art projects.  Some of them are more difficult than he can accomplish without assistance.  With other projects he is completely independent, but regardless of the amount of help he needs, when the project is finished, he feels empowered.  “I did it.  I do Arts and Crafts.”  You can see the joy on his face.

This past week we were at a restaurant that hands out crayons and a worksheet for kids to work on while waiting for the food.  It is a brilliant idea, and Nick always wants to participate.  Sometimes, I would like to participate in the coloring worksheet too, especially when it seems to be taking forever for the food to come.

The lesson for me has been that Nick’s projects are not “perfect.” He colors outside the lines, the colors are not always what matches the color of the item in real life.  When we were children, we knew our projects were wonderful.  We were all blossoming young artists.  If you doubt this, look at what happens when a pre-school age child is showing an art project to their parents.  They are so proud of what they created.

Then for many of us, somewhere along our artist path, self-judgement enters in and wrecks havoc.  Instead of feeling the natural joy that happens in the creative process, we begin to worry that the project won’t be accepted by others.  We think that it is not good enough.  And then the joy is diminished.   When the joy is diminished we begin to avoid participating in the creative process.  We might even begin to believe that we are not creative.

This was me.  Even though things I was doing were extremely creative, I had convinced myself a lie.  I told myself and others that I wasn’t creative.  I avoided social situations and events that would put me in a position to try and be creative.  It was very stressful for me.

I have many grandchildren.  I have the intention to foster their creativity and we have supplies in our house to help them play.  I was encouraging and supporting them, but not participating.  This was working very well for me for about 10 years.   Then one afternoon, my granddaughter age 5 was using the watercolors to paint.  I was sitting with her talking to her.  It was very fun and comfortable for me.

Suddenly she put her paint brush down and looked into my eyes and said, “Granny, I don’t want to paint anymore unless you paint with me.”  I stopped breathing.  I didn’t feel the same pressure I had felt from others over the years.  She wasn’t trying to guilt me or judge me, she was feeling joy in her creative process and wanted to experience that together.  I knew she loved me, I was safe.

“Ok.” I said.  She handed me a piece of paper and paint brush.  It was wonderful and fun.  I broke through my block.  My painting will never hang in a museum, but it is hanging on the wall in my home.  It marks a watershed moment for me.  I embraced my creativity that had laid dormant for many decades.  The joy has cascaded into many other aspects of my life.

Think about what would happen if you moved through a creative block you have.  I can tell you it is wonderful.

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Announcing that I have finished a book with the working title of “The Fairy Fort.” I am currently pitching it to publishers. Keep checking back to watch the progress of my newest novel.

Here is a quick glimpse of the story.

Sarah Doherty is an 18-year-old living in rural Ireland at the tail end of the Great War. Plagued by severe epilepsy, she is protected by her parents and lives a sheltered, secluded, lonely life. The Fae, local Irish fairies, interfere with her life. She falls forward a century in time through the local fairy fort of standing stones. She had a seizure in 1918 and woke up in 2020. The 21st century world includes life-saving prescriptions, physical comforts and the independence and freedom she seeks. The locals are welcoming and Andy Mclaughlin, a handsome young historian, is intriguing. She doesn’t want to return home.

Then a letter arrives from Boston divulging the story of Sarah and Andy’s lives that are deeply entwined in the previous century. They are not yet in love but as they seek to verify the letter through online resources, they feel a growing obligation to their unborn family and to each other. What would happen to their posterity living in Boston if they don’t return to 1918? Even if they do make it back, her parents can never know what happened to her or that would change everything.

This Young Adult time-travel romance explores the question: Do we have the freedom to make choices or is free will an elaborate illusion?

This is my third book. I love reading time travel romances. I am an advocate for epilepsy awareness because my 43-year-old son has intractable epilepsy. As a genealogist specializing in Irish research, I live part of the year in the village where the story is based. I wrote the book to help young adults understand that difficult situations can change your life. Sometimes miraculously.

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