No matter her circumstances, no matter the artistic medium, all of us women possessing the gift of creativity will use it. A woman will find a way. When I was thirty, I’d had three of my five children, two girls and a boy, who seemed to want nothing more than my continuous presence. My husband encouraged me to involve myself in the community to assist his banking career. I wanted to write a novel, but that required a lot of solitude and no distraction. I was not in such a position with three little ones. I didn’t realize, then, that my family and my community were God-sent pieces of flint that would spark a different kind of creative expression through family and community service.
I played with, and read to, and loved entirely the three small souls God put in my care. I volunteered to read books at their school and pre-school, and to teach Art. I worked with them at home, inside and out. I could only imagine having time to write a novel. Instead, I decided to grow roses with the children’s help. My next-door neighbor, who had a lovely rose garden, said “You can’t grow roses and children at the same time.” Except we did. Our garden wasn’t nearly as sophisticated or proliferous as hers, but the children learned about the earth and the care that must go into living things if they are to flourish, or even survive. A woman will find a way.
For my husband, and for myself, too, I became involved in the community. As a Fine Arts graduate, with a concentration in painting, I found an outlet for my artistic ability as a member,and later a Board member, of the Junior Women’s Symphony Association. For their annual bazaar, I was put in charge of the wooden toy booth. In our basement at home, with jigsaws and paint and imagination, a few young women flocked to create unique toys, close friendships, and quite a bit of funding for the Symphony. For years, some of the toys and artwork we made were used at Children’s Hospital.
As a member of The Service Guild, I volunteered for our group project at the local Opportunity Center School for mentally challenged children of all races, mostly with Downs Syndrome. This was before the children were mainlined into the public schools. I was put in charge of the high school age boys. For the annual Christmas pageant, we were to do a presentation of the song, “The Candy Man.” It required quite a few practice sessions, and during a break in one of them, another volunteer began to play the piano. One of my boys, an especially sweet black child who rarely spoke but always smiled, edged over to her side, and then, amazingly, beautifully, and with such innocent faith, began to sing the piece she was playing– “How Great Thou Art.” There wasn’t a dry eye among us. The memory still lifts me when I’m feeling blue about something in my own life.
When it came time for our show, the boys were a special hit with the audience, with their handmade trays of candies and dressed in colorful vests we’d made together. They sang and danced their simple steps as if they were Hollywood stars. Talk about creativity!
The creativity I discovered in loving and caring for children let me know how blessed I was to be able to volunteer. I found in the very walls of service to my family and community more creativity and satisfaction than I could have imagined. A woman will find a way. In fact, she will harness a library of ways that fit her life.
Still, I was burning to write. A novel wasn’t possible, but maybe shorter pieces? In college, I’d had a play produced on campus, and a few poems published in the campus literary magazine. I decided to resume writing poetry because I thought I could fit it in.
Recently, I rummaged around for a few of those early poems. The box containing them literally fell on my head out of a stuffed storage closet. There weren’t very many poems, but I picked two from a yellowed piece of notebook paper, one scratched hurriedly in pen, the other, in pencil. Neither has a title, or deserves a medal, but both struck me as indicative of the frustration (1), and love (II), I felt in that time of my life. And that many of you may feel in your own life now.
Time controls me
I do not control time.
It suffocates me
Do this! Do that!
Only a few minutes left for even necessary tasks.
Stop, say the wise. Relax.
But stationary time is stagnant,
And when it comes up for remembering
There will be nothing to remember
No laurels. No accomplishments.
If only there were two separate roads to travel,
When one is divided, each part becomes weaker.
There is too much to be!
A tall man sits on the front porch
Of a wanton, white house
Commanding a cold, metal chair.
The small woman beside him sits in straw
Nursing new life within her.
She touches his hand
He touches hers.
Dreaming two separate dreams,
But the sum of their hands
The confines of home, family and community are actually springboards to creativity. Aspiration is sparked by the heart, is strengthened by trial, and finds its way into the concrete world through commitment. Women are birds of a feather. A woman is by nature creative. A woman will find a way.
Copyright 2013 Kaye Hinckley