whether or not Your lips move

You speak to me

I want my crayons back June 28, 2010

So lately I have had this indescribable desire to be creative. I am a creative person (all people are in some way or another) but there are certain things I am not so great at, like painting. But even in college I would get a coloring book and crayons now and then, especially around finals!

Recently with my Mosaic ladies we had a creativity workshop led by two lovely, beautiful, and insanely creative friends, Lisa and Trae. They pointed out how our Creator God empowered us with the ability to create. Trae read a quote out of a book that really hit me. Basically it said that whenever we get restless and bored with life, it may be our inner Kindergartener saying we want our crayons back. We want to be encouraged and empowered to create, like we were when we were kids. Why did we ever stop being taught to imagine?

It’s interesting. I used to love to write stories. Even from a very young age, Anne of Green Gables was a hero of mine for many reasons, but mainly because she wrote stories and was a teacher. When I was in elementary school, I would write these crazy tales about my hamster’s secret nightlife. After my family and I were in bed, she would go on adventures to the animal mall, and she had fabulous accessories she’d don before heading out. And of course the stories were illustrated.

I can’t tell you how many ‘books’ I wrote as a young teenager. Spiral notebooks were my constant companion. Admittedly, many of my tales were more like retellings of whatever Babysitters Club Super Special I’d read most recently, only cast with my friends and me and slight adjustments to the plot. But I still had a great time writing them. I never finished them, though.

Then came high school AP English. Four years of it. By the time I graduated my desire to write had all but disappeared. I would write poetry here and there, especially when I was depressed, but no more stories. No more hamster escapades. No more outrageous summer vacations for me and my friends. No more hours wiled away with daydreaming and imagining and pretending to be Anne Shirley. The creativity in that area had been sucked away. Wilted like a flower long neglected.

So. I’ve been rediscovering this passion for stories. I don’t know where it will take me. I guess I’ll let you know. I read so very little fiction (only about 3 or 4 writers). But more and more I have learned that fiction is almost truer than nonfiction, if that makes any sense. There are things you can say and do with a “fiction” story that communicate more truth than any “nonfiction” way of writing ever could.

I’m finding other creative outlets as well. It kills me that I don’t have enough time or energy to do musicals right now, but I will return to that stage. I’ve nurtured a growing interest in fashion design ever since Project Runway season 1 aired (and I’ve watched every episode since) and am hoping to learn how to thread my sewing machine soon. I’ve become my own (quite amateur) makeup artist over the years, and recently fell in love with the book Making Faces. I learned to decorate cakes when I was a manager at Cold Stone, and am getting to take a fondant class in a couple of weeks. I started scrapbooking at least a year ago (and true to form have not yet finished even one album).

I keep uncovering all these reminders of my fleeting attempts at different creative endeavors, and fight the temptation to get down on myself for not finishing or excelling at any of it. But my how fun it all has been.

I think I got a couple of my crayons back.


the time has come. February 6, 2010

Filed under: stories — Ashley @ 12:37 pm

The time has come. The time for stories.

Are they true stories? Yes. Although I wish some of them weren’t. You will probably wish they weren’t. But they are.

My story begins as a little sprout planted from the seeds of several other stories’ trunks and limbs. These stories are old, rough stories; some are twisted and some are hollow. Some are deep-rooted and weathered, dependable and sturdy. Most are somehow beautiful in their own ways. Others are better left alone in the deep, dark forest.

My story was planted in the soil of the desert. The desert I came to love. You might be surprised to find that anything can grow in a desert; truth is, some of the most durable plants grow in the desert. God knew I would have to be a resilient little tree, and thus counted me worthy of beginning in such a place.

I was quite the strong-willed little tender shoot. I challenged my parents constantly with my endless need for information, knowledge, and activity. I enjoyed directing others and being in charge. A “natural-born leader” and “possible prodigy” you could say. My loves became talking, teaching, and telling tales. So much potential.

Soon after another sprout joined our little grove, the storms came.

One storm came in the form of a teenage girl. I wish I knew what kind of forest her story came from. Whatever it was, it had whittled away at her humanity and conscience. She stole innocence from this seedling… crushed her at the very center.

Not long after, the hurricane came. The grove had seen it approaching for some time but could not weather it. The grove would be forever uprooted, never to be the same ever again. My story was ripped from the ground and transplanted. It would be years and years before I ever felt any sense of belonging or safety.

My story went through a couple of transplants in the early years. The new groves tended to me in the best ways possible. But there were younger plants that needed more attention, and so I often felt left to cultivate on my own. I often felt strange sensations I could not name. Over time I would come to learn they could be called loneliness, abandonment, and despair.

Yet another storm raged through the small, budding leaves of my story during this time. This predator would further ravage the already damaged stems of this small plant. Parts of the little tree were chopped to the root. But the little tree would not know the extent of the damage until much, much later. She would always remember but would hide them in the dark shade.

My young story had been thinned and dampened off. The small tree struggled for life itself every day, but most never knew. Little did I know, however… that the Master Gardener was coming to the rescue.

… to be continued …