I finished reading Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids on New Year’s Day, 2011. I was so inspired by her stories of youthful artistry and creativity that I ran out that very day and bought a brand new set of colored pencils. I found an old artist’s sketchbook in the basement and spent part of that day drawing and coloring the leaf you see above; it was going to symbolize the new artistic path I wanted to carve out for myself in the new year.
I fancied myself filling up an artist’s sketchbook once a month or so. I had always loved to draw and paint, but I never took the time to do it. I considered buying a beret for about five minutes, and then thought better of it. I wrote out a sort of a New Year’s resolution/challenge for myself and copied it out around the edges of the leaf: Take the time to harvest your talents.
Well, this was all well and good until I woke up a few days later and realized that: a) I had zero ideas for new drawings; and 2) I had to go back to work because winter break was over. A single leaf fell from a tree that never took root, and my three-day stint as a bohemian came to an end.
I often think of the Pablo Picasso quote, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up.” I’ve struggled with that most of my adult life.
But there are many ways to be an artist. And in the five years that my sketchbook has continued to gather dust back on the basement shelf, I have made some artistic growth in other areas.
Three years ago, I picked up an old pair of drumsticks from my high school days, bought a used drum set, and joined three close friends in starting a glorified garage band. We play shows three or four times a year and it provides for me a creative outlet I was never even aware that I needed. And six days ago I became a blogger, with a goal of writing every day for a month and continuing the blog beyond that. Something tells me I’ll turn over a new leaf and make these resolutions really last.