Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's Not a Pumpkin, It's a Horse? That's a Great Horse!

It began as one of those embarrassingly obvious dreams where later you can't help but wonder when your subconscious started calling it in. I go through phases of remembering my dreams, but it's been a long while since I *had* remembered one upon waking*, so it was a bit of a disappointment for the dream to be all, "Hey, check it out, you're frustrated. And this is going to be boring AND frustrating." Well, thanks. How very illuminating. That also makes for a nice weekend wake up.

*except for one last week, which was also obvious. But rocked. So, subconscious: it's ok to be straightforward sometimes. No elevators needed.

The second part of the dream I think was a carry over of frustration, though it didn't really seem to fit for me as much. I was walking into an instrument shop, except all of the instruments were made out of clay, with a nice shiny glaze on top. The proprietor was perched on a stool near the entrance and he pounced on me as I had just become his only would-be customer. "So what kind of instruments do YOU play??"

"Oh, no, I don't play an instrument. I'm not really musical~~" [Which is true to life. I love love love music and always have it on, but have never really excelled with playing anything and singing, I can't carry a tune.] My dream self, internally: Here we go. I glanced around the shop, but no, there still weren't any other customers.

"Ohhhhh, no!! Now EVERYONE is musical, you just haven't tried the right instrument!!" He beamed smugly and foisted the clay box hybrid instrument at me that he had been making assorted folky noises with. I tried to sidestep this larger instrument. I picked up a smaller whistle-accordian clay combination and blew into that. Nothing came out but a blousy breath. I tried blowing with assorted holes covered; nothing. The whole time, I was highly irritated with this guy and the situation.

Waking up, I thought about how this is really no different than my firmly held belief that EVERYONE is creative**, and how annoyed various people I have run across must have been when I tossed this their way. And yet~~ I'm saying some creativity somewhere (I'm not saying you're suddenly going to be Michelangelo, if only you had faith~~) and this guy was insisting on innate musical ability, which seems unfair to corner it into this one discipline.

I don't know readers, was the dream guy a tool, or are we both tools? Or must it be the second option, since he came out of my brain?

And maybe, for me, this is merely my brain trying to work out how to broaden that generalized faith in potential from certain areas of my life (pretty comfortable with printmaking, at the level I'm at~~) to other areas of life...

** Along these lines, while talent falls within a spectrum and genius levels of talent-from-the-get-go are rare, I think that when art and creativity tend to be minimized or seen as frivolous at home, growing up, it's only natural that most individuals would be less likely to play around with these things extensively. I remember one rainy day afternoon with my first childhood friend who lived a block and a half away; my Mom had set us up with total kid crafts: we were either covering glass windex bottles or Aunt Jemima bottles with tiny scraps of masking tape that we then rubbed all over with blue shoe polish OR covering the bottles with different scraps of colored tissue paper that we had run through watery ELmers. You know: ugly vases! Along the lines of ugly ashtrays that I made in some early elementary grade***! But still, it occupied us. We smoothed the bits and bit our lips and hunched our upper bodies closer to them, in concentration. We waited for them to dry. At the end of the afternoon, Mom started to pack up friend's vase.

[***A shellacked shallow shell with tiny smooth pebbles affixed all along the outer edge. Ash away!]

"Oh no, Mrs. X. My Mom won't want that in the house~~"

"What! Of course she will!"

"No, she'll think it's silly. She'll just throw it out." Her delivery was firm. I didn't get it at all. Nor did my Mom, really. How must this feeling have shaped the afternoon, or any of her time in art class over the years? Maybe she was ok with it. I remember drawing with her during afternoons, she was very fond of princesses, girls with very carefully feathered hair, girl-boy teenagers walking together with their hands in each other's back jeans pockets. But here maybe we have arrived at the old nature vs. nurture impasse... I guess what I suspect is that often this kind of background lurks behind someone saying, "Oh, *I'm* not creative, Noooo." It could also be lifelong indifference/heightened abilities elsewhere.

And to bring it full circle, I suppose some of those well-meaning folk who don't believe me when I try to explain my dearth of navigational capabilities could also be saying to one a other, "Geez, did her parents just raise her in a box? You've got to actively teach children direction..." So, so, so.

Maybe the other direction I'm leading in would include the fact that lots of parents embrace the ugly vase, fawn over the addled papermache man who has a left foot as big as the man's head and a menacing golf club; and put countless scrawled drawings on the fridge that nod at elephants and firefighting squirrels and godawful amounts of smiling flowers. And this encouragement is the gateway to further creativity and eventual discipline, which yoked to spark begets something meaningful. And this is something we need to continue with ourselves, when we're first faced with own initial attempts at whatever new task or discipline faces us. Possibly projecting, but perhaps many of us need to cultivate a certain grace and gentleness that is more easily directed at others... In any case, here's to a better night if dreams and a good week for Everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment