Today’s post is from another of our Writers’ Group, Gracey Patterson. Gracey is our youngest member, and has talent galore. We can’t wait to see what she’ll write next!
“Why You Need to Create”
“The greatest agony is bearing an untold story inside of you.” -Maya Angelou
The crushing weight on your heart when you cannot create, my friends I do not know how to tell you how much it hurts. It is there in the morning when the sunlight streams into the window, when you see the dust particles trapped in rays of light and your mind comes alight with the need, the twisting sensation in your gut to paint it. But when your feet hit the floor, and the little voice switches on and tells you you will never be able to paint it like that, you don’t. And the moment is lost.
You head down to the kitchen to fix yourself a cup of tea and find that outside it is raining, hard drops are coming down, giving you the feeling that your house is a cacoon, a snuggly blanket. Your pajamas brush against your skin and the tea is warm in your hand. Yet you have a longing in your heart for your husband who is away with work. And this moment–this perfect moment of melancholy, of comfort, but of longing. Of a moment tipping on just perfect, but not all the way. Of a flash of two opposite feelings like a double edged sword, the flip sides of a coin. And the words are already forming in your mind. But when you bend down to write about it, they flutter away into the fading clouds outside the window. And that creative spark leaves your fingers grasping for words that are not there anymore. So you shut your laptop and forget.
Your kids are sleeping in one bed, all three of them tangled in a heap of arms and legs, their snores reverberating around the room. Sticky hands, nails coloured with purple crayon–hints of yesterdays events. The lingering smell of sweat, from nightmares. But the soft feeling of comforters. The way it shapes a nest around your children, as if the bed is holding them in a gentle giant’s fist. You get the image in your head, stark and clear as day, as bright as sunlight in a mirror. You go as far as getting out your clay, to sculpt this beautiful moment, but when you look again, your children are awake and the moment fades away. The clay drops into hard lumps on the table and you wash your hands of the dust.
On the way to school you look back in the mirror at your babies, smiling when your song comes on the radio. It’s the one your husband first asked you to dance to. The one played at your wedding. The one you sang to closed eye-lids, of sleeping babies, rocking in a chair and humming to the moon. You open your mouth and hum along with the tune. “Mommy sing!” they shout. And you do. They sing along, their voices bending at uneven parts, splitting notes in half, but you don’t notice because you sound better than a gospel choir. You drop the kids off at school, with the radio still turned up. The last chords of the song come on, the build to the bridge–your favourite part. You sing loudly, and then feel the silence in the car, the glares of strangers and quiet down until the magic of the music fades away. You sound terrible, you think. And stop singing.
That night you have hooded-eyes, tired from a long day. You sit in bed and try to remember the good things this morning, but none come to mind. You have forgotten the dust particles, the melancholy feeling, your children sleeping, silly songs in the car. You held these moments in your heads for seconds, and yet when you thought of creating them into the physical world those seconds were infinite. But you shook your head and let those seconds slide away, to land on a pile of forgotten but great ideas.
At night you dream all these things and more. You are spiritual. You are creative. You are a soul. Part of the moon. Of the sea. Flowers in someone’s hair. And when you awake the day gives you these moments again, different shades, but still the same feeling, and yet you do not grasp them. What if you did? If only in years to come, after your parting from this earth, your daughters could hold these moments from your mind in their hands. In the shape of a clay sculpture, the pages of a novel, the lull of a song, the beauty of a painting or picture. But you have not “clapped the net over the butterfly of the moment.” You have not seized the day.
These moments are everywhere, in the reflection on a coffee shop window of the homeless man across the street. In the grimace of a young girl in the hallway of a high school. In the limp of the old man in the line at Tim Hortons. In the fold of a woman’s dress. In the crease of a man’s tie. In the lilt of the laughter of your child. In the sparkle of your mother’s eye. These pieces, threaded together are what the universe is built on. Is what humanity is made of.
What a gift you have. What a gift you are. Create my moon child, my summer breeze, my lipsticked stained coffee mug. Open the blinds at night and howl to the moon. See the moments and collect them like stamps. You think you are alive, but you have no idea what you are missing.