I’ve been in a nostalgic mood this last week, thinking about my childhood, remembering little bits of life as a little kid in the 60’s to 70’s, reminiscing about the Barbie and other doll clothes I used to make all on my own, etc.
This evening, I was thinking about my very bestest friend during grade school, whom we’ll call L. I was the tallest kid in school and she was the shortest. We were always at opposite ends of any line arranged in order of height.
But we were steadfast friends, with shared talents in art, writing and storytelling. We loved scary stories. We loved the same music. We loved animals. We loved to create.
There wasn’t an internet available to us back then. We got ONE channel from Los Angeles clearly on our TV and several much more fuzzy channels. We didn’t schedule play dates; we just played! If I wasn’t having fun with L or my brothers or other friends or watching cartoons or reading books or drawing or whatever … there was always something else I could do or make up doing.
L and I spent a lot of time roaming our little town with its little shops. Oh, how we loved Ben Franklin’s, filled with every imaginable thing! Magazines to makeup to postcards with jackalopes on them to candy to socks to toys to yarn to embroidery floss … the list goes on and on.
I was always fascinated by yarn and floss (still am!). The colors. The texture. The possibilities! I learned to embroider at a very early age and loved it. I wanted to learn to knit – and kinda learned. That casting on thing always got me. 🙂
I think about today’s kids now. Scheduling play time. Sports practice and matches seem to begin younger and younger. The TV is always on, with a gazillion channels. They plug into their computers at school, and replug in at home. Playtime = videogames. Meals are picked up on the way home, rather than cooked from scratch. Clothes and toys are purchased from the big stores. A former employee of mine was blown away to learn that butter is made from cream, which is from cows, and you can make it yourself (she thought it something manmade, like margarine, and had no idea cream came from cows).
And, of course, I know this isn’t true for everyone. But it’s a whole lot of true all around me where I live and work.
I don’t think we’re going to suddenly “fix” everything by changing this. I do think that as a species, humans are in the midst of evolving – we’re living right smack dab in the middle of it. We are becoming our future – the same future I used to marvel at as a kid on TV, watching Star Trek.
What does this have to do with my bestest friend, L, and my childhood?
I’m pretty confident in knowing where my creativity comes from: not only from deep within, but also from an incredible childhood filled with creating and making (fun, things, games, you name it).
I can tap into any one of thousands of memories from my life for inspiration. The fragrance of mock orange blossoms. A meadowlark’s song at twilight. The sharp resin of sage and bee brush in the high mountain desert. Soft, early morning coastal fog. My grandmother’s laugh. My grandfather’s drawl. Twinkling Christmas tree lights. My father’s voice as he told yet another far too scary story to his three terrified kids (who loved every minute of it).
My friend L was an incredible artist. We spent our childhoods drawing and painting together, creating stories as we did so, sharing ideas and supporting one another along the way. Our families supported creativity and supported our individual creative talents.
I think that as humanity continues to shift and change, our creativity will also do so. We’ve already seen incredible creativity involving technology, and will see so much more than we can even fathom.
There will always be the odd ducks who want to do those nutty things like make their own butter, knit, sew, throw pottery, paint, etc. I don’t see the artisanal arts going away at all.
But I do wonder. 50 years from now. 100. 500. What will creativity look like? Feel like? Result in?
And how will the children of those future ages be different from those of today?
These are just my musings – a little break from an incredibly busy week. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject!