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February 12, 2014: Drive and Initiative

The other day I wrote about some of my friends, all of whom have artistic drive. I didn’t speculate where they got it from because I do not know. I suspect that if I interviewed Fran, Jacqueline, Nancy, and Chris that I’d then be able to cite similarities and make generalizations.

I can’t speak for them, but I can speak for myself. Not a day goes by in which I don’t have some kind of creative insight. The hard part is bringing these insights into fruition. Not many do. It’s a numbers game. There aren’t enough hours in the day to act upon them all. Or, maybe there are enough hours. However, a certain number of hours a day must be spent on mundane matters, such as making sure one’s socks match or the shirt is on right side in.

My creative drive has both been learned and inherited. My mother didn’t teach me what most mothers teach their

daughters—like to get a full length mirror and take a close look at yourself before leaving the house; or like to put a bathmat next to the shower, and put the shower curtain inside the tub before showering; or like to put a small amount of cooking oil in the pan before frying something – because it will spread out; or like wearing a pair of white pants makes you look fat while wearing a black pair of pants makes you look slim.

No matter. I’ve gotten by in life. If knowing these kinds of things enables one to do better than get by, well, I have no regrets.

The deal is (and I recognize this) both my mother and I are very right brained individuals, and right brained individuals have the propensity to create.

At the same time, artistic training reaffirms this. My mother studied art at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. There, the importance of being artistically disciplined was drilled into her. The art world works in the same way the science world does. There are certain precepts you follow whether or not you want to.

I took writing classes in college, and it was there I learned the importance of being artistically disciplined. At the same time, my mother was, in this respect, a model to me. It wasn’t ever eat your peas, but rather, write about eating your peas.

My mother might have made a name for herself as an artist, but life intervened. She instead had to take a job teaching, and at the same time raise two daughters. Consequently, there was little time left to sit and reflect on things, much less draw.

In her later years, my mother took up photography – she began taking landscape snapshots. And it was not long after that that she began making calendars. She’s now 84 and still producing them. Drives my sister nuts because my mother has a hard time with the more technical aspects of production.

It’s not the quality of the work that’s impressive; rather, what’s impressive is the fact that she has the drive to do this. Most at 84 call it good. But she takes photos all year long, with the intention of putting together a complete work later on.

Yep, this woman and I do have something in common. I’m also usually working on something, be it writing or drawing related. I do take pictures, but like my mother, I have a hard time with the more technical aspects of photography. Tonight, at a meeting, I got to thinking about the phrase “if you want to swing on a star” and then began doodling. Now, if I had the time (and I do not), I could do something with this. As is, it will stay as is. But I might very well do a cartoon in which Star Person meets Antennae Man.

Next: 45. 2/14/14: Hurry Up and Wait Plus Postscript