Ashley Wilda

Author

Tag: Creativity

30 Day Creatives Challenge

One day in February, I decided I was using my busy life as an excuse to stop creating.  To avoid something that is always so wonderful yet somehow so hard to make myself sit down and produce.  So I thought… hey, what about just doing something creative every day?  Just a few sentences, a picture, a piece of my head and heart.  So I went for it.  The project morphed into 31 entries over the course of two months and ended up becoming a kind of personal journal for processing my life.  It’s a monster of a post, an unwieldy ball of thrumming, electric, dangerous emotion-thing, but I’m gonna let it out into the world anyway.  Here it is… a month’s worth of creative (and sometimes not so creative) ramblings.  I hope you enjoy them, even as nonsensical as them are 🙂

THE 30 DAY CREATIVES CHALLENGE

2/23/16

Little Things

The warm, blazing orange of a jacket on a gray, windy day.  The sweet smell of clean forest air.  A friend’s vulnerable sniffle.  The unexpected squish of mud beneath my boots.  A cup of coffee’s bitter-sweet warmth.  The dizzying darkness of an adventuresome tunnel.  Rough smoothness of tree bark rasping across my skin.  That gift-walk that took me by surprise.  The softness of deep red wool socks.  That lightness, the lifting-up-at-the-corners giggle.  Innocent sass. The words “accepted” and “known,” given to me.  Assurance from the King.  Messy chocolate chip bagels.  The plip-plopping splash of rain returning to a puddle.  Little things.  Just bright, happy little things.

2/24/16

Seeping Color

Rainy day snaps.  Sometimes it’s better to be late to class than miss the beauty.  These photos don’t do these drizzle discoveries justice, only offer a glimpse.

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beaded rain on a coral jacket canvas

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oscillating rings traveling across muddy reflection

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the wet sponginess of tree bark – green, brown, grey, and white

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the unstoppable sun flaring shine through proud window cross

2/26/16

Response to Momentum

White dresses, spin skirts.  Visible light shafts, hazy shadow border.  Why can I feel what I didn’t know I did, why can I feel what I cannot express.  Why can dance put my un-words to movement?  Clasp-unclasp, hold, tuck close.  Never separate, never apart.

2/27/16

For-Ever

A touch, a turn, a holding over, around.  Smoothing and rubbing, hold me close comforting.  Protect, protect, stay under my wing–I’ll die before release.  Guide, lean, move, tuck close.  You belong, you belong, I love you for who you are.  You are special, you are loved, don’t forget who you are, who I am, I am here, let me land.  Don’t forget, hold onto me, please, don’t let go.

2/28/16

Anger, hurt, tears, restless dreams–why, why does it have to be this way.  It’s not happening, it’s not.  Why give up what we have when we now know it would never be taken from us?  Years of memories–thrown away–a sacred space, a sacred place.

I don’t need a blank slate.

You Know Me Better Than That

The promise of a promise, a probable, possible thing.  Hold onto it, read it tight, clutch it close.  Not going anywhere, he’s not.  Green, moist warmth, fog, reflecting view blue.  Heights, holding hands, I can see right through you.  Hugs, holds, still there after let go.  Fluffy white, moving orange, your hand on my side.  He cares about me, he does.  Enough to plan an adventure in the land of the clouds.

2/29/16

Your Turn

Stepping out vulnerable with my words in the dark and feeling shaky all over inside and out, why feels so strange and naked?  I don’t know, just know that you’re here and you’re listening and your silence and minute responses, then conformation, is speaking words of life back into me where the dark empty spaces were that I didn’t even know were hurting, rotten and hollow bitter, until I let the air touch them and glow warm and expand until all is revealed and exposed and the flesh is sponge pink and healthy again and.  And I can feel my heart beating.

A trio trip to D.C. to hear a legend speak of heights unreached.

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I thought it was the White House, quite confused, but no–my homeschooled brain was simply deluded

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an unexpected white elephant gift… literally

3/3/16

Last Promise

I don’t want to let go of you.  I won’t.  This has to last forever.  Even if it means I’m the one holding on.  You don’t know what you’re doing.  You have feelings, you kind of know deep inside, but you don’t think about them.  You don’t want anyone to be unhappy, least of all yourself.  But sometimes love is a choice.  The love that lasts, anyway.  And ours will last.  Mine will last.  The last to let go–I won’t ever let go.

That’s a promise.

Fog

Sometimes it’s better to forget the destination than ditch the guide.

Sometimes it’s better to focus on the journey and less on the experience.

Sometimes it’s best to let go.

Come on, being lost isn’t all that bad, is it?

Not as long as I’m ‘lost’ with You.

Your good will come, whether I know it, or not.

3/4/16

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chocolate cake + strawberries = happiness on a plate

3/9/16

Dreamy river house one-day getaway with my Daddy-date resulting in orange kayaking floatings, shining water droplets winging and winking off paddles, and an odd yoga tan line, farmer’s tan turned inside out.

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the Mat River + the Ta River + the Po River + the Ni River = the Mattaponi River!

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he’s more of an explorer than he lets you think 😉

3/10/16

I can be who you want me to be.

3/11/16

When the pain immobilizes the mind, enveloping it with humid fog, my body roars to life, rending air and snapping tree limb.  Surging.  Unstoppable.  Insurgent.

3/12/16

“Open your hands.”

“I can’t.”

“Why?”

“Show me what’s in your hands.” More insistent.

“I can’t.” Clutches closed hands close.

“Why?” Exasperated. A bit angry.

Whimpers, head down, eyes full, hands open like an aching flower, slow, hollow–

“They’re empty.”

3/13/16

Something broke inside, today.  Something fundamental, something that was once beautiful.  Clumsy, and thumb(l)ing, my fingers are.  Kindness makes me cry.  My world has stopped, but everyone else’s keeps on moving.  Numb–what an odd feeling, not even a feeling at all.  It is not-feeling–describable just as the lack of something, even when you have it.  Something cracked, something made of concrete, something still.

I’m afraid it’s irreversible.

When did we forget how to love?  Someone tell me, no one can.  Love has become selfish, a tepid, shallow thing.  Not the all-encompassing, passionate, sacrificial kind.  No greater love than this–that a man would give his life for a friend.  Literal and metaphorical.  Vanished.  What’s the point of this love–true love–when no one will love you back like that?

I’m chasing you into the night.  Stumbling after your vanishing form in the trailing tendrilling mist darkness.  Cloaked.  Suddenly impersonal and cold– Did I ever know you?  Where did you go?  I ask, like a child.  I listen in the silence for an answer.  So far, you haven’t looked back.

Come back to me, if you can hear.  My heart is screaming for you in the dark.  When crushed, suddenly discovering it is hollow.

Irreversible.

My heart is pale and cold and smooth.  The stone table without a sacrifice.  Waiting.  Waiting in infinite uncertainty.

I thought we were forever.

But forever doesn’t feel like this.

I hope–I hope this isn’t it–because a piece of me would have to die, infinitely dead in its forever, so that the rest of me could live.  Love?  I don’t know.  Crippled.  Dragging one dead weight foot–but unable to bear cutting it off.

No one on Earth can love me like that (except family.  And they are predisposed to love you, their pretending not pretending, made real).  Maybe I can’t either.  And if you can’t, then who will?  No one.  You.  I picked you.  I counted on you.  I loved every part of you.  Even when I didn’t always approve.  I gave you the key to my heart, and you opened it, for a while.  But now I’ve realized the door has shut without me noticing, distracted in the realm of warm and fuzzy rosy thrumming life-aura, not realizing it had stopped being real–when?! unsearchable–and you’ve locked the door.  It echoes, it hurts, that click.  I’ve woken up in the empty and the cold.  Dark, unswept inside.  And I hear you walk away, your footsteps echoing, hollow, the key clenched in your fist.

I feel every step.  Stretching, but not breaking.

Come home.  Will you.  I want you to come home.

i was naked before you, vulnerable, the only one, trusting in your life, our love, your soul.  Sisters.  But you walked away, and now I’m only half of one whole, because you made me believe I could be.

I curl in on myself, hugging, head tucked–but the warmth, it is not enough.

Can You make this whole?  Save me (her, us?), if you can.  My everything wants You to be enough.  Aching.

Fill us with Love again.

Sometimes, love is something you have to fight for.

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one, and a two,  and a three plus a right hook…

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century… the century of what?

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this side up… what about inside out?  is that upside down, or something else entirely?

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twist, all the power comes from your hips.  don’t forget

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I will fight for you even when you can’t.  I will fight for you even when you cannot see.

“We love who we love.  Sucks.” – Nick, Before We Go

3/14/16

Please just remember–that I know the way your heart beats.

3/17/16

Before and after.  Which do you like better?  Nevermind, it’s the words that matter.

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“For freedom Christ has set us free.  Stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery… You were running well.  Who hindered you from obeying the truth?… For you were called to freedom, brothers.  Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

– Galatians 5:1, 7, 13 –

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“If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses?  And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?”

– Jeremiah 12:5 –

Wise words from the wisest Being that has existed, does exist, or will ever exist.  Take heed!

3/18/16

Before and After and Inbetween

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Only a few minutes in this place can clean and refresh my spirit, return my childlike excitement about life.  Smile, life is an adventure.  As soon as my feet leave the ground, it feels like home.

3/21/16

“You know love is all we really need to breathe.”

And sometimes it’s all it takes to make us stop breathing.

Lord, ah, I’m so broken inside, waiting for a miracle for someone else.

I found what my  ~~  looks like.  A word spoken, felt, but not understood.

It is different for different people.

Sometimes my body aches to be set free.

3/23/16

before and after, the subject and the text

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trust your heart

if the seas catch fire

(and live by love

though the stars walk backward)

– e. e. cummings, ‘dive for dreams’ excerpt –

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hello there, little dandelion bloom.  won’t you be my friend?  you will?  good.  I was hoping you’d say that.

3/24/16

Close and distant depending how big and many your steps.  Don’t be afraid, don’t forget to set your heart ablaze.

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3/27/16

Some days are pink and some days are blue, and sometimes I want it to be purple.

3/29/16

I’m a little bit broken.  (just a little bit broken)

You make me feel like I fit somewhere.

4/4/16

The patient record of the days stretch prostrate (sprawl desperate, clutch) across the strangled lines of waiting.

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Jubilee comes in the morning,

Adventures reigns in starlight

My heart aches with shed daydreams,

Make me one with the storm tonight.

I feel just a little bit broken.  Do you?

4/6/16

God to me, while singing “Good, Good Father” for an unexpected time around: “This time, sing it like you know I’m going to pick you up.”

I do.

How many mirror me’s can you see?

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4/7/16

shiny and stark or dusted with magical fairy story dust, which do you prefer?  neither answer is safe, either way you’re signing up for a game.  be careful… the world is wild, not tame.  but don’t worry, adventure only calls to the dauntless.  if you hear its siren song, it knows you by name.  you cannot long escape it, and neither should you want to.  the scars are your strength.  you will have your share of adrenaline shot-through, pure sunlight-injected glory days.  infused with the crazed, reckless wildness of primitive life.  and they will be worth every drop of blood you bleed.  but remember–only the dauntless flame can face the darkness.

 feel your wings sprout, prickly from beneath your skin, feathers shiver, rustle.  it’s not an unpleasant kind of pain.  you’re ready to fly.  your body aches it.  craves it.  don’t deny it, it will launch you off the precipice.  ready or not, here we come.  a new, dangerous, life awaits.  drink deep from its fire hose of color, flavor, savor.

are you ready?  I am.  let’s hold hands and jump.

4/11/16

Gardens full of dandelion down.

4/14/16

Animal, I Am

Sometimes I just feel like my body is going to explode.

I was standing in the shower.  Tiny, tan-brown, claustrophobic cubicle.  Feeling primitive and animal, shut in and constrained by forces invisible yet so magnetically repulsive, caging.  The white curtain is there.  I feel like that in the box around my heart, I’m always pawing at it, but can never seem to get the plastic sheet out of the way.  It swallows up my hands, containing them, trapping them.  Annoyingly sticky and sneeringly superior.  So sterile.  Back in reality, I open the curtain.  The bathroom is there, as always.  Brighter and more spacious than the wet shower cube, the humidity now slipping away and evaporating, the air cooling on my skin.  It looks more open.  It looks like the world I know, that I’ll step outside the bathroom and the world will be the way it should be.  But as look at it and don’t feel anything.  Definitely not hope.  I know that it will all just be the same as that shower.  That stepping out is only an illusion.

Clawing, violently curling up, sounds that won’t mix or come out together but feel like they should.  I can’t name them, the feelings.  Enraged, betrayed, confused, powerful, starving, aching, longing, wild.  Crazed mustang scream, hooves pawing at the door.  Wide, white eyes, snorting, flaring nostrils, nodding head.  Tearing at the squeezing force around his heart.  Biting at the dark.

My heart still cowers and rages in its box.

My Thumb Pot

I’m fine now.  Healing.  A normal, but a new one.  Almost like when you were young and turned a new age, you felt older when the minute ticked over.  But different than that… more like it did on my eighteenth birthday.  I didn’t want it.  I didn’t like it.  I didn’t want to be older, feel any different.  I still wanted to feel sixteen, carefree.  Seventeen didn’t make a difference, you know.

It feels like there’s actually something missing from my heart.  Or where my soul is, I guess, because my heart feels like it’s in the middle of my chest, not where it’s actually beating, over to the left.  So I guess it has to be my soul, or something.  Or my real heart, not my physical one.  It reminds me of a thumb pot, you know the ones we used to make when we were little.  A little piece of creek clay or playdough, round and a little smooshed at the top and bottom, and we just stuck our thumb into the middle of it and pulled it out.  That’s what it feels like… like someone took my round and plump heart, put it in the palm of their hand, smoothed it out a little bit, cocked their head to the side, considered it, stuck their thumb in it, and pulled it out.  Incredibly invasive.  Shockingly unexpectedly almost violated.  Like you can’t believe they just went and did that, touched and pushed and shoved and left a dent in something so completely personal.  It’s insulting and embarrassing and vulnerable and betraying.  They did it with no malice, almost curiosity or disinterest.  It’s confusing.

The person turns around and leaves nonchalantly, almost with condescension, but again, unmotivated by any kind of blackened (discolored, tainted, tinted) intent.  So you’re left kind of staring at them without any thoughts or emotions, and then you look down at your heart, which has been disinterestedly placed back in your chest (kind of like, ‘hum, that was interesting’) where you can just feel that hole there, aching, where it wasn’t before.  You feel it with your finger, tentatively, searching it out.  Maybe your hand is shaking.  There’s definitely this awful confusing aching, not necessarily located at or coming from the hole, but just kind of coming from everywhere.  But it definitely started there.  It had to. That’s the only thing that makes sense, right?

And so you sit down kind of dazedly and just look at it.  Spacing out.  Like, what just happened.  And then there’s days you forget it happened at all, and are just genuinely puzzled at where this ache is coming from, and other days you’re just enraged by it, whether you remember why it’s there or not.  No matter, anyway, it’s there, and you have to live with it.  It gets easier to forget that it’s there, but it’s not a linear thing, day by day, no, it’s not.  It’s an up and down, roller-coaster-like thing.  For every handful of even really great days, there’s one truly, down-in-the-pits-in-the-dark-brown-slimy-river-bottom-sludge awful day, and it feels like all your progress has reverted again, back to the beginning, almost just as fresh.  But then the next day, or maybe two or three after, things are back to normal again, and you smile and go have some childish fun and tell yourself that see, you’re going to be fine!  Bright, cheery smile, almost fake but not quite.  Just choosing the truth and where it comes from, and the joy is genuine.  But you know—it’s not the same ‘normal.’  It’s not going to be normal anymore.  Well, yes, there’s a chance… but you have to see if that person exists.  And if they don’t—well then, I think you’re out of luck until you get to heaven.  Sit tight, it’s going to be a long wait.  You’re not convinced.  Find a good distraction, will you?  But there’s never a distraction good enough, or good at distracting enough.

I’ll be here.  This bench in my world of white is kind of a permanent residence.  I’ll be here if you, or your thumb, ever changes your mind.

Food can be art, can’t it?

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4/19/16

I can be whatever He wants me to be.

(what a freeing thought! :D)

“My brain is stuck,” she says.

“I know.  I can help you get it out,” he says.

She smiles, wags her finger.  “Oh, and who will help you, Mister?”

“You will.”  And there it is, that smile.

4/20/16

Impact, Lockup, Trajectory.

4/21/16

I don’t know what we are, do you?

4/25/16

Big or small?

I would like to be small.  I’m tired of feeling big, in this human world.  Big and dirty and awfully important.  When I lay down I feel like a giant.  Big and ugly.  I would like to go outside, away from this concrete world, and feel small again.  Let the mountains tower over me in their power, shrink me.  I would like that.  To be infinitely tiny, yet so happy, in my right place, in it.  Beautiful.  I guess I feel important there too… but important because I fit.  I’m doing the things I love, in the places I love, with the people I love.  And that is how it should be.

4/26/16

Private User

We both had the same scars.  Yours went away, mine didn’t.

God is good, even when I look at the scars–even in them, I see good times passed I wouldn’t ever have traded for smooth skin.  Even if you don’t remember, or choose not to.

I’m a half-believer in you–I know you believe your own words, but would rather follow your desires in the moment. Those desires are never me, I learned that a few years ago.  Somehow I still have to relearn it, every day, because I don’t want to believe your actions.  I really don’t.  But there’s part of me that does now.  Part of me that coexists, a dark half, next to the part of me that believes your words, that believes you believe your words.  Please disbelieve your actions someday, will you?  I’ll be here, waiting, but not waiting.  I can’t wait forever, yet I will.  Both are true.  Just remember I told you it would be so.

THE END

The 30 Day Creatives Challenge

We all feel the urge to create, to make, to leave an imprint, a thumbprint, on this world.  But think of the excuses, so many excuses–

Busy, too busy.  Work.  School.  Kids.  Friends.  House.  Family.  Sports.  More busy.

Time.  Never enough of it, right?

So how about this… 30 days to be imperfectly creative.  Thirty days to dedicate just a single minute to creating.  It could be anything–a picture, a song, a paragraph.  Write it down, record it, snap it.  Freeze a moment in time, something to keep.  It’s the little things that matter, the moments, the colors, the images that you think only you notice, the thoughts you believe you think alone.  The point of art is to share, and art is made up of our personal stories and perspectives, little broken bits of glinting light and glowing color.  Yeah, it’s not going to be perfect…

But it will be beautiful.

So join me in this quest against time… to create, we can all spare a minute.

#30daycreativeschallenge

Right Now

Do something stupid.

Jump off a cliff.  Lie in the road.  Roll down a hill.  Take a bike ride to nowhere in the middle of the night.

Go on, do it.

I’m serious.  Right now.

Now, you ask?  Yeah, now.  Right.  Now.

‘Cause if you don’t do it now, you never will.

If you play it safe, you’ll never be alive.

What if I told you your life is in danger.  Right now.  What are you gonna do about it?  Anything it takes, of course.

What if the only way to save your life is to risk losing it.

Throw caution to the winds.  Heck, throw yourself to the winds, literally.

Adrenaline is your friend.  So is the wind, and the waves and the earth and water and fire and dangerous, possibly not-so-legal acts and the runaway beating of your heart.

Live to the beat of the music only you can hear.

You don’t not drive even though it’s dangerous, right?   Even though, at any moment, you know that your soul could be blasted into the sky.  You don’t let yourself be dictated by those fears.  Don’t let yourself be controlled.

I hate to break it to you, man–the same principle applies to everything else.

The world isn’t safe.  So don’t pretend it is.

So do it, go do whatever makes your heart beat faster and your breathing quicken and your hands shake.  Jump out of planes.  Climb cliffs.  Paddle whitewater.  Soar with the birds.  Pick you adventure, it’s everywhere, you’ll find it inside.

Our number one priority should not be safety–it should be living.

Some things are more important than staying alive.

Routine and comfort zones and luxury and money and safety and even education are your worst enemies.  You can only trust your fears.  The wild.  The open spaces.  All the things you swore never to do.  Listen–they tell you what you should do, not what you shouldn’t.

Be rebels.  Be creators.  Daredevils.  Risk takers.

You are the only ones who can change the world.  Edge your toes over the literal no trespassing signs and the stark white lines and the metaphorical limits drawn in the sand.  Let that rebel spark ignite you, consume you whole.

Be you.  You’ll be hated for it.  You’ll be loved for it.  You’ll be feared for it.  You’ll be admired for it.  But you will never fail to challenge and inspire.  Never stop living big, living loud, no matter what anybody tells you.  Close your ears to the haters, and listen to your heart.

And one day, the world will wake up to find its shackles broken open on the ground.

So paint with your fingers, howl at the moon, dance with the stars, spin till you fall over in a laughing, breathless heap. Wear your hats backwards, rip holes in your jeans.  Get dirty, roll in the grass, pick flowers, pieces of multicolored velvet sky.  Grow your hair long, cut it short.  Breathe deep, or dive even deeper.  Kiss often, and hug even more.  Smile most.  Laugh always.  Wear bright colors.  Go barefoot.  Count clouds instead of sheep.  Confound it all, skip sleep altogether.  Watch a sunrise and sunset in the same day, and be just as awed by every one you see.  Never underestimate the power of letting go and riding every opportunity to shore.  Freedom and happiness can be found on every star, adorning every wildflower, tucked away in each seashell, and hiding in each clasped hand.  But most importantly, you’ll find them within yourself.

Be bold, be brave, be true.  And you’ll be more You than anyone else.

Be impulsive, not rational.  Feel, not think.  Believe, not doubt.  No matter the circumstance.  And you will get through, and shine all the brighter for it.  Love others, love God, love life, love adrenaline and adventures and spontaneity and unexpected good times–and you will be all the better for it.

It’s your new world.  It’s all yours.  A little scared, you say?  Good.  Now go live it.

Right now.

Monday Musings: Hold on to Imagination

Imagination.

Most of us associate this word with our childhood–games of make-believe, invisible friends, worlds growing inside our heads, stories blooming in our hearts.  However, as we grow up, we find that the door to adulthood is labeled with a giant “No Imagination Allowed” sign.  In school, ambition and originality often produce bad grades, and talking about childhood fantasy lands earns us a few laughs or awkward sideways glances.  Although we are still urged to “be creative,” a paper on how unicorns and the color purple could be used to cure cancer would not be favorably considered.

Yet, many of us still secretly harbor inexplicable urgings–to paint, to dance, to write, to imagine, to create.  We often feel understandably shy about these deep, unavoidable tendencies that are inexplicably part of us after growing up in a world that focuses on transitioning from play to work.  However, as one who indulges these tendencies, even going so far as to take up the label of “writer,” I can tell you with confidence, HOLD TIGHT TO YOUR IMAGINATION.

The fact that we are born creative should tell us something–we were meant to use our imaginations.  A child is intuitively imaginative, constantly creating and unabashedly sharing their creations with the world.  God Himself is the King of Creativity, the Creator of all that exists and ever will.  The fact that we are MADE this way should prove to us that we are meant to use imagination to enhance our gifts.  Some use their imaginations in the fields of math, science, and history–yet others of us are compelled to be creative in less concrete ways, dealing with feeling and essence, and, well, make believe.  These gifts are no less valuable than the others, beautiful and thrilling in the infinity of possibility they explore.

If you feel your imagination stirring and are overcome with an urge to create, follow it.  Pursue your natural inclination to create and see where it takes you.  There is always something beautiful to be found.

“Creativity is an area in which younger people have a tremendous advantage, since they have an endearing habit of always questioning past wisdom and authority.”  -Bill Hewlet

“Play is the highest form of research.” -Albert Einstein

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”  -Pablo Picasso

“The creative adult is the child who survived.”  -U. LeGuin

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