Create Like a Child

My budding artiste wrote (and recorded, thanks to my honey, the Producer) her first full song. I am truly amazed. Of course I always knew she was musical and yes, I take some credit for her genetic predisposition to being artistically inclined. But this music came from a place that I am unfamiliar with, or at least have not visited since my own childhood. And it couldn’t have happened at a more perfect time.

I have been feeling frustration with the non-progression of a couple of my creative endeavors. As is almost always the case, there never seems to be enough time or opportunity in between the “must-do’s” of my very full life. Unplanned distractions, akin to a musty blanket left too long in an undrained washing machine, burden me – leaving me feeling depleted, weighted down and disenchanted.

But thankfully this weekend creativity, inspiration and wisdom have shown up, just this time not through my voice, but through that of my eleven year old daughter.

I’ve been searching lately for access to whatever mystical wonderland or magic pill might boost my productivity, if not creativity. My desire to attain a higher form of artistry must be a spreading virus because a few of my girlfriends in my neighborhood have been feeling the same way. We even put together an Artist’s Way group to support each other in our artistic endeavors and have begun meeting weekly. Already I can feel the creative juices starting to flow more assuredly then they have in recent months. Being that we are a bunch of Katonah moms, we began our first session lamenting our assumption that the author of The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron, surely wrote her seminal work unencumbered by children.

We laugh, but it’s the truth. It’s ridiculously challenging to manage a career, our own individual endeavors and our families simultaneously! And yet, like the befuddled Ewan McGregor in the 2011 Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, we continue on – despite seemingly implausible conditions and against all odds – to swim upstream.

About the time I feel like passing out, giving up or postponing, again, whatever artistic project (“well-maybe-in-a-month-I’ll-get-back-to-and-finish-it”) I am working on, I find a spark. . . and that is where my daughter comes in.

She has no formal piano training (yet) or even voice training as I strongly resist being a stage mom or wielding my MFA in voice and pedagogy over her head as a gauntlet. The last thing I want to do is to create any form of pressure or competition in her early stages of artistic expression. I would rather she love to sing, write and act then do it because she thinks she “has to” to please me, or anyone else for that matter.

And that’s just it. My daughter creates because she can. More than that, it serves as an outlet for her tween angst and anxiety but inevitably, and most importantly, it just brings her joy.

As adults we have plenty of obstacles obstructing our path from living a fully co-created life of joy and creativity. It goes without saying that our lives are infinitely more challenging than those of our children. Yet it also can be said at the end of the day, that this is also our greatest excuse. Regardless of the “facts” that we wish to rely so heavily on, if being creative or finding moments of pure, unadulterated joy were that essential to our BE-ing (and I believe they are) we would not, or should not, let anything stop us. To create like a child is to do so fearlessly, judgment free, with reckless abandonment, impulsively, in the moment, effortlessly and unforced.

Our experiences are relevant. To my daughter, a new 6th grader, the homework level in middle school is staggering as compared to 5th grade. The pressure of her growing social world is daunting and overwhelming and don’t even get me started on the effect of budding hormones!

The fact is we all have the ability to judge our experiences and expressions by the circumstances that surround us or to transcend them – at least for brief moments in time. We are the co-creators of our reality but we barely give ourselves time to feel, think, dream and BE more than what our scenarios and schedules dictate.

My daughter wrote a beautiful song about bullying for the fall production of her Little Village Playhouse theatre company. She wrote it because it made sense to her and because it addressed her experience in a way that was helpful, uplifting and positive. She did what my dearest Beverly Hills Playhouse acting teacher, Gary Imhoff, told me years ago . . . “take your shit and turn it into gold.”

My little girl didn’t make excuses or apologies for why she wasn’t able to complete her song. Instead she gave herself permission to work on it when she could and ignored it when she couldn’t.

And in the end, she created something whole, perfect and powerful.

It is this quality of creating and truly living in the moment that I so greatly admire. It’s what we all used to do when we were little. That box of Crayola’s were the most important thing in the world when they enticed our little fingers, the glistening pristine pieces of paper or glowing oversized coloring book beckoning us like Achelous’ daughters from atop their cliff.

As children we would drop everything and BE in that moment. We were painters, sculptors, singers, dancers, comedians, magicians, ventriloquists . . . unapologetic artists.

Artistry is the antidote to excuses. Let yourself create like a child in whatever time, space and moments you can manage. Slowly but surely you will reignite the spark of that inner child. And who knows – she may just go and grab her long missing crayons.

Listen to Emma’s song: Used to be Friends (Producer & Guitarist – Andy Kadison)

Lyrics:
I swear you were the light to my dark.
When you started to bully, you broke my heart.
I didn’t understand what I did to deserve this.
I was always here for you. I guess that wasn’t enough . . .

Do you remember we used to be friends?
You turned on me and that was the end.
I didn’t understand why that had to happen – to me . . .

“It’s no big deal.” Isn’t that what you said?
But are you the one feeling hurt in my head?
The answer is no and that’s not the way to go.
The answer is no and there’s nothing left to show.

But please remember when we used to be friends.
You turned on me and that was the end.
I didn’t understand why this had to happen . . . with us.

Who have you become?
What have you done?
Can you hear – me . . . at all?

Do you remember we used to be friends?
You turned on me and that was the end.
I didn’t understand why that had to happen – to me . . .
Why your “normal” just became mean . . . oh . . .

[Photo credit: bbc.co.uk]

17 Responses to Create Like a Child
  1. Connie Cole
    October 16, 2012 | 3:18 pm

    My first thought upon hearing the initial note and lyric of this amazing song was, “What courage!” I could feel your daughter’s pain deeply and I too wondered, “What happened?” to make a friend turn away and even to become hostile.

    Life is hard and relationships even harder. We do the best we can and hope that those we love love us back. Sadly, that’s not always the way.

    Your little girl shows an innocence yet “wise before her years” maturity. Dang! Sixth Grade is HARD and it doesn’t really get much easier as we go along. But ya’ know what? Singing does help and so does creating. I think I’m gonna write a song…

    Don’t stop singing young one; don’t stop creating, and don’t ever stop loving.

    • Diva-Mama
      October 16, 2012 | 4:48 pm

      Dear Connie,

      The budding songstress and I really appreciate your heartfelt comments and encouragement. I’m not just saying this because I’m her mama, but WOW – she is inspiring! If I create at even close to her pace, my new album will be done within a couple of months!

  2. Léna Roy
    October 16, 2012 | 4:33 pm

    Fabulous!

    • Diva-Mama
      October 16, 2012 | 4:46 pm

      Thank you, Léna! I appreciate your taking the time to read and comment.

  3. Diana DeCubellis
    October 16, 2012 | 5:32 pm

    Beautiful song, beautiful post! 🙂

    • Diva-Mama
      October 16, 2012 | 8:47 pm

      Thank you, Diana. Our little ones are really something, aren’t they?

  4. Jenn Deutsch
    October 16, 2012 | 6:17 pm

    Keep on singing – don’t ya stop singing! Beautiful. Just what I needed tonight!

    • Diva-Mama
      October 16, 2012 | 8:48 pm

      Glad to be able to offer something to soothe your spirit Jenn!

  5. Debbie Mancini
    October 17, 2012 | 5:37 am

    Beautiful, innocent, spot-on … and straight from the heart! I hope this is a cathartic experience for your daughter, and that she knows, I mean really knows how much support she has! Keep on doing what you do, Mama! You’ve got support out here, too!

    • Diva-Mama
      October 17, 2012 | 6:53 am

      So appreciate your comments, Debbie. And don’t worry, if she doesn’t know how much support she has, I will reminder her until the day she has offspring of her own! That’s part of the joy of being a mom – we can hold these things over their heads – for as long as we deem it necessary! (lol)

  6. Kayle (The Cooking Actress)
    October 18, 2012 | 6:41 am

    Shira, your blog is wonderful!! I love reading about your daughter’s budding creativity, and it is such a beautiful song that she wrote & performed!!

    • Diva-Mama
      October 18, 2012 | 8:02 am

      Dear Kayle,

      Thank you for being a new Diva-Mama and daughter fan! I will definitely check out your blog, the CookingActress.blogspot.com too!

      ps The next time we meet at an Actors Green Room agent night, I’d be more than happy to sample your artistic creation – especially if it’s gluten free (hint hint).

      Best,
      Shira

  7. Marissa
    October 23, 2012 | 7:00 am

    Wow, what a smart and brave daughter you’re raising. I admire her courage and ability to be vulnerable. Truly amazing and touching song!

    • Diva-Mama
      October 23, 2012 | 7:17 am

      Kind hearted comments like yours Marissa, make my daughter gain confidence and this Mama even prouder. Thank you.

  8. […] About the time I feel like passing out, giving up or postponing, again, whatever artistic project (“well-maybe-in-a-month-I’ll-get-back-to-and-finish-it”) I am working on, I find a spark. . . and that is where my daughter comes in. Click here to read more. […]

  9. Cynthia Braun
    November 4, 2012 | 3:43 pm

    My daughter and I just listened to your little girl’s song. It’s beautiful! So deep and powerful. We both felt moved by her heartfelt words. Please let her know how much we loved it.

    • Diva-Mama
      November 20, 2012 | 2:37 pm

      Thank you, Cynthia. It’s wonderful having such inspirational creative children, isn’t it?

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