That stack of journals I brought home from my parent’s house included a sketchbook from the Drawing I class that I took my freshman year of college. Above are two fabulous examples of its contents. So that you can truly appreciate them, I will highlight two things: first, please notice the extremely sunken television screen in the first picture (showing Friends); second, please know that the rose in the second picture was not supposed to be an abstract (in my written reflection I lament how unrealistic it looks).
So drawing wasn’t really my thing. Also not really my thing – jewelry making, stained glass, pottery and crocheting. Oh, and also acting. And especially singing.
I don’t say that these things weren’t my thing because I didn’t like them or even really because I was totally devoid of skill in them. I enjoyed the art, craft and theatre classes I took in college and, in retrospect, was not terrible at any of these things (except the singing, the singing was/is really bad). The thing is, I lacked the passion for them to push myself to be better than average.
When I talk about my college career, I often say that I have a degree in Psychology with a side of Art, a splash of English Literature and a pinch of Theatre. I admit this proudly without an ounce of regret. Sure if I had figured out then that I wanted to be a writer I could have focused on that; maybe majored in journalism or gone on to get a MFA in creative writing. But here’s the thing, I’m not sure it would have worked.
Without that personal exploration in creativity that began in college and continued until I sat down to really focus on writing at age 29; I’m not sure I would be much of a writer. I’m not saying you can’t be a writer when you are young. You absolutely can. I’ve read and been inspired by some amazing young writers. I’m just not sure that I could have been a writer when I was younger and I am grateful for the life experience I have to draw on now.
Just like I’m grateful for sketchbooks full of average drawings and a crate full of lumpy pottery. They are the artifacts of my creative journey.