Sunday, 28 January 2018


Recently I've been thinking about what sparked my lifelong love of words and of creativity in general. Part of the answer is my parents. Though there was nothing idyllic about our family life, with various forms of dysfunction forming the framework of my childhood, we four kids were also fortunate to have those troubles balanced by our parents' positive qualities. Our mother was always either painting in oils, sewing, knitting, braiding rugs, writing little poems, or hosting lovely luncheons for her friends. She showed us by example how to pursue what feeds us, no matter what else is going on.

As a kid, I never thought of our father as being creative, although he beautifully restored numerous antiques that graced our home, a talent I now definitely recognize as being creative. I do remember when he encouraged me to be confident in myself and be willing to stand out from the crowd. Those are traits that are certainly needed by anyone who wishes to try new ventures or show her work in any forum.

Though I had to reach mid-life before I began to recognize the value of that foundation, it's not surprising that for as long as I can remember I have engaged in several of the same pursuits as my mother. And I have also built on the lessons taught by my father. Slowly I've learned to strengthen a courageous approach to my writing and love of fibre and to try new things, knowing I could well do a less-than-great job of it. For some reason, I usually have been willing to try and, often, not make a complete hash of it.

Add to that foundation the brilliant structure comprised of my children and the joy/challenge of parenting them. I always did, and continue to, learn so much from them about courage and adventure and imagination! As the main character in my most recent book says, "Children are the architects of joy."

One other crucial spark for my creativity is the place where I have made my home for the past 41 years – Manitoulin Island. Perhaps it's partly because my ancestors came from the Welsh island of Anglesey that I felt such an affinity for this place from the first hour of my arrival. Perhaps it's because the Great Spirit fills and is the air we breathe here and the fine friends and family I enjoy. Perhaps it's the rolling and rugged land that embraces the many bodies of water.

In countless natural ways these many sparks have fed each other, building into flames of creativity that feed me. Whether I make something for my own pleasure or someone else's, I'm grateful for the connectedness that weaves imagination, inventiveness and community together.

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