Creativity and the Nurture of the Soul

In The Horn Book Magazine’s July/August 2010 awards issue, Andrea Spooner describes  the childhood of  Jerry Pinkney  (who won the Caldecott Medal for The Lion and The Mouse). She writes:

Jerry Pinkney was born…a middle child in a family of six children. He shared a crowded bedroom with two brothers, and with no physical space to call his own, he created his own personal space with his drawing pad.

As a writer of fiction, folktales, and fantasy, the concept of creativity fascinates me, and what moved me in this little snippet from Jerry Pinkney’s life was the picture it created of how creative endeavor nurtures our spirits.

Once upon a time, I went through a crowded period in my own life when there was no room for the crafting of fiction. I was newly married, the mother of three active kids, and working through a ten-month program to earn both my teaching license and Masters Degree in Education. I was starved for time to create.

Graduation came at last. To my joy, my first folktale was published in Cricket Magazine, although I still had no time to write anything new. I threw myself into finding a teaching job yearning for students to love and a classroom to call my own. Finally I landed a job and the reality of being a brand new, full-time teacher set in. I threw myself into work I loved, yet found as the months passed, a deep well of sadness yawning within me.

After much searching, I finally connected with the source of that sadness. I was grieving my writing. Yes, I had family, friends, and people to love, books to read, and a career I was passionate about. Yet without the mental space to engage in my own writer’s craft, my life had lost its vibrancy and color.

Time for creativity is an important aspect of a life well-lived. For me, it ranks right up there with food to eat, the shelter of my home, clean air, sleep, work, and love. God, the ultimate creator, made humankind in his image. Think about it; we are made to create.

What creative activities feed your soul? What creative activities make a place for you to be who you were made to be?