These things may date me, but I am not ashamed to have survived to the age of 54. There were times it was doubtful I would make it, and now there are days when the scythe comes very near.
Some early influences in my life were Crayola Crayons, the Sears Catalog, Instamatic Cameras, and writing by hand. You may wonder how these relate to creativity. I shall explain.
Becoming adept enough with my coloring and creative skills that I graduated to the 64 Box of Crayolas was a significant accomplishment. Money was tight, and the magic box was an expense my parents did not consider lightly. When I opened that box, it was as if the whole world opened up for me. I had names for colors beyond red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, black, and white. This has impacted my sense of color ever since. Of course, I am aware there are billions of colors and am blessed with the ability to see color beyond the normal range, but I still group them based on those 64 which I learned early, I think about age four or five. I classify all colors in families. This helps tremendously when I edit photographs, and on those rare occasions, I attempt to create art. My edgy sense of fashion color blending is often based on the crayon colors as well.
Liquid assets were scarce in my household growing up. At the time department store catalogs were sent out freely to those the stores hoped to beguile into purchasing their wares. My mother sometimes ordered my clothing from the Sears Catalog. Mom was never one who understood buying things in various places and putting them together as outfits. She would guide me through the catalog, and we would choose five to seven pieces grouped on a page which worked in a mix and match. I might, if the weather held for Dad to work, have two such ensembles per season along with a few jeans and shirts I picked independently. This enforced wardrobe gave me a background on combining separates. The crayons and catalogs gave me a basis by which to become adept at creating my own fashion statement. I rarely purchase all the pieces I use to create a look in one place. I pull things together according to my fickle mood. The lines, the color choices can be traced to childhood.
For those who are photographers, and are we not all these days, the art has changed dramatically since I began with a tiny Instamatic Film Camera. It almost seems I have been taking pictures forever, but I must have started around age five or six. The Polaroid with the sticky black and white film that you had to count exposure time, yeah, I remember that. Early on I learned to set and choose my shot with extreme care because the film was a luxury. Every picture had to count. I could not instantly see my capture. Getting the envelope back with the prints was always a highly anticipated occasion. It was fascinating because there might be fantastic shots or I might wish I had not wasted hard earned money on the photos. Even now, I typically take fewer pictures than most photographers with whom I am acquainted. I also rely on editing less than many. Somehow I am stuck in the mentality that it is essential to capture the photo the first time and best to do it nearly flawlessly. I fall short, but I try.
Writing by hand is something many of us are moving away from these days. I still enjoy putting pen to paper and doing my lines in near calligraphic cursive. I made my first books by hand, with writing and drawing of my own creation. Sadly these are lost. I have practiced writing obsessively almost all my life. I do not think I could long survive without getting my thoughts in a semi-permanent form. Ink on the page is a miraculous marvel to me. I collect pens, paper, notebooks, journals, was I not surrounded by these things I would fade into oblivion. I love technology. I have ridden its waves since 1991. However, something about print seems less ethereal and more concrete. I have tablets and e-readers, but books, they still hold my heart in a way a file cannot. I shall continue to write. Much of this and the previous entry were done in a cheap composition notebook with a rollerball pen. I call this particular book, my dump notebook. I am intimidated by my expensive journals, maybe one day I will be good enough to use them. Somehow, I doubt that occurrence.
Our lives, our roots, our experiences are a part of every creation we bring forth. Live your life thoroughly, so your creative repertoire continually evolves. As a prompt, take some time to examine early influences you are still using in your work and your life. These might be things, people, quotes, places, anything really. Honor these with a creative work.
Gratitude can lift the spirit on a cold Winter day. I am grateful that I spent this day mostly in joy. I do not invite the trouble of events of which I have no control into my life and am thankful for my peace and contentment. Try to find something for which you are grateful each day. It will help you deal with the disappointments which inevitably come.
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Be safe, be true, share whatever you can, and live life like it means the world because it does.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan