When I was a girl and created art, my mother made me walk it out to the trash because she viewed it as “dirty.” It wasn’t that I was creating pornography at a single-digit age; it was my mother’s demons, and my mother’s jealousies. Thus – it didn’t take too many walks to the curb to realize that my creativity was in peril. And it wasn’t only my art; my words were also in jeopardy: when my mother found my diary, she read it out loud in front of me. The red of the shame on my cheeks taught me why red was a primary color.
Consequently, I neither drew nor wrote any more while I lived under my mother’s roof.
Callings come from deep and callings come from afar
When I was in my 40’s, the name of Winslow, Arizona came in a dream. I had no idea what was in Winslow – but at the time, I had started my study of shamanism, and so I found a class in Arizona; on the way, I stopped at Winslow. There I discovered, to my open-mouthed amazement and wonder [is there any other kind?] a crater, created from a meteor that fell to Earth 49,000 years ago; it is one mile wide, 570 feet deep, and it is believed that life came to Earth in this place. [For movie aficionados, the final scene of the movie Starman, a 1984 American romance science fiction film, was inside the Winslow crater.]
After encountering the crater, I stumbled upon the striated rocks of The Painted Desert. There I saw a raven open its beak to drink the rain. There, the markings on the rocks were unlike anything I had ever seen – me, a kid who was born, bred, and buttered always within an hour of the sea.
The Painted Desert is where the idea for a multi-colored crayon was born; that, and it was Einstein’s birthday, and it was raining – so the forces of raven, water, earth, and air, coupled with the fire of my imagination [and Uncle Albert, of course] conspired to inspire me, and midwifed the KW.
My experience and sense of that desert is that it is magical, numinous, mysterious, and still holds many ghosts.
In the years that followed, I experimented until I had created what I wanted. I exorcised the trash-walking demons of my mother. I took back my creative soul in stages, much as a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. When I first started to play with crayon crafting, I could feel my mother in the room, admonishing me about a) what I was doing, and b) how I was dripping the colors of the wax. “You can’t put that color with that color!”
I remember saying out loud to her that she had to leave the room. Or at the very least, stand in the doorway. I had to repeat myself many times. Even at that distance, I could still feel her gaze until I became aware that I wasn’t aware of her anymore and her voice gradually went silent.
My advice when you choose to practice alchemy to change your life: don’t expect the stealing of any part of your soul to happen overnight. Roots travel deep, and those roots are sometimes tangled. And it’s not just the judgment of another person. It’s what’s been worn down and eroded in you over the years that needs tending, and attention. So as well as being a retriever of parts of your stolen soul, you also become a well-heeled and seasoned gardener in the field of your dreams.
It has been a journey – for this self-taught and curious-natured poet – that perpetually amazes, delights, and enlightens me.
The wax, because of its fluid nature, continues – thank my graceful stars – to teach, and to deliver epiphanies.
Inspiration (noun): to breathe life into and thus bring one into alignment