In January, I had the blessing of being added to the already-full class roster of a ten week recovery program for blocked artists, just days before it started.
So far, it's been a wonderful, terrible, exhilarating, exhausting, helpful, painful experience.
And this is week four.
Since the group is larger than she normally has, our facilitator has us sitting in a rather large 'circle' made up of eight six-foot tables.
Last week she realized that name tags were necessary in such a large group, but when she mentioned it, a hand shot up and one of the participants suggested place cards for the table.
She liked that idea and we were tasked with bringing a place card for ourselves to this week's class.
Dear Reader, you know how much I love paper, and cutting, and making place cards by now, don't you?
In the following few days, I noticed my morning writing was ending with little drawings, instead of words.
Ideas will make their way out of the head, if you let them, and mine seemed to be all about having my name card include a visual representation of some of my creative interests.
It seemed fitting for this group.
Yesterday, I finally sat down to firm up a design and begin executing it.
It was delicious to be sketching again, to be slicing through paper with a frighteningly sharp Xacto blade, to be scoring, inking, shading.
It has been too long since I opened my pencil box.
(Old friend, I want us to be close again!)
When I picked up the Xacto knife... the pencil... the tortillon, I entered that strange time-warp again; three hours (which included the one for dinner-making) went by downstairs while only fifteen minutes passed in my studio.
When I was finished, I was truly pleased with the result; so happy that I was able to execute the idea which had come to me.
I was actually joyful.
For. One. Split. Second.
And then Fang started to speak...
"Are you kidding?! Look at that thing! She didn't say to do anything creative, just to bring a place card."
"Oh my gosh! That thing is huge!"
"What a big show off!"
"You are just way over the top."
"Those women are going to hate you for showing off like that."
"You aren't really going to take that big, showy thing, are you?"
And on, and on, and on.
I felt my joy slipping away.
Today I reached out to "Jesus with skin on": I showed my place card and I shared my battle with some people I trust.
And their answers came back.
"So lovely! 'Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.'" (C.S.Lewis quote)
"Wow! That is VERY cool!!! It would be a real shame to let the thought of other people's reactions stop you."
"You will inspire them."
So, tomorrow, Dear Reader, I am taking this "huge, show-offy, over-the-top" place card, which is actually just a visual representation of some of my creative joy, to group with me, because when Fang was turning up the heat to steal my joy and I was stumbling around trying to fend off the lies with the truth...
...I had help.