Hi Readers! I'm so excited to share with you that I've teamed up with Microsoft Surface to tell you what Creativity means to me. Creativity literally saved my life (I've explained this in my entry below) and getting to sit down and process this was a fascinating exercise.
A CURE CALLED CREATIVITY
There wasn't a day when you couldn't find a tattered notepad with doodle-filled sheets tucked into the front of my overalls or clutched in ink-smudged fingers. I spent every treasured cent I earned on buying them. To onlookers, they were simply a cardboard cover and lined paper held together by a thin wire coil. To me, every squiggle, or seemingly random line of poetry that filled their pages hid truths of a painful childhood. The cardboard was my skin, the pages were my soul, its secrets written in my blood.
The day came when I filled the last page. I wrapped it carefully in my moth torn christening gown, put it in the box next to my other crowded notebooks and hid them far at the back of my closet. Then I left my family home, and I traveled halfway around the world to The Gambia, West Africa.
Though I didn't have a journal clutched in ink-stained fingers, I still saw random lines of poetry in the way a woman smiled at her child, or how the birds drifted in the breeze, or the waves lapped upon the redden sand of the West African shores. Africa re-inked my pages, it's wild beauty poured into my soul, and helped me believe in goodness once more.
One day, when the sun was at high peak, I lay down in the shadows and closed my eyes. Before I fell into sleep, something wiry like the quill's feather brushed my fingers, then something sharp like the tip of an inkwell pen pierced my skin. A cry rose up my throat, and I opened my eyes to find a large spider skittering away. Two hours later I was unconscious, my mind like notebooks wrapped in tattered moth-ridden rags and stuffed into a forgotten cupboard.
I nearly died. Doctors worked tirelessly to remove the venom from my body, draining my blood and cleaning my wound, just as I had spent years prior working tirelessly to clear the poison from my soul, draining pen after pen exploring my toxic truth.
I eventually awoke, but in the months following, my bones began to ache, a deep, throbbing weep that rose from my marrow and soon spread to the rest of my body. In no time I was confined to bed. My mom had to do everything; brush my hair, teeth, help me to the washroom. I had her paint lines of inspiration on my ceiling, so I could look up and remember a time when I too could think of poetry, when my creativity wasn't robbed by pain. I thought about asking her to be my pen and write my heart, but it didn't feel right coming from any other hand but mine. It was a challenging year in bed. I never prayed so hard for the ability to hold a pen.
When I finally got mobile again the first thing I did was find a blank page. I wasn't ready to write about me, I had let the pain erase who I was. So instead I wrote about a girl with fiery red hair like mine who was held prisoner in the bowels of a mountain.
It distracted me from the pain, she distracted me, writing about her was something I could do when my legs refused to walk, or my back hurt so much I couldn't get out of bed. I still remember the first sentence I wrote like it was yesterday:
"Half awake and half asleep, in the in-between twinkling of imagination, it was there she found a reason to hope."
Her story helped me process years of pain, both physically and the kind that was hidden in the back of my closet. When I finished her story, I started another, and another, because when I found writing, I found myself and the pain didn't rule me as much. All those years of filling notebooks and dreaming out loud (I have "dream out loud" tattooed on me) were training for writing my own wild stories. And when I imagine people spending their treasure to buy my book Arrowheart, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
Now I'm handing you the pen - I want to know what creativity means to you. And if you head over to the TalentScouts profile, there's a contest to win your very own Microsoft Surface device!
Thanks for reading!