I am Creative! There I said it. Growing up, I never really saw myself as an artist. In school, artists were people who could draw, sing, or dance well. My art teacher mocked my self-portrait in high school. I never joined the school choir. Dancing was out of the question for I thought I had two left feet, and it made me self-conscious to dance. But luckily, despite not thinking of myself as an artist, I continued to create. I indulged in photography and was a photographer for the Yearbook. I didn’t think of myself as a good writer, but my high school English teacher Ms. Wenceslao graded my two book reports with an Outstanding even asking me to read them to my class. But I was always crazy. My Grade School was teaching us to be more generous to the less fortunate so we had this Sacrifice Tuesday, passing a box around for donations to a poor school. This was my job as Class Treasurer. I wrapped a Pringles can with bond paper and let my classmate draw smiley faces on them. But I said you have to give if you draw a smiley face. It worked. As Class Vice President, I was tasked with getting my class to head to the auditorium for school masses. I started a congo line and got my classmates singing Janet Jackson’s Escape to get them to Mother Rose Hall. It worked.
So yes, I may not sing, dance, or draw well. But it doesn’t mean I’m not creative. It did not stop me from expressing my weird, crazy self. Who cares if I can’t draw well, I still wanted to learn how to paint. I took several painting classes during summer vacation in college. I again took it in 2003, when I was already working as writer. I enjoyed it immensely. The walls of my home are now filled with paintings I’ve created. They make me happy! For some reason, people think all Filipinos sing well. I still cringe in Karaoke bars, but enjoy singing at church. During my stint in Singapore, I joined St Francis Xavier Choir, along with a bunch of extremely talented Filipino professionals and one Malaysian lady. Together, we sang praise at St Ignatius, a Jesuit Catholic church. I still don’t dance well. But hey, I shake my booty to Zumba classes almost everyday for the past three years.
Thursdays at Maida’s Touch is devoted to Creativity. I do know the joys and struggles of being a creative. I know what it feels like to get stuck. I’ve dealt with one too many writer’s blocks. I’ve eaten more chocolate than I care to admit, and inhaled cinnamon buns thinking it would help me write. (No, they didn’t). I’ve also spent countless hours procrastinating and watching mindless videos on youtube. Again, that is not the solution. But I also know how rewarding it is to be switched on. It is when your editor tells you, “You’re so prolific. Where do you get your ideas?” It is when you spend your days writing and your evenings lost in the colors of paint you apply on your canvas. It is joy of quotes resonating with you daily from books, movies, people’s t-shirt, and even bumper stickers on cars.
So join me every Thursday, as I feed your Creative Soul. Yes, you are creative.
I also conduct a workshop called “Creativity Stew.” It had its first run in Singapore a few years ago. I will be reviving this delicious inspiring workshop aimed to unblock those who are stuck, struggling artists, and those who don’t think they are creative. Drop me at line at [email protected] if you are interested in joining my next Creativity Stew Workshop. I will let you know once the details have been ironed out.
I will leave you with the photo that has been on my mobile phone’s wallpaper for almost three years. I saw it on a store window display in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was strolling the streets on my way to see my friend Guillaume. It says, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
There is no magic wand to a rich, productive, rewarding creative life. So, let’s get to work.