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Thursday, January 1, 2015


Sometimes when you write something you think of all kinds of things that you left out.
And so, that is why this is the second part.
From the time that I was little till now, I have always seen things in or on things: An example would be sitting in a doctor's office with my grandmother or my parents. I would stare at the grain in the wood of doors and see a face or a tree or some object. Did I ever tell anyone this? No.

Happened again the other day when I was at my doctor's: I was sitting in the examining room where you stay forever and ever and since I'm antsy anyway, I started looking at the grain on the door. Been in this particular room before. And there was that man's face again--he looked like Zeus. And there was the tree I had seen before. If I'd had a magic marker, I could have drawn around those shapes and anyone could have seen what I saw. But no way would I take a magic marker to the doctor's office.

Abruptly, I quit looking at the door and focused on the chair in the room. Being able to see things such as this is not really an attribute but more of something I don't care for because it happens everywhere I go.

From grade school through college, whenever I was given a task to do, I never did it as anyone else did.
"Only you would see that!" was something I've heard time after time. When I was seven and in the third grade, I well remember taking a piece of cardboard out of my dad's shirt from the cleaners and cutting it up into four pieces. It was a Saturday and it was raining. There was a little boy who lived next door who must have been about four. Beside my house was a sort of gully-like place that collected water when it rained; it already had rocks in it--not big ones but smallish ones that hurt your feet if you were to walk on them.

I took those four pieces of cut up cardboard, took a knife and made four holes in each piece--one on either side of the top and one on either side of the bottom. Then I got some twine and took all this outside and found the little boy. Made us both "shoes" so we could walk on the rocks. Worked for about two minutes till the cardboard got soaked all the way through! There were no tennis shoes then, with the exception of black ones that only male basketball players wore. There were no plastic shoes or flip flops for they hadn't been invented yet. But so much for my creative mode with those "shoes:" They didn't work but I sure thought they would. And I had feelings of elation and disappointment within minutes.

I loved watching "Captain Kangaroo" on tv and my favorite part was when he would make something out of boxes. One day while watching him, he told us to go into our kitchens and get an empty cereal box.
Ran like lightning into the kitchen, found a full box of cereal, emptied it out into a bowl and rushed back into the living room to watch Captain Kangaroo work on the box. My heart sunk! He had made a car out of that box, had wheels on it and had painted it. How'd he do that I thought? I wasn't gone THAT long! Something was going on and I had to figure it out but as much as I tried, I couldn't until I told my parents. And then they explained that he had someone else make one ahead of time and while kids who were watching were scurrying into their kitchens, he swapped a plain cereal box with a pre-made finished product. From then on, when Captain Kangaroo started making something, I turned off the tv. He had upset me and tricked me.
I would find other things in my house to make and be satisfied even if no one else was. Loved taking objects and turning them into something else. Still do to this day.

The next year was the year I got my first paint by number kit: I was beyond thrilled.   There were oil paints and a cat picture to paint. Yes, I saw the numbers and the color code but I didn't want to use that. And so, since I knew what a cat looked like already and looked at the tubes of colored paint, I painted that cat my way and even went out of the lines. Shock.

I still have that picture to this day; my mom kept it all those years and I never knew that till after she died. I found it in one of her chest of drawers and the memory of my painting it came rushing back into my mind like it was yesterday.

My dad was a car insurance adjuster and he used huge tablets of paper for his cases when he went on the job. He would always bring me stacks of those big tablets and I made an office in my bedroom. I would cut and cut and staple and staple and make lots of books. And then I wrote stories in them and saved them. My mother was an executive secretary and she would bring home to me those steno tablets that had rings on the top. I was in sheer bliss making this and that. My girlfriends would make them along with me at times and to me, it was the closest thing to heaven that there was with the exception of painting.

I could tell you stories upon end but I won't. Had thought of the above things and wanted to share them for this making and creating never stopped once. You could tell that when I was little, I always dragged an accomplice in with me; I didn't want to appear weird all alone.

As I got older, I faced my artist soul on my own and came to grips with it. Over the years, I've had lots of failures and lots of successes as far as things that I have created. It is still an on-going learning process which has no end in sight, hopefully. But the drive to keep this up is inherent: No one is pushing me, no one is telling me what to do or when to stop and no one is standing over me with the exception of that nagging voice inside of me that says, "Make something! Write something!" And I do ignoring the basic things I should be doing and then I get furious with myself for neglecting those basic things: It makes me feel like one of those elves you see in Santa's workshop who just makes and makes and makes.

The satisfaction comes from seeing something in written form or on a canvas that makes me feel good.
It might not affect others but sometimes it does.
And then I am prepared for "Bring on the criticism!" My soul can take it...most of the time.
I hope if you read the first part of this, that you googled "artist soul:" Maybe you can empathize or maybe you can't. It is a gift and a curse but one I find that I just can't live without. Can't get rid of it.

Sherry Hill

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Sherry Hill

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