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Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Gilbert’

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

The Oprah Magazine for November arrived. And in it, an article by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert. The tag line “How to be the real you? Teach your various sides to live harmoniously.” She identifies her three selves, Lizzy, Elizabeth, and Ms. Gilbert. I started thinking about my selves. Do I have three different people living inside of me?

There’s Margarita: fun-loving, outgoing dancer. She laughs and talks freely. She really doesn’t care what others think of her. She’s confident and carefree.

There’s Margaret: practical, hard-working, dedicated wife and mother. She will do anything that needs doing to help someone she loves. She feels less than if she is not doing her best.

There’s Mrs. Simon: serious, disciplined teacher. She respects her students and wants only the best for them. She doesn’t like slackers or disrespectful comments about anyone. She has high expectations and infallible values.

I know all three of these Margarets live inside of me. I love and nurture them all, but sometimes their goals conflict. Sometimes Margarita’s fun makes Mrs. Simon’s Mondays tired and tough, and leaves piles of dirty clothes for Margaret to wash. But I think I’ll keep her because she makes me happy.

dancing-painteresque

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Spiritual Journey framed

I thought I might give blogging a rest.  But in this wild world of social media, I have made connections.  Irene Latham is a poet/blogger and the kind of person I will do almost anything for.  She tweeted yesterday.

Here I am again because this is a subject I live with every day.
Be creative.
Be vulnerable.
These two walk together with me as I wander this writing terrain.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert speaks to me.  She writes for 272 pages about “Creative Living Beyond Fear.”  The reason this book has taken on such popularity is we are all battling this dualistic problem: creativity and fear.  On Goodreads, there are 333 quotes from Big Magic.  I could pick any one of them to make my point here.  That creativity and fear (or vulnerability) walk hand in hand.

With my students this week, I have been creating an altered book.  We have taken books that were discarded from the library for repurposing as a collection of writing from this school year.  For the most part, we’ve been making a mess.  But in the midst of the mess, creativity is evolving.

A favorite page using gel printed paper, collage, and a poem.

A favorite page using gel printed paper, collage, and a poem.

This is the freest I have felt about painting and creating in a long time.  I’m just doing it.  I don’t expect anyone but me to ever care about this book, so there is no fear.  And since I feel absolutely safe creating alongside my students, I am not vulnerable either.

When I write for others to read, the stakes become higher.  And yet, in this blog space, I have found a safety net.  I have a group of people I belong to.  I’ve gotten to know you by reading your blogs.  You know me, and you leave encouraging comments.  I may not know your face, dear reader, but I trust you.

Vulnerability is lessened by safety, community, and camaraderie.

Creativity breeds creativity.  Endeavoring to express yourself artistically whether with a paintbrush, a musical instrument, or a pen exposes you to failure.  Yet creating makes us human,  and creativity is meant to be shared.

flowing stream with quote

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