I actually wrote this sweet story about six or seven years ago when I was a new mama. I spent hours learning to both live as a human and nurture, feed, love, and entertain toddlers. This meant trying to get laundry done, dishes cleaned, showers taken, food eaten… all the while having someone calling, pulling, yanking… or, if things were suddenly quiet, drawing, cutting, smearing…
And if you’re a parent or teacher or childcare worker, you know what all of those … mean.
Well, for the caregiver. The kid is usually having a great time! Thus, According to Corban was dreamed up. While scrubbing the floors, my son Corban was sure I was begging to be a horse on his adventure. Pillows were bridges needed to cross carpets of lava. A bath was an ocean full of his favorite wildlife. Our backyard was his personal jungle, complete with wild animals, the perfect hiding places, and lots of dirt. And worms.
AND, a little sister tagging along in his shadow.
It charmed my heart (when I could get over my desire to actually keep something clean and could just play with my kids). One night, around 1am, this story hit me and I couldn’t sleep until I got it all down. Twenty-some-odd revisions later, my firstborn (though not first-published) picture book has entered the world. I hope it’s as much fun for parents as for children. The current 5-star review on Amazon seems to say my goal is a good one!
Pay special attention to the mama in the background and the way Corban’s imagination grows and shifts to interact with her (without ever leaving his imagination!)
And of course, Jeremy Pusey. Who has yet to make his website, but one day soon I will put a slide show of his work up (with his permission of course).
And would I be a good, proud mommy if I didn’t mention my children? My four little loves and their creative spirits… whether it’s learning an instrument, picking and arranging flowers, drawing pictures, or putting on a show… all for an audience of me.
But my favorite artist is my dad.
He shares his art for anyone and everyone to enjoy. Creating for the sole purpose of the joy and delight of others. Which makes it his delight too.
It’s not for sale… only for show. But he lets you take pictures. And try to replicate it in your own way… with your own tweaks and imagination.
Here are some of the images of my Dad’s art that I’ve taken most recently:
Isn’t he amazing?
If I’m honest, I’m a work of his art too. I “ooh” and “ahh” at how incredible his other pieces of creativity are… stand breathless at their brilliance and detail.
Then I look in the mirror and cringe.
As if somehow I’m less exquisite, less incredible, lower on the list of his prized works.
And yet he says I’m not.
That I’m among his best works.
And I must believe him.
Is this true of all paintings? Do illustrations compare themselves to other illustrations? And deem themselves less? Is any piece of work satisfied with its outcome? Does art trust its creator when it hears “it is finished.”?
I don’t know about other art, but I imagine I’m not alone.
I imagine that you need to hear what my dad would tell you as well…
That you are also among his greatest of all pieces of art… a treasured creation, a work worth redeeming.
Greater than any sunset or sunrise, enchanted forest with cascading falls, or gardens in full bloom.
You are priceless… not for sale, his own precious endeavor.
Do you see it? Do you see his fingerprints? The uniqueness of your design? The purpose for which you are to be used?
His greatest work of art.
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
My brush swish-swishes on the wooden project, dib-dabbs into the water, and swirls in new and vibrant colors. The creature in my hands is transforming slowly. First one coat of paint, then another. Details here and there. At any given time during this journey, my art piece is anything but beautiful. But I don’t mind. That’s part of the work and I smile as I dream about what it will yet become.
Even though I don’t know what it will become. I don’t start knowing exactly how it will look. Colors blend. Bleed. A line here, a dot there can change the direction I thought I was going with it.
It strikes me.
How is it that I’m so gracious with my painted art, but not nearly so with my writing?
The tappity tap of my fingers beat an uneven rhythm. The story unfolds. It’s rough. I’m discouraged. I close my laptop and decide to wait for my next moment of silence and hope it coincides with a moment of inspiration.
Just like a painting, a story never begins beautiful. The course of it’s adventure changes as the author adds a word here, a sound there. The story tells itself with time. Patience. It certainly can’t be rushed. It’s not supposed to be beautiful until the end.
The finishing touch completes my beautiful Tree of Peace. *sigh* I spray a delicate sealant to protect my hard work. The mess between then and now is not too far from my memory. But the beauty of this moment- holding the finished piece and knowing the journey it took- makes it priceless.
My writing deserves the same. The same diligence. The same appreciation of their messy process. The same hope of their future completion. And the priceless feeling of holding something beautiful and knowing from whence it came.
A new day.
I commit to loving my writing with the same tenderness that I show my other art.
How about you?