14 March 2017

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds + A Note on Creativity

Mum this week had borrowed another picture book from the library to share with the childminding children she works with and then it appeared on my desk this afternoon for me to return to the library. Being the curious guy I am, I had to give it a little read before I packed it in my bag for tomorrow, and to my surprise this is exactly the book I needed to fuel my creative life at the moment.

From the start of the book, I began to relate to the main character, Vashti. She believes that she can't draw and won't ever be able to. Just like lots of us creatives who really struggle with believing we will ever be as good as we want to be at our craft. But Vashti's art teacher is determined to prove her wrong and show her that really, if you believe in yourself, and create your own unique style, you can become whatever you want to. 

Eventually Vashti has become so engrossed in creating her art that she has created so many pieces that they fill a whole wall of the school art exhibition. This is when you know that she too believes in herself and can see that simply trying and being herself, she has now been able to draw.

At the end of the book, a little boy comes up to Vashti all excited about the art and complaining that he can't draw. This is when Vashti uses the same technique as the art teacher to show that the little boy too can draw just like her by telling him to just draw whatever comes to mind, and definitely sign it. I like how this ending to the story shows the narrative come full circle when the student has now become the teacher.

This book really struck a chord with me because I have been thinking a lot about my creativity and personal growth and mindset, and how I can develop these to become someone who I now aspire to and who I feel is a fantasy well out of reach. I have spent the weekend thinking about my gap year and the ways I could spend it to grow myself and gain skills, like volunteering, working, or travelling.

Elin Loow is someone whose blog I read religiously because of the little anecdotes on creative fears which I always seem to be able to relate to and which I really want to strive to conquer. She keeps bringing to mind this idea in posts the idea that we don't always feel good enough at our craft, but just being ourselves and trying our best means we can be.

I was invited (funnily by Elin) to join the Creative Rebel Academy run by Violeta Nedkova on Monday. I have to add that this in an academy which costs and so I seriously have to thank Elin for giving me a scholarship because it feels like a little bit of a chance to begin focussing properly on my creativity. This also helped to make the book stand out for me because this academy is all about how we can take our own personal strengths and use them to rebel against the norms of creativity and do it our way.