I live in a house with three creative teenagers, each of whom views the world in his or her unique way. In my house, there is forever a creative flow of pieces being reimagined and molded into thoughtful wholes. It is a lifelong endeavor, the concept of being a creator. If you are a creator, you are constantly looking for raw elements that can be made into something interesting.
This vision and creative treasure seeking started years ago, when the children were just toddlers. We would walk through the craft store, and they would pick up items from the floor: a stray button, a piece of yarn, a detached bud from a stem of silk flowers. At that age, they simply saved the items, perhaps as inspiration for future projects.
The other day, I took a quick run through the living room, tidying up. I came across a crumpled piece of paper on the end table, and I reflexively reached for it. Mid-reach, a vision rushed into my brain of J, sitting on the couch, this crumpled piece of paper in her lap. Her pencil scratched the paper as she recreated the folds and angles in her sketchbook for drawing class. I took a deep breath and removed my hand, leaving the paper where it was.
“Do you still need this crumpled paper?” I remembered to ask her the following day.
“No. You can throw it away,” she responded indifferently.
“Did you finish your drawing?”
“What? The one with the little men?” she looked up from her homework.
“Little men?” I questioned.
“Yeah. There are little men climbing on it. It’s just a sketch for a bigger project.” She shrugged and showed me the sketch. And sure enough, there are little men hoisting themselves up on the various levels of the ball of paper.
What started out as trash had become the expression of one of my artists. And now I know: because I live with artists and inventor types, it is always good to check before I throw anything out!