Thursday, 26 April 2012

A Change in Perspective

I've got something a little different today, something that comes under the "Creative Adventure" part of my blog.
I had an epiphany this morning!  I've been feeling bogged down by how much I have to do lately and I feel like I'm letting it keep me from what I really want to do, which is to spend more time writing.  I'm chair (and secretary) of my kid's school's parent committee, I run a novel writing club at the school, am helping to organize several fundraising events to support the grade 7 leaving ceremony, and am the Kamloops representative for the Word on the Lake Readers and Writers Festival.  I have to get the kids to soccer and baseball, cook healthy, enticing dinners (and lunches and breakfasts, and snacks for in the car after school).  Oh yeah, in the midst of all this, I am trying to edit 2 novels.  You get the picture.

I received an email from a friend who is also doing a lot of work at the school and is frustrated by the lack of volunteers to help.   I am too, and I feel for her.  It is hard to be the one always doing things, to spend my morning organizing clothing orders, typing minutes, emailing people...  I've been getting overwhelmed and am feeling in need of protection some days.  I have, very clearly, said no to a few things lately, things I didn't want to do, and it felt good.

I hit reply and tried to say a few words of encouragement and comfort without sounding trite.  What I found myself saying has completely shifted my perspective.  Yes, I am doing all of this work, yes it is a lot, yes it would be easier if there were more hands on deck, BUT boy are these other parents missing out!!!

I am getting the opportunity, yes, the absolute pleasure, to get to know all of these kids better, to see and appreciate their creative genius.  I, somewhat reluctantly, took on helping the grade 7s prepare a short presentation to be performed on stage at our local theatre as part of a pre-show for a bigger event in 2 1/2 weeks.  We have nothing, just a group of about 15 kids who are eager to strut their stuff.  And boy, do they have stuff to strut, but how to put this together into something coherent and approx 5-6 minutes long, something doable for them to learn in their busy lives in the short time frame?

Well, brainstorming, the kids, on their own, came up with holding performance together with a story.  They would take a picture book a narrator would read a section and a small group would perform their interpretation, then another paragraph would be read and another interpretation would be presented.  This way they could work in small groups on 30 second to 1 minute pieces, but still present a  unified piece.  Each kid could shine on stage and do what they love.  There was a commitment to represent the 4 arts (my kids go to a learning through the arts school) - dance, drama, music and visual arts - in this process.  The first 3 are obvious, but the art?  We don't have the time or resources to do sets.  Well, they would do visual arts by body painting (faces and arms), they will be their own canvasses!  How great is that?

So, they went through the children's section of the library where we were meeting and within minutes came up with the perfect book, Imagine a Night by Ron Gonsalves.  They picked a narrator.  I agreed to type out the text and today when we meet, they will form groups and work on their interpretation of imaginative, dream filled nights.  Honestly, up until an hour ago, I was dreading the extra drive 3 times a week to the school to supervise their rehearsals, but, after thinking about it, I realize it is actually a privilege.  

I realize I need to look at what I'm getting more often than what I'm giving - to slow down and take the time to appreciate this.  That and brainstorming with kids when I'm feeling stuck would probably be good too.
Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
— Mary Oliver


  1. Oh this is so inspiring,Coreena, and you do know how much I love it. I'm now sharing it.
    ps I also just decided this morning to switch up my next blog post..ha!!

  2. ps. WOW to the book they have chosen. I have it.. I'm thinking serious genius to work with that one!

  3. Janet, thanks for sharing this!

    Coreena, what a beautiful shift in perspective! I know this will be fun for the kids and you! Memories made . . .

  4. How energizing! You definitely are a significant part of those childrens lives! Able to give them the focused attention with little direction and their creativity blossoms!

  5. Thanks everyone - I am feeling way more energized about all of the things in my life with this shift.


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