Creative Spirit

Articles abound about how schools stifle creativity by forcing children to conform to certain ways of thinking and doing things. Fortunately that isn’t always true.

Unfortunately what happens when kids get out of school, either high school, or college is devastating.

Doors are slammed in the faces of those who put themselves out there into the world where all things are subjective. The real world, especially the workplace, is set up to stifle creative thinking, the individual, and anyone with new ideas. Employees are hired for their creativity and drive, then that creative is beaten out of them, only to be replaced with the acceptable mediocracy of the prevailing management.

We’ve all seen how our government works with old men asking fear filled questions about the dangers of social media and other subjects they will not even attempt to understand. They are the same people who cut off funds for our arts and sciences because they do not trust what they do not understand. Unfortunately they do not want to understand – that would mean opening their eyes to new and different ideas. That would mean letting go of ignorance and opening up their minds and maybe even their hearts.

Friends and relatives can be the worst at killing the creative spirit in a child or young adult. They all have loud and negative opinions about hopes and dreams of the young people they know. They say things like, “only communists and socialists get Political Science degrees,” or “you can’t make a living as an artist (or a historian, a marine biologist, a fashion designer, a musician, a bed and breakfast owner, a baker, a vintage motorcycle mechanic, a poet, a writer, an art historian, a speciality crop farmer, or anything else where someone has new ideas, or ideas on making old ideas better.)

Dreams are easy to kill, especially in those who have had doors slammed in their faces  time after time after time. Even if you go around back there isn’t always another door or even a window to crawl into.

Don’t tell a young person that they are a failure before they have even tried.

I feel that individual sports and activities such as music and acting can help prepare a child for the negativity and judgments of adult life.

For example, my daughter roller skates. That is Artistic Roller Skating. It is like figure skating on ice, except on roller skates. When the skaters do their events, be it Figures, Team Dance, Solo Dance, or Freestyle, they are out there on the floor alone. They skate in front of a panel of judges. The skaters have specific requirements, but they are all judged individually on their own merits. That is a tough lesson for kids, and a good one. My daughter skated for years without winning. Finally she did win Gold at the National Championships – Twice. She got Bronze once. She also went to the National Championships and didn’t win. But she went. She went out of love for her sport. She did it because she wanted to do her personal best.

We should all strive to do our personal best even if there is no Gold Medal at the end. Even if there is no cash reward. Even if there is no fame.

Creativity in any endeavor is an act of love. Don’t stifle that love in the young people you know.

I have been writing this odd little blog since 2012. I haven’t received a MacArthur Fellowship. I haven’t received a penny off of my efforts. I has not made me famous (maybe a little bit.) But I continue to write this blog anyway. My thoughts on parenting, Vlad, Eleora and Tellias, Nigel the Ghost, and the rest of it are all stories that must be told. It is mine. I encourage you all to find what is YOURS and hold it close and keep doing whatever it is that makes you happy and creative.

Today the 2019 MacArthur Fellows were announced. Sometime this is know as the MacArthur Genius Grants.

Twenty six people from a variety of fields were awarded a $625,000 stipend that they can do whatever they want with.

From the foundations president John Palfrey: From addressing the consequences of climate change to furthering our understanding of human behavior to fusing forms of artistic expression, this year’s 26 extraordinary MacArthur Fellows demonstrate the power of individual creativity to reframe old problems, spur reflection, create new knowledge, and better the world for everyone. They give us reason for hope, and they inspire us all to follow our own creative instincts.”

They give us reason for hope, and they inspire us all to follow our own creative instincts.

I was so happy to see one of my favorite artist Lynda Barry on the list. I love her work so much.  Lynda Barry, 63, graphic novelist, cartoonist and educator
“Inspiring creative engagement through original graphic works and a teaching practice centered on the role of image making in communication.”

For years I had her Poodle With A Mohawk poster on my wall. I still have the poster. I’m going to put it back up.

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Congratulations to all of the recipients and to your creative spirit, and thank you for inspiring generations now and in the future.

So now, your assignment for today is:

  1. Encourage.
  2. Inspire.
  3. Support.
  4. Discuss.
  5. Hug.
  6. Read.
  7. Learn.
  8. Love.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Cat-ur-day: You can dance if you want to…

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Where is Juliette? Where is the Burning Question today?????

I’ve been so busy with my kids (my ADULT kids) and moving, and traveling, and taking friends to the art museum, and Vampire stuff that… well, there is no Burning Question.

Happy Cat-ur-day!

And don’t forget your hat. By the way if you forget your hat make a music video. It’s ok. You have my permission.

Now go hug your cat, hug your kids, hug everyone else, and dance! Take the chance.

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Seeing Red

“Are you still seeing Emma?”

“Mom, Emma is so weird.”

“How so?”

“She hates red. She won’t wear red. She won’t park next to a red car. She won’t eat off of a red plate. She gets upset if I wear anything red. Even the word blood makes her hysterical. She won’t even sit on red furniture.”

“You’d better not bring her to my house.”

“She even flips out over roses and humming bird feeders.”

“Have you talked to her about it?”

“It isn’t some deep rooted trauma if that’s where you’re going. She just does it to be weird. She wants attention. You know, she wants to stand out and be different. I asked her if it had anything to do with Vampires. She looked at me like I was the crazy one. She said I was disturbed and disgusting.”

“Does she know you’re a Vampire?”

“No. Hell no.”

“Honey, I think you need to break up with her.”

“I already did. That’s why I called you. The summer of Emma is OVER.”

“Time to cut your losses and move on. At least you only spent a few weeks with her.”

“She texted me this morning. Now she says red is OK. She decided she doesn’t like cats now.”

“Block her. Do it now.”

“Already done.”

“Good. Love you.”

“Love you too Mom.”

 

No matter how grown up you are, sometimes you still need to talk to your mom.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Seeing Beyond Yourself

When your children go out into the world there are traits they’ll need to be successful, even if they’re Vampires.

Compassion and seeing beyond your own single mindedness is something that our world lacks. It is also something our children can make up for, and make their future brighter.

You can be the smartest person in the world but if you can’t see traits and qualities in other that you don’t have then you aren’t that smart.

You can be rich but if you don’t give back then you’re morally poor.

You can think you know what you like, but if you’re closed minded you’ll never really know what you like.

As our children become adults they must move from the sheltered world of their childhood, that of high school and their parent’s home, and see beyond themselves.

Your assignment for today, as a parent, grandparent, or anyone with a young person in your life: Talk with your young person about the big wide world. Talk to them about compassion and making a difference. It is a big world, but even a small bit of compassion will go a long way and make a big difference. How have you seen beyond your world? Share that. And with any luck, your young person, in the infinite wisdom of youth will share their visions with you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

The First Day of School Without Kids

This year, is the first year, in many many many years that I will not be there for the first day of school.

I have no idea what anyone is going to wear. I’m not even sure what day school will actually start.

Nobody will come home and tell me all about their classes.

Damn.

I am suddenly feeling all sort of nervous and kind of out of sorts, and a bit sad, and sort of excited, and I don’t quite know what.

When school starts there will no longer be any K-12 or college kids living in my house. Just my dog, my cats, the wild turkeys who hang out on the back fence, and my husband.

I guess I could also include the pair of bald eagles in my neighborhood who for the past three years have hatched and raised three sets of baby eagles (six eagle children) and seen them fly off. I’ve thought a lot about the eagle parents as I’ve watched the chicks grow from tiny fluffy head bobbers to large magnificent birds.

Since 2012 I’ve written parenting posts about raising children to be independent, strong, successful, questioning, compassionate, curious, smart, mature adults.

That is exactly what I did. AND I did it well. I did it exceedingly well.

So why do I feel like crying?

Yes, I’ve heard Werewolf parents howl at the moon when their pups take human form and go off to college.

I guess it is ok for all of us to howl at the moon in our own way when our children leave home.

I am happy and proud beyond words. No mom has ever been more proud. No mom has ever told her husband “we did a great job” more times than I have.

I never thought I could love this much, or this hard, or this good.

Even if they don’t turn into bats (you know, Vampires and all), I am glad to see them spread their proverbial wings and fly.

I’ll adjust. So will they.

Deep breath.

And so the adventure begins.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Empty Nest

At the end of my street is a bald eagle nest. The babies hatched this spring have learned to fly a few weeks ago and have now left the nest. We might see them around occasionally during the rest of the summer, but they’re more or less gone. This is the third year we’ve had eagle babies. This is the third year we’ve gone out to the nest and watched new hatchlings grow and leave mom and dad.

The nest is now empty.

Empty nest syndrome is a feeling of grief and loneliness parents may feel when their children leave home for the first time, such as to live on their own or to attend a college or university. It is not a clinical condition.

My daughter just turned twenty. She’ll be moving out in September to attend a prestigious university on the coast of Southern California. I am over the moon proud of her.

I have kept a safe and sound nest for my birdies. They have learned how to fly.

I’ve prepared my children to be adults. They have far exceeded my expectations. I am so proud. I think I said that already, but I am. I always will be.

I prepared my chicks but I didn’t think that I’d be so unprepared.

It isn’t as if I’m unprepared. It isn’t as if I don’t have anything to do. It isn’t as if I don’t have a dog who needs ALL of my attention, elders to take care of (that is another story that breaks my heart), cats to heard, and a husband who is going through his own transitions.

It has been years since I have felt my heart breaking like this. I had no idea.

Yet, I am filled with joy and excitement because my kids are adults and they’re going to make all kinds of awful mistakes, and have wonderful adventures, and be amazing, and successful, and they’ll change the world for the better. I know for a fact that they’ll change the world for the better. When I think about that I am less likely to start crying.

When you have a baby you know that in 18 or 20 years that… your baby will be an adult.

But you know what? Your babies will always be your babies.

Having kids is the best thing, the hardest thing, and the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do. At least it has been like that for me.

I finally found something I was good at. REALLY good at. Better than most at. The BEST at. And now I have to do something else that I can be the best at.

Just between us I’ll still be the best mom ever.

And if you’re reading this you can still be the best mom, or dad, ever too.

Just keep saying to yourself, “Don’t panic. They all grow up.”

You’ll be OK.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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