Creative Outlets

I was flipping through old photos the other day (sort of – browsing through them on my computer, but that doesn’t have as evocative a sound), and found myself missing my big camera, and the time when I took photos regularly. Don’t get me wrong, I love the ease of my camera phone (even if the pictures do tend to have crappy quality), but there is something about seeing the world through my viewfinder that I miss. I’m hoping to do a photo shoot with the girls around Easter, maybe jump start my photography hobby again.

Although this one turned out pretty darn near perfect, crappy phone camera and all.

Although this one turned out pretty darn near perfect, crappy phone camera and all.

I play around with a number of creative hobbies, without getting super serious about any of them. I quilt, but not brilliantly. Sewing clothing, same. I used to scrapbook, but haven’t in about … well, I think the last time was when Joy was a baby. And occasionally I like to stick my toe in the waters of sketching, though I usually pull it back out again at once because that water is cold. I like baking and cooking, though having to do them every day or else we don’t eat does tend to diminish their appeal. Knitting I pick up at the start of every winter and lay down at the end and consequently never finish anything that takes longer to complete than a scarf. I adore music, and one of my goals is to someday take piano and voice lessons again, because without them my voice has turned to a rusty squawk and the piano winces every time I get near it.

One of my recent sewing projects, a white blouse for Gracie's Easter basket

One of my recent sewing projects, a white blouse for Gracie’s Easter basket

And a pink skirt for Joy's Easter basket.

And a pink skirt for Joy’s Easter basket.

I used to feel kind of badly about myself, that I dabbled in so much without ever feeling the drive to become expert in any of it. Of late, though, I’ve come to think of it as a good thing. I think it’s good to have something, a creative something, one can do just for fun, just to relax, without ever feeling the need to perfect it. I work to perfect my writing. There’s my passion. The rest? They’re more like … palate cleansers.

Sometimes my mind needs a rest from writing. But it doesn’t want to veg, it just wants to relax a little. So picking up my niece’s baby quilt (yes I’m still working on that NO I don’t want to talk about how long it’s been it’s pretty well a standing joke by now OK?) as a chance to rest those creative muscles without letting them get all flabby? I’m pretty sure I’ve killed this metaphor dead, but you get the picture. IT’S A GOOD THING.

So yes, I will pull out my nice big camera soon and enjoy once more the creative effort of setting up and pulling off some great shots. And I won’t feel bad that I don’t feel so passionate over my photography that I could totally make it my life, yo. It’s a fun hobby, and it’s just fine if that’s all it ever is.

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4 thoughts on “Creative Outlets

  1. Between colds and early pregnancy, my mind has not been on writing lately. I DID, however, quickly compile last year’s photo book for L. It didn’t take long, because I realized that I did not use my good camera often, rather using my phone, which did ok in getting the more candid moments.

    There’s a couple of reasons for the lack of good photos though. The first being L was two years old. Actually getting her to be still for pictures was almost impossible. The second was that I spent a great deal of time last year jumping back into my first loves of writing and reading. I became absorbed in it.

    Though I sometimes feel guilty for not using my camera more, I was devoting more time to a creative outlet that had been far too long neglected. What I’m saying is, I totally get this post. I think we’re all better off when we can regularly rotate our creative outlets so that nothing becomes stale. Another metaphor is crop rotation, I guess.

  2. Heh, I’m the same. The number of creative hobbies I’ve started and put aside again is, umm, another one of those standing jokes. Like you – music, cooking, baking, sewing, quilting, knitting, candlemaking, soapmaking, painting, pottery, etc etc. I go crazy on it until I’ve mastered it *to my liking*, and then move on to the next thing. A serial master. But there’s actually a word for that: it’s called being a Scanner, not a Diver. Divers dive into something and go really deep (so I have friends who are fanatic knitters, and have been for years. It’s their passion, and they’re GOOD at it). Scanners scan all subjects, and know a bit of everything – and *that’s* our passion.
    It’s, incidentally, an ideal gift for a homeschooler – you can teach your kids the basics of most subjects – and also for a writer, because you can bring that knowledge into your stories. Like, for me, Guy’s pottery wheel and throwing technique in SEVENTH SON, those are *my* wheel and technique. And Ouska’s sourdough bread, I tried that out before I wrote about it. And Cat’s librarian’s skills. And so on…
    Incidentally, my husband has a sweater that took me nine years to knit. Yup. And that’s not because I’m a slow knitter.

    • I’ve frequently referred to myself as a “jack-of-all-trades, master of none,” and it’s nice to see I’m not alone in that!

      Speaking of pottery – Joy got to use the pottery wheel in the art class she and Grace are taking, and she loved it. I thought of you, and of Guy, when she came home chattering about “using the wheel”!

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