There had been years of ballet, jazz, ballroom, tap,…. There had been countless hours of tumbling, gymnastics, and “movement” classes…. But it was after I had (accidentally!) elbowed another little girl hard enough to send her to the hospital and the teacher into near hysterics during an ill fated “DANCE!” workshop “tailor made for the uncoordinated”… that my mother threw up her hands and surrendered herself to having a klutzy daughter.
But I still needed a skill. Everyone in the family had some sort of special skill. With a determined air my mother sat me down and together we looked over the list of possibilities.
Dance then was out.
I already tried and failed at music; both learning to play the piano and having the discipline for a trained voice had eluded me years before and my mother had been forced to accept that I would never be the classically trained opera singer of her fantasies. I too was disappointed in my inability to carry a tune having wanted desperately to be able to charm birds and squirrels into doing my bidding (stealing from the neighbors).
Organized sports were not an option (again with the lack of coordination but also due to limited vision and honestly a sever apathy on my part to be part of any sort of team. Even at a young age I had a distinct hatred for uniforms).
I had been rejected from the Brownies for asking too many inappropriate questions and refusing to walk in a straight line. I also had pretended to be a secret spy from another troop sent to find out all their secrets; a game I had found insanely fun but the other girls had found weird and for some reason invasive.
And so lacking any other ideas, my mother enrolled me in art class.
Like all our new ventures, I was excited at first and then bitterly disappointed. The other kids were like me, toothy grinned and ready to find our inner hidden talent. On the first day of class I was mesmerized by the potter’s wheel. I had visions of myself creating the biggest most beautiful vase ever! It would be green… and gold… and would have images of dancing fairies on it! Instead it turned into a shuddering mess, the handle almost broke my hand and there was enough clay in my hair and ears to keep my mother busy most of the night.
The next day they moved me to sketching but that didn’t really work out all that well either. Bored with the lack of color and frustrated at not being able to see as well as the other kids, I spent most of my time listing possible names of the imaginary friend I was planning on creating after lunch.
Frustrated, the teacher moved me into painting. I found the oil paints intimidating but and was awestruck by the way they looked on the canvases. Stating off with water colors was fun but all my paintings seemed to look remarkably similar… large floating blobs of color.
Impressionist art? My mother asked the teacher. But was told politely no… her daughter lacked an artist’s skill. Dejected, we went home.
My mother sat in her rocking chair with my baby sister on her lap, swollen ankles on the footstool and regarded me closely. There must be something that her daughter ould do besides get into trouble and drive her nuts. Her mind continued to whirl… Photography? No, too many possibilities for embarrassment and broken equipment. Drama? No, life was dramatic enough. Wood working? Gardening? Space Camp? …. Then suddenly she had an idea.
I was laying on the floor listing possible scenarios of how to get my imaginary friend to turn into a leprechaun because an imaginary leprechaun friend seemed much more interesting than just another little girl or boy. I had decided to write it like a story book. I looked up at her, expectant.
“Kiddo, what do you like to do?”
I shrugged and went back to my paper. “Once upon a time," it read, “there was a little girl who wanted more than anything to be a fairy….”
The above is a writing exercise from Raven. To read more about Raven and her Wordzzle Challenge, visit her site.
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