It was the school holidays and I was at home alone in the same cold and damp cottage on its same country lane. I was, as I often was, on the same mission to try and make my mother happy.
Today's idea was to clean out the kitchen cupboards. Carefully, one by one I took all the things out of the cupboard, piled them on the floor then, using the washing up cloth and the cold water from the tap I wiped over each of the shelves. I then returned all the contents back to where they had been.
I had reached the cupboard below the work surface, had just finished emptying the contents onto the floor and was in the process of pulling myself to my feet in order to retrieve the cloth when it happened. I put my hand up to the work surface and began to pull myself up when..splat! My fingers encountered something very gooey.
Gingerly and with some trepidation I peered over the work surface to see what I had done. What I found myself staring at was the the lemon part of a lemon meringue pie. It had been a smooth even surface of lemony goo in its pastry case and now it had finger holes in it. My heart stopped and then started racing. What to do? Oh what to do??? As I stared at it a plan began to form. If there HAD to be holes in it they could at least be in a nice pattern! So I set to work creating a spiral. Sticking my index finger into that lemon pie and, starting from the outside, I poked my way in an ever decreasing circle to the very centre of that pie.
There! A perfect spiral! Now that DID look nice! Satisfied that I had resolved the situation into something really quite pleasing I went about my business of finishing the cupboards, stopping every now and again in order to further admire my spiral handiwork.
Once the kitchen cupboards were done I returned to the living room and curled up with a book content that my mother was about to receive a double happy when she walked through the door. Several chapters later I decided to return to my creation for further admiration of my handiwork.
WHAT????? Where had my spiral gone??? All I could see as I stood there staring in disbelief was a mess of holes all over that lemon pie. How was that even POSSIBLE? I had seen myself make that spiral with my own eyes!!! But it was gone and in its place... a ginormous unorganized mess.
And so it was that I learned right there, age 8, that creativity is sometimes only in the act of the doing of it, only in the eye of the artist until such a time as the eyes for looking were switched off and then all you could see was a big fat mess that needed explaining.
Helen Bee works in adult education with young adults with learning disabilities supporting them in gaining skills for independence as well as literacy and numeracy. In additiin she works with music as a choir director and harpist, as well as being a PA to an artist from the US. Living intuitively and consciously, supporting growth and development for all people are very much the flags she flies.