My surprise is when I walk into my University Writing for New Forms of Media class and Ross Laird has set paint on the tables. Yes, we are painting in a University class and most of us aren’t art majors, but our objective is to get in touch with our creative side, to find meaning beyond the distinct lines of ink on paper. The goal is not to paint a detailed scenery or landscape, but to brush emotion onto a blank canvas. This isn’t an exercise created for fine arts students, every one participates, even the artistically impaired. Being creative doesn’t only mean playing an instrument, building sculptures, or writing an award-winning novel. Creativity applies to the structure of a business, to advertisements, to a new product, building a website, or just about anything else you can think of. My idea of creativity is getting in touch with my emotional side, allowing those emotions to flow from me and produce a combination of mediums in my writing I would not normally think of.
What appears as a tree in my painting stands for so much more. In the swipe of brush strokes I get to thinking about my outlook on life and how much it has changed over the past two years. Previously I would get caught up in the negative aspects of my life, deeply unsatisfied with my lack of accomplishments. I am always looking at the things I haven’t achieved. However, I learnt that this particular outlook is only going to drive me down further. Life is a tree. The cliché for the tree of life shouldn’t be chopped up to a literary metaphor and overlooked so quickly. On one side of my painting there is a red weeping willow, the strokes pulling you back down towards the ground. On the opposite side is a living tree, its branches stretching upwards towards the sky. It’s no coincidence the colour green represents inspiration and creativity.
Most of us would like to chill out on the right side of the painting. Sometimes we do, our life takes a positive turn and we are enthralled by our career, friends, family, or hobbies. Then sometimes something less positive happens in our life and we ask ourselves, ‘Why can’t everything in our life just go well for once?’ My experience in my studies at University have been a positive experience for me. Creative writing: my classes, my individual projects, my poetry readings, have taken off faster than I expected. This leaves me smiling when I go to bed. However, sometimes my social life, my relationships, the cost of school can get me down. Before I would allow these negative aspects and heartbreaks to make everything in my life seem unfair or disappointing. Well, the truth is there will always be negative and positive aspects to our life. We have to choose what direction we are going to focus our attention. As we climb higher, our roots get deeper. The question here is which side of the tree are you going to climb?