Art class, first grade. She is given an assortment of various colored wads of play-dough. The assignment, to make fruit for a basket. Enthusiastically, she grabs the yellow lump and starts rolling the squishy damp clay back and forth in her happy little hands, watching it transform into a snake-like rope. The teacher, (term used loosely here), is giving instructions which the exuberant girl chooses to tune out, being fully absorbed in crafting the worlds most beautiful banana.
The teacher fumes across the room, hovers over the puzzled child, yanks the fruit from its creator and holds it up for all to see, saying something about not paying attention and how this is EXACTLY WHAT NOT TO DO. Blatant condemnation vanishes the dream of a little girl who believed for a brief moment that she was an artist.
I dreaded art lessons from that day forward but found creative release in music class. Music was my magic carpet and I rode to places of indescribable emotion and often landed to peruse its mysterious terrain.
The classroom, a few years later. A visitor, a story-teller came to bequeath her gift. She told us of a beautiful, clever woman, Scheherazade, who found a way to save herself from the henchman’s blade. Scheherazade knew that the Persian king quickly tired of women sent to his chambers, and had them beheaded the morning after, so she came up with a remarkable plan. She spun an irresistible tale of sailors and battles, monsters and genies, ending each evening when the drama reached its climactic peak. The king kept her alive just to hear the next chapter of her narrative which continued for 1001 nights. By then he had fallen in love with her and made her his queen (oh the power of a good story).
Then our enchanted visitor put a record on the player, a symphonic suite by Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov. His musical interpretation of the 1001 nights (or Arabian nights) swirled in the air and transformed our classroom. She handed out blank sheets of paper, markers and said “go”. She granted permission for the unleashing of boundless imagination and her magical spell erased the former curse of the dreadful art teacher.
What did I think? Where did I go.? What did I draw? Well, to be continued, of course.