Celebrating Creative Women



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"A weed is nothing more than a flower out of place."

Wildflowers or weeds: who decides? In the right garden, imagination is cherished, but too often talented women find themselves labeled as weeds by a society which prefers a perfect landscape. The creative impulse can bubble gently like a spring or rush through with gale force . While it is active, the onlooker sees only the apparent idleness or chaos. Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway's famed mentor, understood this well. "It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing."

Whether a woman's inspiration is expressed with a turbulent rush or amid peaceful repose, the world is lessened if it is not allowed to exist. To deny this expression is to deny womanhood itself. One need only to wander through a woman's home to find evidence of her resourcefulness: a bit of embroidery upon a pillowcase, decorations in her child's room, a special note to a loved one. All it takes for this integral part of womanhood to emerge is a few moments of freedom.

It is freedom which is most highly prized by the creative mind. The poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, wrote the feeling of being totally free was, "not a confused state but the clearest of the clear, the surest of the sure, utterly beyond words-where death was an almost laughable impossibility."

Too often, we allow daily responsibilities to deny ourselves the happiness which productive creativity brings. Little by little, we have cluttered our lives with time consuming tasks, distracting problems and stress. As we do so, we tend to forget our desire to create, especially when people around us prefer to use the label of weed. But this problem is not irreversible. We just need to refocus our thoughts and realign our lives in order to include it.

Deepak Chopra M.D., author of Unconditional Life: Discovering the Power to Fulfill Your Dreams, wrote, "Feeling the glory of life means feeling it in yourself and about yourself. You can look at beautiful trees and listen to beautiful music, but these substitutes, however gratifying, are still substitutes. The fact that you can appreciate them means that your own inner beauty wants to come out. It is seeking its own kind. What is that tree's glory but your own, seen in nature's mirror? If you wanted to, you could turn the mirror around and see yourself directly. The glory in you is not painful to see. It is the opposite of pain.

"The most destructive emotions-doubt, fear, guilt, shame and loneliness-roam the mind at will, beyond our conscious control. It is true to say that they control us. But this prison has an air of illusion about it once you realize that you built it and locked yourself inside. Having erected the barriers it feels trapped by, the mind should be able to take them down. From that viewpoint, it becomes every person's choice to take responsibility for his own inner reality. On one side, the old conditioning tells us that we will hurt worse if we try to break free. On the other, the impulse toward freedom is urging us to discover that all limitations are at bottom false."

Spring is a time for renewal and hope. It is with the hope of discarding false limitations that Moondance brings to you our current selections. Creativity is built upon our impressions of the world around us, as our Featured Poet Christina-Marie and our Featured Artists so clearly illustrate, and our myriad thoughts on love and life, which are highlighted in this issue's Fiction department.

An essential element in the creative process is a feeling of safety, even if it is only a momentary respite from the day's tasks. The delicate process of putting one's thoughts down on paper or planning an artistic piece is best expressed in safety and solitude. The many sides of safety are also featured in this issue, from the pros and cons of gun ownership, discussed in the Opinion section, to health and cybersafety tips which are found in our Columns.

Our Non-fiction writers have contributed a variety of subjects which revolve around both safety and renewal. This abundance is also reflected in the diversity found under short subjects. These are presented in the hope of inspiring your creativity and perhaps inviting you to take away new ideas on improving your life.

Another of Dr. Chopra's thoughts has already become a reality in my life. " infinitely flexible, serving the mind in any way the mind chooses. We create new worlds inside our private universe..."

During a natural disaster, I lost my carefully cultivated garden. Because of needed repairs to my home, replanting was not practical. I did not want the wind to blow away my top soil, so I began watering and allowing whatever plants were left to grow, weeds and all. To my surprise, I discovered some of those weeds are very pretty indeed. Such a marvelous variety of leaf patterns and small flowers. A few weeks back, during a long and dismal rain storm, I bought several packets of wildflowers and had fun playing in the rain, tossing out seeds at random. The weeds have bloomed and are heavy with seeds. The birds are loving it; the butterflies are returning; and I turn the horses out when everything gets too tall.

I am more excited about my wild-sown seeds than any planned flower beds. There is something totally irrational and fun about it, wondering, "Where will the most flowers reside? What will the mix be?" My logical, gardener mind says, "Oh, no, you'll have to thin them out." The other side says, "That would ruin the magic. Let nature handle it." The last is what I will do. In the future, my gardens will be tended but will also allow for chaos and freedom.

Last week, the wind was up and I sat in bed, watching the grass sway and loving the flowers which are already in bloom. Spring will bring more, I am sure, from these hundreds of seedlings. It is so hard to kill these plants. Being a weed, I have learned, is something of which I can be proud. Some of them refuse to be pulled, even though I soak the ground thoroughly. They break off but the roots are still in place. I know they will grow again and admire their hardiness. I look at them and think I, too, must be tough enough to let go of what I don't need while keeping my roots firmly entrenched. This is the truest beauty of being a weed: they cannot be controlled. We just keep blooming and blooming, bringing an abundance of beautiful, hardy life into an otherwise stark setting. As a creative woman, that is my calling.

ditor-n-hief, Loretta Kemsley.

March 1, 1997

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