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Thank you, Bob Goff

This is my first assignment in my Dream Big writing class with Bob Goff. He's the author of two life challenging books, Love Does and Everybody Always. I would like to say life changing books, but I need to get my feet dirty before I can claim that. Anyway, here's the post I submitted.


(OK, Bob Goff. Here goes something. I'm not afraid to write. I'm just afraid that when I do, I'll get tagged as something I'm not... Yes. That would be it, I think. But here's my first assignment.).

ASSIGNMENT 1: Artists are a dime a dozen. I mean seriously. Every five year old knows they are a great artist. Just ask them. I know this because there has been many a mom who will bring her five year old to watch me paint at the studio. I have crayons, markers and paper for any kids who want to come draw with me. Inevitably, Mom will say, “Hey sweetie, maybe Lydia could give you an art lesson. “ They continue drawing and say, “I already KNOW how to draw.” I can even mouth it with them now and wink at their mama. That’s fine by me. I have no desire to teach art, really. I’m just finally learning to be a kid. Teaching is a grown up thing.

But I’m beginning to see a pattern about all the Junior Geniuses. If I give them a a few pieces of paper (one is never enough), they look longingly at the whole stack. They would happily make their mark on the whole ream. They would not feel the least bit guilty. And they would be TOTALLY confident that what they did was worth showing the world.

The next part of the pattern is that they will invariably give me the best one. This blows me away. I make sure they sign it and they watch me put it up on the wall like all the paintings. I tell them I’m going to leave it up all day to inspire me.

The last thing I notice is that what they really want to do is paint on my canvas. They’re pretty sure they can do what I do. They see what they want to see and they want it to be there on my canvas, painted with my brushes, using my paint. I could give them their own kid paint, but I don’t think they’d like it nearly as much. They want the real thing.

I was never really a kid growing up. I was way too serious. I laughed easily, but never really felt free to just play. I was super talented at pretty much anything creative and not very teachable, really. But now, I’m trying to be more childlike. To be honest, I know that’s the only way I’ll ever produce any really good art.

I want to go through paint with a wild sense of wonder instead of thinking about how much a tube of alizarin crimson costs.

I want to give away the best ones because that’s what kids do. Maybe that’s why we want to sell our art. We say to ourselves that we must make a living or that selling means we’re being taken seriously. But really, I think I love selling art because it means someone likes it and wants to put it up on their wall. It blows me away every time.

And I want to paint on the Master’s canvas and use his stuff – the good stuff. Because when I look at what He’s doing it makes me imagine what could happen and I want to do it too.

I’m nowhere close to being as free as a five year old. I’m way too grown up. I say things like, “You’ll never be famous.” I tell myself, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” Or my all time whine, “Lord, why am I even here?” But there’s this kid in me that keeps trying to get out and paint the impossible just because I want to. The kid looks at me when I struggle and say “I can’t” or when I stare at the canvas afraid or too depressed to start. She stares at me in confusion.

I seriously hope she’ll win.

©2020 Lydia D Crouch

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