It Doesn’t Have to Look Good

My job demands a fair amount of creative energy, and, for a week or two, I wondered if that was also draining it.

I had, afterall, thought I’d pick up my brushes as soon as I finished my masters a few weeks ago. Instead I waded deeper into the Ministry of encouragement, painting not at all. I celebrated the end of my studies by recruiting kids and teachers at my school into doing community art in the form of Inktober and helping Thing2 purchase a new guitar.

Friday evening, the late fall evening sky was so dense with color and moisture from the rainstorms that had passed during the day that I found myself snapping pictures for most of the carpool ride home. I assumed the power of nature was about to obliterate my creative lull, but less than an hour after I got home, I was asleep on the couch.

Dad and son both play guitar (Thing2, having fully sold his soul to rock-and-roll, plays drums now too), and, on Saturday, Thing2 had little trouble coaxing the Big Guy to come along to a music store to play some very expensive guitars.

I watched the two of them drool over and “test” the guitars and found myself wandering over to the junior guitars. Suddenly I remembered Thing2’s old acoustic which is just about the right size for me. With a little guidance from the Big Guy and a lot of encouragement from both of them, I bought some strings. I said it wouldn’t sound good, but they didn’t care, and neither did I.

When we got home, Thing2 strung the old guitar with the new strings as I blasted out a painting of the previous night in my watercolor journal. It wasn’t going to look good, but for some reason, I didn’t care.

The paint started to dry, and I got a first lesson from the Big Guy and Thing2. The guitar wept (and not gently), but my teachers pushed me to keep going as they demonstrated their best licks. By the time we all decided it was too late to be up, I had produced a passable D chord, a scale, and a mental note to self that none of it has to look or sound good to be good.

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