Happy Saturday! Amy Sorensen here. I just returned from a ten-day trip to Italy, and one of the lingering thoughts I've had revolves around being inspired. Where do the ideas behind art come from? How are we influenced by the art that is already around us, and by the things we've learned both through education and through living? How does what we've previously created drive what we are working on now?
And while of course scrapbook journaling is almost nothing like, say, Michelangelo's Unfinished Slaves, there still is something similar, the spark for self-expression that is more permanent than a conversation. I came home from Italy, having seen some of the world's most famous paintings, sculptures, and architecture, brimming with inspiration for things to write about.
Art always inspires expression in the viewer, I believe.
So it is with scrapbooking, too.
One of my favorite things about looking through a new gallery here is the ideas all those layouts inspire in me. Not things I want to copy detail for detail, but starting spots. "I never thought about it quite that way," I'll realize, reading something someone has journaled about. And then, having the place to start, I'm off on my own exploration of the new idea.
Take this layout from Cristina:
In her notes about the layout, she wrote how she was dreaming about more than the weather. Not just a snowy Christmas, but a snowy one with family. The layout and her notes made me think: what do I dream about in relation to Christmas? This was a new thought for me, as so much of Christmas is me trying to fulfill other people's dreams (namely, of course, my kids'). I pondered a bit and realized that my attempts at holiday perfection (such as it is!) are motivated by a wish to give my kids strong and happy memories of their childhood Christmases because my own memories bring me so much happiness.
Then I wrote some journaling about what I was thinking.
I don't have a photo yet to go with this journaling. I'll be sure to have someone take it this year at Christmas—a picture of me and my mom on Christmas day. (Maybe holding a plate of divinity, if I'm lucky!) That's the thing with being inspired by others. You don't know exactly where it will take you, and sometimes it's to an incomplete (for now) place. But if you let it, the creativity of others will push you to write something you wouldn't have any other way. And that's another form of magic.
(In case you wanted to read it, here is the journaling that Cristina's layout inspired, in lieu of the actual layout:)
One of my strongest childhood memories: I was sitting in the front room reading a book, and my mom was in the kitchen talking to a friend on the phone, and she said something about how she was dreading the holidays. I don't think she said she hated Christmas, but it came as a huge revelation to me that my mom didn't love the holidays. I couldn't understand it at all, in fact. What was there not to love? Because I was a kid, all I saw about December were the things I loved: the anticipation, the decorations, the presents. (Also my own little ritual: the snooping!) And the divinity.
My mom made awesome divinity.
It wasn't until I was a grown up with kids and my own Santa Claus duties that I finally understood what my mom meant. And while playing Santa is one of my favorite parts of being a parent, let's just throw it out there: it's a ton of work. (I start having dreams, in fact, at the end of the summer, in which I realize Christmas is tomorrow and I haven't bought any gifts yet, and even Target is closed, and then I wake up with anxiety making adrenaline burn down my legs.) The shopping, wrapping, hiding, and worrying that go into the gifts are just one part—there's also the baking, and the neighbor gifts, and visiting Santa and taking family pictures and mailing cards, and trying to fit in sweet, special moments, and...everything else. I think I feel a little bit differently than Mom did, because while I know I'll be exhausted I never, ever dread it.
But I understand.
In fact, Mom's efforts are one of the reasons I work so hard to make Christmas magical for my kids. Because even after I knew who Santa was (at the far-too-young age of five) and even knowing how she felt about it, Christmas was always good. But even better, now, is remembering how Christmas felt—and that is why I do all the work. So that one day, Haley, Jake, Nathan, and Kaleb will be able to remember how Christmas felt, and draw happiness and goodness from those memories.