When I was 9 years old we had a cold snap. I wrote a song about the images I saw in the frost on my window and took it to school where the teacher made the whole class learn it.

The frost on an upstairs window tonight made me think of it. It was the very first creative work I put out into the world, and the positive reception it received gave me confidence to go on creating, to think of myself as a creative person (even if I couldn’t draw a straight line). And even now, when my inner critic is having a go at me, my inner champion will pull this incident forward as evidence for my claim to be an artist.

Around the same time as I wrote my Jack Frost song I entered a school poetry contest. I still remember the poem to this day.

God is a spirit so kind and so good
He said he would help us to do what we should
For he is our maker, and he’s like a dove
So kind and so gentle, he deserves all our love
Remember this infinite, kind, loving God
And pray to him daily
With prayer be ye shod.

Looking back, I think it quite an odd topic for a 9 year old to have chosen. It says a lot about my religious upbringing. My pre-occupation with theological questions continues to this day.

When you think back to your childhood, what is the first creative work you remember? How was it received.

Three morals in this story,

1. We are born with the drive to be creative.

2. The way our early work is received can impact the freedom with which we create in later life.

3. Small acts of encouragement matter.

Yours with creativity and imagination,

Darlene

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