with my parents at age one

As part of my “Create” motto for this year, I’ve been reading Julia Cameron’s Walking in this World: The Practical Art of Creatively, and I have found her books on creativity most inspiring (more on that some other time). A passage I read this weekend inspired me to just do a simple creative project that had been sitting around for a long time: Finally putting the black and white paper photos I have of my first year of life into the little Italian-paper-bound album I had bought for them.

The passage read, “The creative journey is characterized not by a muzzy and hazy retreat from reality but by the continual sorting and reordering and structuring of reality into new forms and new relationships.” (Julia Cameron, Walking in this World, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2002, p. 137)

What better way to “sort, reorder and structure reality” than to organize a photo album? Thankfully, this one was going to be small enough (it took me about two hours to complete) since my dad took mainly slides, and so the number of actual prints is limited to those he sent to his parents in Germany (my parents lived in New Jersey when I was born) or to later photos, such as the one above, that my grandfather took when we moved to Germany when I was a year old.

As I glued in the photos and, in particular, when I came across two poems on yellowed onion skin that my grandfather had written for me, I was struck by the realization how fortunate I have been to have always had so much love in my life, and that that love was expressed and preserved in such tangible ways that I can touch it again, so many years later, when both my father and grandfather have been dead many years. I also realized, as I tucked those poems into photo corners so they could be taken out again and fingered and read, that I was creating a little birthday present for myself. My birthday comes later this month, and this album is more than an ordered piece of reality, it’s a neat little package of love.

So here’s to little tangible creative projects!