Listening © 1991 Aliyah Marr

Listening © 1991 Aliyah Marr

One day when I was fourteen years old, I decided that I was an artist. I didn’t know what kind of artist I would be, so I tried everything.

Like most children, I was an avid consumer of culture — I was addicted to TV and read incessantly. By the age of fourteen, I was reading up to three books a day. To read that fast, one has to have learned to skim content: I wasn’t enjoying reading anymore, I was just looking for a distraction to fill my time.

On this day, I decided to stop watching TV. It wasn’t easy, for my family was still watching. I secluded myself in my bedroom and faced my desire to make something. The blank canvas before me was myself, I just didn’t know it at the time.

Then, about a year later, I had quit my compulsive reading as well: I replaced it with writing. I wrote several short stories and a lot of poems.

Those two decisions changed my life; I was no longer just a consumer, I was a creative. Instead of consuming what someone else wanted to feed me, I was cooking my own creations. Of course, it took me a long time to build skills, subtlety, and confidence, but the decision that I already was an artist is what forever changed me.

I still don’t know what I will be when I grow up, but the joy I experience as a creative is incredible. When one of my works succeeds in communicating something to someone else, maybe even to the point of changing their lives, then I am content.

I experience everything as a creative opportunity, even limitations or obstacles. While I can no longer define myself, I know that at heart my life is simply an expression of the creative force, in whatever form it chooses to take. I have surrendered my life to this force, so that in whatever role I find myself — speaker, teacher, artist, writer, designer — that beautiful current flows through me and inspires a life rich in thought and creative opportunities.

Copyright 22010 Aliyah Marr