This article is part of an ongoing series where we feature the skills and talents of our own KWA Members. Ann Fell’s work blends seamlessly her own experiences with her creative outpourings. In the following, she attempts to explain exactly how she does this so effortlessly. We hope you are as inspired as we were.
The Creative Life
I write my life. Since the age of ten when I wrote my first story and was instantly hooked, I have been infected with a mysterious contagion for which there is no cure. Writing stories, poems, novel manuscripts and memoirs has been part of my life ever since. Yet I don’t live to write. I live. And I write. I write my life.
Through young adulthood, curiosity led me to question things. Whether any purposeful meaning existed or not, I asked, “What does this mean? Why am I here? What am I to do with my life?”
The search for answers helped sharpen my powers of observation until nearly everything held metaphorical parallels to some facet of the human condition. I watched a moose lunge exhausted through shoulder-deep snow and I learned the dangers of choosing an easy path. I stood in a downpour and heard the rain plummet from heaven in one step of the water cycle. And it spoke to me of cycles in life. I watched a family of ducks chase madly from one point to another and back again and I saw human fads and opinions mirror the whimsical parade of a flock of ducks. I watched my best friend waste away in a losing battle with cancer and I understood how the growing demands of humanity sap the vitality of our home planet in a similar fashion. Meadowlarks leapt into the wind so they might gain lift and fly away. And I learned I could not hide from life. I must face my own torrential gale of events if I am ever to find the answers to my questions. Messages from the universe arrived on the dust of a sun beam and the wings of the wind. As a writer, my task became one of interpretation, to paint in words the messages which I heard.
Too restless to be able to handle writing at my desk for hours at a time, I discovered that “The Writing Life” was not for me. Rather, “The Creative Life” seemed a better term. What is a creative life? Just as a blank page begs a poet to fill it with thoughts which will touch a heart, or a computer screen winks with invitation to a novelist, a canvas beckons an artist to paint images that will coax emotion from viewers. A chunk of granite calls a sculptor to release the figure trapped within. An ordinary scene invites a photographer to transform its image into beauty with a camera lens. A composer looks at a blank musical score and hears a new symphony. A plot of land begs management that will develop its natural beauty. An empty house is an opportunity for unique self-expression. And the minutes of each new day invite me to follow my heart and fill those minutes well so that at dusk, I can say, “I wrote my life well today.”
To answer the any one of these invitations is to live The Creative Life. By filling empty spaces with an art form of our passions, we bridge the void from the rest of the universe to the human heart. So I write my life. I may take to the Flint Hills of Kansas with my camera strapped to my shoulder. I may arrange a beautiful melody for the participation and enjoyment of a crowd of people. Or I may fill empty pages with metaphors. What emerges is truth. Or fiction. Or a combination of both. After all, someone may need the message delivered on this dawn’s breeze.
After twenty-five years as a teacher and piano technician, Ann Fell returned in earnest to writing two years ago. Inspired by her family, nature, music, and pianos, she has published articles in KANSAS!, OURS by adoption, The Piano Technician’s Journal, and various newspapers across the state. Currently working on a book length memoir and a suspense novel, she received awards in three different categories in the 2011 KWA Writer’s contest with samples from these works-in-progress.