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The Most Important Job

As an artist, my life is dedicated to creating. I always have been driven to create, in large part I think because the things I make are my way of communicating with myself, other people, and other.

Bathing in the elusive, clear, cold river of inspiration is a humbling and wonderful feeling, and is the true reward for any artist. That feeling of being a vessel for a creation to arrive through from somewhere else, rather than the source.

dancingkidsI have never felt this feeling of channeling pure creative energy more strongly than when I look at my children.

I joke with them sometimes, telling them they have to do what I say or I’ll “turn them back into star dust and black holes!” like I was their creator of sorts, but they know I’m kidding. There has never been any question about the fact that I have never felt that I “made” them. It always seemed very obvious to me that I was simply a vehicle for their arrival, and continue to be sort of a bus that they climb on and off as they gather the experiences they need to develop and expand.

It’s an intimidating job driving this bus, and it’s easy to get down on myself when I make mistakes.

But once in a while I’m reminded that all in all I’m doing a good job, and I grab onto these moments like I just found a life raft while swimming in a seething, stormy ocean – because, really, that’s what parenting is. When there is a clear sign that I am succeeding as a mom, it gives me a creative and emotional boost like no other, and helps me direct creative energy where it is most needed. It helps me be a better artist.

This story that Arwen wrote in class recently is one of those life rafts. When I read it, tears sprang to my eyes as I saw myself through my daughter’s eyes. She saw the effect her words had and was gleeful – she knew what she wrote would make me “happy cry,” as we call it. She hugged me and laughed, and said “it’s true, Mama!”

My living, breathing masterpiece has given me this gift and I will keep it forever. It is love.

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 Austin artist Rachel Dory is known for her site-specific urban and rural landscape paintings.