Friday, January 23, 2015

Process: Writing Children’s Books

Process: Writing Children’s Books (한국어는 아래에 있습니다.)

1. Fear and Performance.
2. Fear of Evaluation and Judgement.
3. Comforting children versus being Avant Garde, cutting edge and cool.

My sabbatical has officially started. And I have fear. I have had this fear for the last year. It started when I was awarded sabbatical in January of 2014. The sabbatical was given for my intention to write children’s books about multiculturalism. And that was important to me. So I was good about this. Even though it scared me. But then something unexpected happened. 

I was celebrating the joy of receiving sabbatical with my “sabbatical dance”, Eli asked me what I was so happy about. So I explained to him what sabbatical was and what my topic was. He immediately asked me if he could be my helper. I immediately said yes.

Then the fear kicked in. Why? Because in that moment, I bypassed being a writer, artist, designer, and I became a mother. A mother who wanted to create an experience of wonder and creativity. Of open mindedness and collaboration. Do you know what kind of a hoarder I am when it comes to creativity? I want complete control and domination. I exaggerate. But not really.

So whenever I thought about this children’s book, a part of me would shut down. It was because I was shushing myself. 
Don’t think about your needs. Think about Eli and what kind of an experience you want to create for him. You are a control freak. How are you going to teach Eli about collaboration if you don’t want to or know how to? 
Am I hard on myself? You bet I am.

I have been talking about writing this children’s book for a year now. And yet I lived in fear. Until one day recently I was having brunch with a new group of friends and the idea of the oxygen mask came up. Ahhhhhh. “In case of an emergency, please put on your own oxygen mask first.” You cannot help others when you yourself cannot breathe. Ah. So that’s why I felt like I was drowning all this time. Time to put on my own oxygen mask on first.

So I put my oxygen mask on. I got rid of my “you must do this and you should do that” list. It goes something like this:
You must start what you finished. (You must finish that one idea that you started a year ago. Even if you have other ideas that you want to pursue right now. What will you be teaching Eli about follow through?) You must think about the big lesson of these books. It is about multiculturalism after all and there is so much we have to learn about this. (Which makes for a dry, preachy book.) You should probably use your hands in the “making” aspect of the book instead of doing something digital so that it feels rich and personal. I know you want to comfort little kids, but you are a visual artist after all and you should think about what is edgy, cool and even Avant Garde.
So I got rid of all these should and musts. I looked through all my writing so far and let my curiosity guide me. And then I did what I was fearing the most: drawing. More specifically, the depiction of people of color. (But that is another story.) And would you believe it, I had a break through within a week. Seriously. I shared my idea with Eli and he loves it. We are well on our way to collaborate. We are now like two fish in the water: playful, experimenting and having lots of fun. The weight of “doing something that is really important” has been replaced with love and joy.

So I go back to my mantra for the last few years: Love and Joy. (Because I know how to work hard, and I know how to be hard on myself.) I collaborate with Eli with love and joy. If there is no love or joy in the process, then something is not right. 

Love and joy. Like air and water. Essential and sometimes invisible.

과정: 아이들을 위한 만들기

1. 잘할 있을까에 대한 두려움.
2. 평가에 대한 두려움.
3. 아이들을 위로할 있는 작품이 아방가르드한 작품일 있을까에 대한 두려움.

(군복을 벗은 장군인 듯한 내 삶이지만, 무서운 것이 아직도 이렇게 많은 우습다.)

안식년이 공식적으로 시작했다. 하지만 두려움밖에는 없는 같다. 2014 1월에 다문화 아동에 관한 책을 만들겠다는 의도를 바탕으로 안식년을 받게 되었고, 중요한 일을 하게 것은 반가운 일이었다. 걱정도 많았지만 반가운 일이었다. 공부할 거리도 많고, 정리할 생각도 많았지만, 안식년에 대한 이메일을 받자마자 뜻하지 않은 일이 일어났다.

엄마, 그렇게 즐거워? 내가안식년 댄스 나의 기쁨을 만끽하고 있자, 우리 아들이 질문한다. 안식년은 무엇이고, 엄마가 하고자 하는 일은 무엇인지 아이에게 설명한다. 그러자 아이는 당장, “엄마, 나도 도울 있어?”하고 물어본다. 생각지도 않고, “물론이지!”라고 나는 대답한다.

순간 나는 쓰는 , 미술가, 디자이너의 옷을 벗고 엄마가 되어버린다. 아이에게 신기한 창조의 경험, 다른 사람과 같이 일하는 방법 등을 경험하게 해주고 싶은 마음이 성큼성큼 앞장서 버렸다

나는 무엇인가를 만들어 나갈 , 엄청난 집중력으로 독재 아닌 독재를 한다. 그런데 아이, 그것도 아이랑 어떻게 보람찬 일을 함께할 있을까 걱정이 된다

아이들을 위한 만들기 고민은 하면 당장 먼저 나타나는 부분들: “ 생각을 하면 . 아이를 고려해서 그가 무엇을 어떻게 경험할 것인가를 생각해야지. 내가 하고 싶은 것이 있어도, 아이가 좋아하면, 아이가 하고 싶은 데로 해야지 되지 않을까? 경험이 아이에게 상처가 되면 되니까.” 이와 동시에 드는 생각: “최첨단의 멋진 책을 만들고 싶은 마음. 뭔가 세련되고, 앞서가고, 아방가르드한 그것. 어떻게 하면 잘했다고 소문날까?” 주인은 간데없고, 손님만 가득한 집에서 사는 느낌이랄까.

비행기 안에서 비상시 산소마스크가 내려오면, 옆에 있는 사람을 돕기 이전에 자신의 산소마스크부터 써야 한다던데. 아무리 사랑하는 사람이 옆에 있어도, 내가 의식을 잃으면 옆에 있는 사람을 도울 없기 때문이다. 나도 나의 산소마스크부터 서야 했나 보다. , 그래서 지난 년간 숨이 쉬어졌나 보다.

나의 산소마스크는책임감대신에사랑과 기쁨으로 일을 하기다. 책임감은 무겁고, 실수를 두려워하고, 위아래가 분명한 같다. 사랑과 기쁨은 공기와 물처럼 생명 유지에 절대적으로 필요하지만, 때로는 눈으로 없는 그것. 가볍고, 햇살을 반영하고 식물과 동물이 있는 터전을 마련하고. 사랑과 기쁨으로 일하기. 순간순간을 사랑과 기쁨으로 일하련다.

No comments:

Post a Comment