I spent some time yesterday painting an unfinished drawing of a few monsters frolicking in the forest. I was just flipping through my journal when I found the drawing and decided to take out my paint set.
The boy was enraptured. So was the girl. They wanted to see the monsters, they wanted to roar and to touch and to see. Something about the monsters on the page lit up a light with in them.
They wanted to help draw, they wanted to paint, too. I took out their paints (instead of mama's nice paints) and let them play around with color and brushes. Ivy spoke a new word. "Paint! Paint!" I also showed them the other drawings I had in the journal, the monsters who I had ignored for the last 6,7,8 months.
It turns out the wild roaring of those monsters will not be silenced by the time or the closed journal. They want to be let out of the cage of mama's busy little head. They want to come back. They want to have more monster buddies to play with.
I wonder if those little monsters I drew for the kids actually have more of a connection to the little monster inside me. Who are they? Nightmares? Defenders? An expression of our own inner power? Maybe they are just about fun and the wild rumpus. It's fun to yell and stomp and dance about, despite what you are "supposed to do."
And then maybe watching the reaction of my kids to my old drawing is an affirmation of something that I knew already but had doubted, and tossed away. There it is: another discovery in how mothering affects our art in surprising ways. I am a monster myself, who has sneaky little desires that will not lay down quietly and go to sleep, and I see myself in my children. And I see myself anew through their eyes.
I have decided that it's time to dust off the old goal of going public with my art, to try and make some money off the work that I have been doing almost my whole life. I think it's the monsters who want to be seen, and to be shared with children of all ages who love the idea of the monster inside.