Baking, child-rearing, woodworking, writing: creativity takes countless forms, with infinite variations. There are also similarities that cross the gamut of forms. Process and product are extremely personal. Don’t insult a child without expecting the parent to feel wounded. If your hosts decorated their home with love, don’t disparage it and expect to be invited back.
Creation can be intensely frustrating and a source of intense joy. Almost every form of creativity is both craft and art. You have to know the mechanics of what you’re doing. You also have to know when to get out of the way and let the muse take over.
And when you are done, your child will walk out into the world alone. You can only watch and hope for the best. You’ve done what you could, and none of it guarantees what will happen next. Surprises and disappointments are out of your hands.
Some years ago I Googled my name to see what popped up. Alongside the more predictable sites was one by two gay guys in Amsterdam, Jean and Marc. They posted an elaborate array of racy photographs and tourist tips. Huh? Examining the site in detail, I finally found a link to an article on Amsterdam that I’d written years earlier for Compton’s Encyclopedia, with my name in the citation. Don’t bother looking; the Compton’s article no longer gives my name and so far as I can tell, Jean’s and Marc’s site no longer exists. But I think of them often when I reflect how little you can foresee what will happen after your baby goes out into the world.
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.