In the moment of creation, we are ageless. We feel both young at heart and old and wise. “Artists work until the end,” my photographer friend Robert said to me yesterday. Yes, they do. This is why retirement from one career— even if it is our major career— is not, by any means, “the end.” Because the act of creating something, anything, renders us timeless, because the act of creation is led by that inner, youthful part of ourselves, we continually reinvent our lives through our art. The capacity to create is as innate as our very life force. I would even say that our creativity and our life force might be one and the same.
Making art of any kind is an alchemical process. Making art, we turn the dross of our life into gold. Making art, we re-create ourselves. When we work on our Memoir, we transform the events of our life into golden adventures. As we write, the ordinary becomes extraordinary; the commonplace becomes special. We transmute our memories into priceless episodes. We make our past present. Moving our hand across the page, we create a handmade life. As we share our perceptions and findings with those we are close to, we give them a window to our world. Often they are amazed—even astonished— by our tales and memories. Often they share their own. As we come to know and appreciate ourselves, we have more to share, and, with more to share, we find our connections with others are deeper and more abundant.
When I revisited my own Memoir, I was interested by some of my early memories that had risen to the surface. When I wrote out my story of trying to eat magical mushrooms, inspired by Alice in Wonderland, it became a cautionary tale for my grandchild, Serafina. Looking back at this adventure, glad my mother had known what to do, I still appreciated my own daring. I could follow the logic of that child who was looking for magic. I could see that, while I do not eat mushrooms from the backyard today, I do still look for magic.