“Heather, you’re not very creative.”
About six years ago, a friend said those words to me. And I just laughed it off. “Haha, I know!”
It wasn’t funny, though.
When I was a kid, I loved reading and writing. In the fifth grade I shared a short story with my teacher after I was inspired by Franklin and the Green Knight (my brother was a toddler at the time and we watched a LOT of Franklin). In middle school we read and saw a stage production of “A Wrinkle in Time” during a sci-fi unit in English class. When we were assigned a few projects related to the sci-f books we read, I was consumed by it. I remember writing a story about sister witches who turn into a tornado at the end. I read “House of Stairs” by William Sleator and created a whole newsletter about the characters and plot. (Check out this blog post by Mari Ness for more info on “House of Stairs” *spoiler warning*) In senior year of high school, I dropped anatomy to take creative writing and wrote an epic poem about a Hawaiian king. I sincerely hope these things are all saved somewhere.
After reading the Magic Tree House book about Ellis Island, I would put my little plastic toy horses into their time machine stable and send them back in time. As an adult, I learned that not everyone had as much fun as I did.
Poetry, song lyrics, stories… I loved words. I was a huge nerd, but to me it just felt normal. My favorite computer game was the castle trivia game on the Magna Carta encyclopedia CD-rom. Do we even say CD-rom anymore?
In middle school and high school, I became very self-conscious about my intelligence. It hurt me when other kids would say, “Wow, you’re so smart.” It didn’t feel like praise; I knew it wasn’t yet couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I felt like an outcast. Other people were smart, so why didn’t it feel okay that I was, too? Being able to read and write is not the tell-all for being “smart” yet those were the things that made me smart and creative, and I let it slip away.
At some point in time, I lost myself. I did not surround myself with people who were similarly creative to me – or if they were, I never knew. It takes a lot of courage to share your thought bubble with others. It’s a raw, sometimes painful part of us.
I have been many things throughout the years, but the first thing I am, at my core, is a creator. And now, with this blog, I am reclaiming myself to share authentically.
Nature is beautifully and wonderfully imperfect; so too is creation. It is magic and mystery and awe inspiring. My creative mind is my happy place.
In the beginning, I will be producing quick content to get used to a flow and rhythm. I’m excited to see my talent develop – the beauty of creation is that you can keep trying and also be satisfied with a work in progress.
My name is Heather and I am the creator of Oak + River Books. Thank you for reading this post – I hope you leave with the knowledge that you can be brave and authentic in whatever creative platform you feel called to.
P.S. Here are a few books I’ve recently read that reminded me it’s okay to follow my own path:
- Alicia Keys – More Myself: A Journey
- Glennon Doyle – Untamed
- Mary Laura Philpott – I Miss You When I Blink