The wee crayon voice

July 7, 2011

Authenticity, Creativity

I read this little gem of a phrase in Hugh MacLeod’s incredible book, Ignore Everybody. The wee crayon voice. The words jumped off the page. We owe it to ourselves to listen carefully.

In kindergarten, they give you a pile of crayons and tell you to go for it. No rules. Just create something. Be free. Show your stuff. Your five-year-old inner voice says, yee-ha!

(My niece is driven to draw constantly, using whatever is around. If that means paper stolen from the printer and a linty ballpoint pen from the depths of my purse, no problem. She is unstoppable.)

Soon, school becomes different. There are lots of rules telling us to read this and write this and do it just like this. No, not like that, like this. Conformity means success. (And I was really successful.)

The wee crayon voice gets smushed, lost in a cacophony of louder, bigger voices telling you exactly what to do and rewarding you for doing it the “right” way. And it’s all just training for the working world where you’ll get more of the same.

But the wee voice still lives, still fights, and eventually, she will make herself heard.

Whispering: Make something new. Create something unique and meaningful. Be free. Put forth something that is just exactly what you want it to be without giving a moment’s consideration to what the outside voices will say.

I’m so glad that Hugh’s mind conceived the wee crayon voice. It’s the perfect little metaphor. She is small and perfect and powerful. She existed before anything else. She is me.


Image: bree

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