firsts (or the joy of the new)

Recently I took a few of the top students in my English class to a non-profit organization dedicated to papermaking, book binding, and letterpress. It was a trip of firsts. My first time leading a field trip, and my first time making paper.

It seems fitting such firsts should bloom as the buds on trees and shrubs everywhere bulge, and daffodils, trout lilies, and the little blue scilla burst.

a student's pulp painted creation

Quite honestly, I never really had an interest in making paper for myself. The trip was planned around the environmental literature we read to connect with the students' environmental science class. Papermaking had always seemed dauntingly messy; it also seemed to require a lot of materials. Where to even begin? Why bother?

If you are anything like me, these thoughts can deter you from trying new creative projects. There is a fear hidden between the silent questions buzzing in the brain. "How do I start? What do I need? What if it doesn't work? Who should I ask to teach me? Which video? Which project? What if I invest in materials and it fails? What if I don't like it?"

As it often does, fear disguises itself in practicality. But today as I watched six teenagers pick up papermaking--watched my own hands making paper--something shifted. A fear I have harbored as a safety railing fell away. The fear of the new was replaced with the thrill of it. The joy of it.

What is that one creative thing you have wanted to try but haven't? What has kept you from it?

Dare to do it in the next couple weeks? Take a class? Watch a video and follow along?

Let's jump into the joy of trying something new!

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poet & writer, artist & teacher, sister & daughter, lover of nature & books. 

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