Firestarter Friday: goodbye isn’t the end

A rabbit, santa and assorted small paintings, all done by Susan Dolan.

I could — and occasionally d0 — go on about all the wonderful benefits of creative expression. It doesn’t matter what your hobby of choice is. Theater, music, writing, cooking, art and craft all create positive impact in your life. You build on your current skill set and learn new things. Negative stresses in your life can be alleviated with a positive outlet. Overall, your hobbies can make you a happier and more well-rounded person.

It’s easy to overlook how art helps us transcend impermanent parts of our lives. Everything about us and our lives is subject to change. Families grow, friendships dissipate and people leave. But when you share your talents with the people you are close to, you leave an indelible mark on them. You can probably think of examples of this in your life. I have a binder full of ATCs and a stack of prints collected from friends I went to college with who now live all over the globe. About a year ago, a friend emailed me with a request. I had cooked her my curried tomatoes and she remembered them well enough to ask for the recipe — 8 years later.

When the inevitable happens and someone leaves for good, their work stays. Somehow, that can make losing a friend or mentor a bit less bitter. Last year, Susan Dolan, one of my high school teachers passed away. It was a surprise to me. Through a chain of fortunate events, I got to help with a memorial fundraiser in her honor. The night of the auction was a bit surreal. The last time I was in the school gallery, I was setting up my senior exhibition — with her help. Now I was looking at her final works, some incomplete. She had planned on one more gallery show. And despite the obvious reason for a somber show, it was actually a light and fun event. Besides the money raised, the best part was listening to all the guests talk about what piece of art they bought from her or which painting they remembered most. Hearing what they had to say was a testament to the lasting impression her creations left on people.

When you take the time to create something, no matter how small, it has the potential to be around for a really long time. A tiny craft could end up being someone’s favorite. So make sure you take the time to do your best work.

Susan Dolan's horse. A beautiful example of art living on past it's creator.

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