Mary Grace van der Kroef is a poet, writer, and artist from Ontario, Canada. She enjoys the simple things in life, like a good cup of coffee, or heart to heart talks with friends. She uses her writing to highlight those simple things, to encourage others, and to explore her own inner world.
She is a follower of Jesus Christ and writes from a Christian worldview.
She believes every person, regardless of circumstance, is a creative being who's stories are important. She cherishes people's differences, as they are in their daily life walk, and believes diverse stories are imperative to understanding what it is to be human.
There is power in poetic verse. Words roll off the tongue like music and lose us in the sway of emotions that flood each word. But what about the messages hidden within poetry?
There are many ways to hide truths and or lies behind emotions. Often poetry takes us on a path we don’t control and we discover answers to questions along the way. But not always. If the engine that drives a piece is emotion, it’s inevitable that the author will sometimes get it wrong. After all, we need many more things than love to survive this world, and those that love should definitely still use the phrase, “I’m sorry.” Still, poetry has at one time taught us these things as truth.
How do we sift through the half-formed thoughts, fragmented ideas, and coloured emotions of poetry? Is it worth it? It is, especially when the poet speaks to us of their own personal story, with words that journey to understanding.
I say, you will never find gold if you are not first willing to sift the rivers for it. Maybe that is what a poet is. A prospector, braving the cold river of emotion, the pan of language in hand, searching the sediment of life for nuggets of truth. Will we find gold? Or pyrite? Or nothing but unwanted rocks?
You will never know until you are willing to jump in that river or start a poetic journey. The key is to understand it’s a journey, and a fragment of a journey, not a whole.
I thank God every day for the gift of the written word, and the gems I have found in the gift of poetry. But I also know, not every word I write is truth. They are expressions of emotion. I am also aware that the things I believe in this moment will change, as it should. Life is continually teaching us. A person who stays the same is a person who never grows.
I pray I can grow with open eyes and mind, ready for the truth, but also aware of the lies. For searching for both is necessary for growth.
Sometimes I feel like an overturned cup of confetti… Until I remember cups are for holding liquid, not everyone else’s bits and pieces. Confetti wants to be thrown around, shared, and bring colour to the world.
Remember, it’s okay to throw those bits around, as long as you clean up after the party is over.
A sound that speaks of acceptance, success, and lifts a smile across determined cheeks.
More clicks trumpet growth as the tower of color grows.
“One, two, three, four, five.”
Hesitation. What color next? Repeat the pattern? Mix it up? A finger taps lips in thought as eyes shine.
It’s just right and belongs above yellow. Plastic screams as hands stir the bin of blocks. It’s a symphony of possibility that makes an adult’s ears bleed, as a child listens to undertones and knows plastic grows.
We store away our children’s crap paper drawings as if they were masterpieces. Maybe not all of them, but the few that hold sentimental meaning. But with our own art, whether written word, the stroke of a paintbrush, or a photograph of a first cake decorating session, we push them to the back cupboard, or even throw them away.
Making room for a new and better isn’t wrong, but maybe we should hang on to one or two of those learning pieces. Treasuring them like we do the scribbles and hand paintings of childhood.
Undoubtedly your first works hold mistakes, just as mine do. So why keep any of them? Why show any of them to anyone?
They are beautiful examples of growth.
How often do you get discouraged in your creative life, and need a reminder of just how far you have come? How many times do you need help to keep your feet on the ground? Or encouragement to not give up? Keeping, and even displaying the art made while in the first stages of learning can be these powerful reminders.
Above is a picture of my first 4 foot by 2 foot painting. I wanted to stretch myself and see how different it was to paint a larger piece. The water was FAR from what I was going for…
So when I finished, what did I do with it? I hung it in on my kitchen wall, and every time I looked up at it, I thought about what I would do differently next time. (Now it’s hanging in my sister’s cabin because she is crazy and loves it.) I learned so much from just looking at it every day for over a year.
Everyone was once a beginner. No one has yet ‘arrived’ at perfection. So cherish those sloppy first strokes and overused words. Let them shine a light on your future creative path.