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  • Writer's pictureBenita Garvin


"Writing is the painting of the voice" according to Voltaire - and I happen to agree.

After decades writing in Hollywood, I hit a wall. Every idea, every bit of energy, all originality was simply gone.

What I did, and what I like to do, is get out of LA. Get a change of scenery. In this instance, it was upstate New York, the Catskills. My husband and I stayed with our friends who have a small farmhouse and hung out there. By that time, I had already was using a Kindle, but lying in bed one morning, my eye rested on a book on the shelf. Patti Smith's "Just Kids." I'd been thinking about reading it but hadn't gotten around to it. I picked it up that morning and didn't put it down until that evening when I'd finished it.

I'd been looking for another outlet for my creativity. I had no idea what it would be. The last thing, literally, that came to my was art. I was shit at art. I couldn't draw a straight line as I've said so many times before my art teacher said "that's what rulers are for." I'd never taken any art with the exception of 6th grade when I was taught to weave a basket. I loved the idea of being TERRIBLE at something. I always wanted - and expected - to be good. But since I never had so much as a fantasy about painting, it didn't matter. I wanted to do it for ME!!

That was eight years ago. Once I picked up a paint brush, I never put it down. Except to write, teach, eat (of course), sleep, etc. But I've painted a LOT in the last eight years. And I've grown a LOT. I've even been in shows and sold paintings!

Beyond the joy of finding a new creative outlet, it made me a better writer. It also made me love and appreciate writing even more. It made me read more. Pay closer attention to the world around me.

The greatest lesson I learned is that one creative endeavor feeds another. Get out of your goddamn comfort zone. Pick up an instrument. Or a pencil.. Do something you've never done before. Take a class. Or watch a YouTube video.

It's the best gift you will give yourself.

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