When I was teaching I used to take my students to the World Ice Art Championships every year. Once I started writing full-time the ice carving displays slipped from my mind until this year when I decided to head down to the River to check them out. Experts come from all over the world to carve. They work with 3 foot by 5 foot by 8 foot blocks of ice that weigh about 10,000 pounds cut from local ponds .
These days I put most of my creative energy into writing. But in the recent past I’ve done some basket-making
and canoe building.
Both of these projects resulted from grants I’d written for a summer program that my former employer runs for at risk children. I was able to hire a local expert who worked with me to see these projects through to completion. I was fortunate that the school I worked for was very supportive of special projects, and I was able to create some projects that both engaged the students and fed my own creativity.
When I was doing those projects I wasn’t doing a lot of writing but I’m sure they helped my writing, especially the canoe building because it pushed me into new territory, showed me I could do something that I’d never done before. We did lots of problem solving as we encountered difficulties we hadn’t anticipated, kind of like writing a novel. For a while, every time we tried to bend the ribs in place they’d break.