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The Creative Process (A Step by Step Guide) Repost

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Howdy, folks! It seems I’ve temporarily come out of retirement to do a couple of small painting jobs. I painted all day yesterday, and will be painting most of the day today. Creative writing must temporarily take a backseat to other creative endeavors–the kind that I actually get paid for. Hope you don’t mind leftovers. For those of you who missed this post the first time around, here’s a glimpse into how my mind works. Be afraid….be very afraid

(Subtitled: Why my laundry still isn’t finished)

With the full understanding that leaving the house today is on the agenda, you decide to wear something a bit more formal than the fuzzy polka dot pajama pants and the bright green “Whose Your Daddy?” t-shirt.

Attempts to find a pair of clean jeans prove futile. Instead, you hastily decide on a pair of red cotton capris circa 2001 and a peasant type t-shirt the same color as Oscar the Grouch. A gigantic claw hair clip and black flip flops complete the ensemble. Make a mental note that the laundry fairy has ignored numerous requests. Drastic measures must be taken.    

After “errands”, i.e. – getting your kids out of the house before they drive you to drink, you reluctantly return home and begin tackling the huge piles of laundry.    

Lots of random things happen, you manage to wash and dry 2 loads of whites and 2 loads of jeans. Hang up jeans and begin sorting underwear and socks.    

End up with an inordinately high number of mismatched socks. Suspect the dog has found a “special place” for their sock mates.    

Decide to put the socks in a basket on top of the dryer. Hate this idea because how are you supposed to remember which socks are in there? You may throw their sockmate right in the same basket, and that ain’t right.

Begin to feel bad for the socks. Serenade the socks with the 3 Dog Night Hit, “One”. “One… the loneliest number that you’ll ever know. Two can be as bad as one, it’s the loneliest number since the number one, Ahhhh Ewwww!”    


Frustrated that you have no fabulous ideas about how to store the socks until reunited with their drawer mates, your mind begins to wander…    

You notice a metal sign that you bought at Ross on the clearance aisle a couple of months ago. It says “Children are the anchors that hold a mother’s heart.” Which you hate, because it reminds you of that children’s book “The Giving Tree”, which makes you want to leg drop that selfish little kid/man in that book. But, it was 2 bucks, and there’s no law saying you have to keep that dumb saying on there once you own it free and clear, now is there?    

Get the Goo-Off and scraper from your handy dandy tool bag and get to gettin’ on that quote. Oh, yeah. At this point, the wheels are turning in that little ADD mind of yours. You have begun the actual labor portion of the creative process.    


While the Goo-Off soaks in a bit, you manage to get the SWSO’s (socks with significant others) and the miscellaneous unmentionables (underwear) safely to their assigned drawers. (HA! Underwear humor.)    

Over the next 2 days, hem and haw over what kind of lettering you want to use on your “sock sign”. Waste an incredible amount of time and energy on this.    

Finally decide on the size and type of lettering. Print out new quote, and put on sign using a stylus and transfer paper. Fill in letters with paint pen. Clear coat.    

Hot glue clothespins to sign.    

Hang sign above dryer, hang sock singles on clothespins.    

Stand back and admire your work. You are pleased, but something is missing.

 More random things happen — New Year’s Eve party, etc.    

Friends come over for dinner. You show them your work. Since they are weird like you, they like the sign very much.    

Moments later, one of your friends gives you an idea that will be the “piece de la resistance” to your sock sign.    

After your friends leave, you immediately begin working on the final piece of your sign. It takes only a few minutes, but you are well pleased.    


As a matter of fact, you’d go so far as to say that it was…


(Oh, come on. You knew that was coming!)

Sorry/you’re welcome!

The Giving Tree I’d Like to read

There are days here at HLAC where I will tell you a story and attempt to convey an important lesson or biblical truth.

This is not one of those days.

If you’ve been following along for more than a few months, you are well aware that I am NOT a fan of Shel Silverstein’s book The Giving Tree. The following is not an attempt to address what I feel is a warped and self-serving view of God. It’s just me being snarky…

The Giving Tree
By Katdish

Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy. And every day the boy would come and he would gather her leaves and make them into crowns and play king of the forest. He would climb up her trunk and swing from her branches and eat apples. And they would play hide-and-seek. And when he was tired, he would sleep in her shade. And the boy loved the tree…very much. And the tree was happy.

But time went by. And the boy grew older. And the tree was often alone. Then one day the boy came to the tree and the tree said, “Come, Boy, come and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and eat apples and play in my shade and be happy.”

“I am too big to climb and play,” said the boy. “I want to buy things and have fun. I want some money. Can you give me some money?”

“I’m sorry,” said the tree, “but I have no money, I have only leaves and apples. Take my apples, Boy, and sell them in the city. Then you will have money, but don’t be fooled into believing that money will make you happy, or that it’s okay to simply take from one who provides for you without any sense of gratitude. Because while I give you these apples as a gift, how you use this gift will speak volumes to me and the rest of the world about your character. And so the boy climbed up the tree and gathered her apples and carried them away. And the tree was hopeful.

But the boy stayed away for a long time…and the tree was disappointed. And then one day the boy came back and the tree was happy to see him and she said, “Come, Boy, climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and be happy.”

“I am too busy to climb trees,” said the boy. “I want a house to keep me warm. I want a wife and I want children, and so I need a house. Can you give me a house?”

“I have no house,” said the tree. “The forest is my house. What did you do with the money you made from selling the apples? Did you squander that money away on yourself? Did you do anything with that money to help anyone else?…I will take your silence to mean that you did much of the former and none of the latter. Had you given freely to someone else as I have given freely to you, I was prepared to offer my branches to you in order that you might build a house for yourself. But clearly, you have learned nothing about gratitude and are still the selfish little boy that I knew so many years ago. So sorry – you’re on your own.” And the boy was not happy, but the tree had had enough.

And the boy stayed away for a long time. And when he came back, the tree said, “Come, Boy. Come and play.”

I am too old and sad to play,” said the boy. “I want a boat that can take me far away from here. Can you give me a boat?”

“CAN I GIVE YOU A BOAT?!? What have you been doing for the past 60 years? Have you spent your life as a human parasite living off the generosity of others while offering nothing in return? And finally, at the end of your miserable existence when everyone else has refused you, you have the audacity to come here and ask me for a boat? A boat my ASS!”

And the boy hung his head. After all of those years he realized how he had wasted his entire life trying to make himself happy. Thinking the world revolved around him. And he realized what a complete tool he had been. And he hugged the tree and thanked her for all she had done for him. This time he was truly grateful and truly remorseful. And he asked if she would be so kind as to allow him to be buried underneath her so that he could be close to the only one that had ever loved him.

And then he died.

The End.

Why I hate "The Giving Tree" and why I love this blog

Okay – I’m going to fess up here. I’ve been super busy lately, and I was simply going to do a repost for today. So I was looking through some of my old posts and found one of my favorites: The Creative Process: A Step by Step Guide. If you’re new here and haven’t read it, I would highly recommend doing so. It’s me at my raging ADD best.

Now, where was I? Oh, yes! So I search my blog and find the post. Now, don’t get me wrong, I crack myself up. But what cracks me up even more is the fact that my friends who comment on this blog don’t feel burdened with the weight of staying on topic. It’s pretty much a free for all.

For those of you who don’t check the original post, here’s a brief summary:

My laundry needed to be done, I had some mismatched socks, I made some sock art and posted the process here. The end.

I also briefly mentioned that I hate the book, “The Giving Tree” here:

“You notice a metal sign that you bought at Ross on the clearance aisle a couple of months ago. It says “Children are the anchors that hold a mother’s heart.” Which you hate, because it reminds you of that children’s book “The Giving Tree”, which makes you want to leg drop that selfish little kid/man in that book. But, it was 2 bucks, and there’s no law saying you have to keep that dumb saying on there once you own it free and clear, now is there?”

There were a total of 37 comments related to this post. The comments (as often is the case) were WAY funnier and/or insightful than the original post. If you get some time, you really should go back and read them. But here’s the ones related to that wretched book.

Without further adieu, I give you, The Peanut Gallery:

January 2, 2009 5:32 PM
vanityofvanities said…
Kathy, you are hilarious! I love your sign.

WARNING: I am going off on a tangent and it will be story-length.

I hate The Giving Tree, too. You see, I was sitting in “the wives’ section” at a church softball game talking to one of my dearest friends, Erin. She is forever talking about little kids because she is a kindergarten teacher. That day was no different. We were discussing our favorite books as a child. (Incidentally, mine was Pokey the Little Puppy, but I digress.)

Hers was The Giving Tree. To her utter shock and dismay, I had never heard of the story. She began retelling the story and started crying as she spoke of the beautiful generosity the book teaches. (Oh yes, I was laughing at her the whole time.) She vowed to bring the book to the next game so I could appreciate the beauty and cry with her.

She read it to me (in true kindergarten teacher fashion). It did not make me cry. It made me furious. I then gave this impassioned speech about how the book teaches children two very awful things: 1. To take and take and take to the point that you actually kill (spiritually, emotionally, and physically) your victim, and 2. To enter into lopsided relationships whereby you completely lose your identity in that other person and only feel fulfillment as that person uses and abuses you.

It should either be called The Selfish Child or The Enabling Tree.

katdish said…
Angela – You’re such a bad*ss. I’m glad you’re my friend. I had the exact same reaction to that book. My daughter read it to me and I was like – “Well, I hope you don’t think it’s okay to treat people like that!” That tree needs some serious therapy!

January 2, 2009 9:32 PM
helen said…
I taught primary grades in a Catholic School for twelve years. Let me tell you something about The Giving Tree……I never read it to my students even once. It was read to me when I was a child by my teachers. Didn’t like the boy at all. Felt physical pain when the tree was being cut. Felt mental anguish that even as an old man, all he did was sit on the stump. No big revelation of what his selfishness cost Tree. If the tree represents God, and the boy/0ld man us, shouldn’t there at least be some sort of epiphany boy/Old man/we go through in order for the story to have a point. When other teachers would tell me how much they like the book, I would reply. “That’s nice……Have you ever read Bunnicula? Now that was a good story..” Think about it. At least Bunnicula had a point.

No, I am not just kissing up to Katdish because she is going to be the next SCL guest blogger or anything. Although if I were, I would be scoring higher on the SCL commentor score sheet. Dang. I’m not kissing up. I never liked that book. It made me cry, but not in a good way.

wv. debuti-when your first guest post on SCL is a short one, it is a debuti, rather than a debut

January 3, 2009 9:04 AM
Jeff said…
These comments are hilarious! One of the things that I love about your blog is that people can find so many awesome tangents in a post to comment on- you know I’m a tangent person.

I give a hearty “right on!” to the anti Giving Tree-ers out there; as a child, I was always thought the tree was shafted and the kid was an idiot. And I agree with Helen- this is nothing like what God has done for us- Christ’s sacrifice does NOT give us license to sit around on our butts.

w.v.- cramsto: How the car gets packed on the way home from camping.

January 3, 2009 11:23 AM
Mare said…
I had an incredible ethics class my junior year of college. We spent a good three hours one day ripping apart the giving tree. I think in the process we ripped apart a few of the students entire world perspective. That book…its not pretty. Don’t feel too bad for the tree though, she’s just as guilty. Very passive…possibly codependent

January 4, 2009 10:35 PM
Helen said…
Twitter? Where is it on your blog? Why haven’t you twittered today? Twitter.

(Did you notice that last comment? Ironic, no?)