Lessons from Elephant Art
Elephant Art

Finding the inspiration to stay positive during a pandemic year of “unusuals” was draining, if not pointblank depressing. Amid the chaotic climate of 2020, patience and impatience for “normalcy” bounced out of balance. All across the globe, emotions tipped up and down as if riding a teeter-totter. Sheltering in place, isolated us from what we knew. Would our “usual” ever return?

As an author, I did my normal story-storming, read posts by favorite writers, and participated in author webinars. My brain hurt. My passion dulled. Maybe I wasn’t a writer after all. Then one dreary morning in February, I zoned out gazing at a favorite painting of mine. A gift given to me during my stint as Anna in the musical “The King and I.” The watercolorists were two artsy elephants from our local zoo. Staring at their broad brushstrokes, I had an epiphany. Their silly, joyful, random way of exploding color on canvas epitomizes for me what fuels inspiration. It pumps the heartbeat of living and growing.

Here are five lessons these gentle giants taught me. May they feed your muse as well.

Lessons from Elephant Art

ONE: Don’t think about where to start. Just get doing.

TWO: Explore on a broader canvas, beyond what’s usual.

THREE: LOVE the mess. Imagine the process is a playground.

FOUR: Forget about failure. Nothing’s ever wasted.

FIVE: Keep joy in the journey.

Ready to begin a new venture? A fresh attitude? Think like an elephant. Congratulate yourself as you climb each slippery step toward your goal. Stay strong. No wavering…hesitating. When the newness wears away, hold on. You’ll be wowed by what’s beyond your “usual.”

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The unequaled Eric Carle left us this year. Thankfully, his picture book masterpieces won’t die anytime soon.
Born in 1929 in Syracuse, New York, Carle spent a lifetime nurturing his passion for art and children. He grew up and was educated in Germany while keeping his dream alive of returning to America. At 23, he arrived in New York with his portfolio and a pocketed $40.00.

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By nature, we are diverse. We have individual wants, cultures, beliefs, gender identities, and ages. By design, we are united within a hodgepodge of humanity by our needs: food, shelter, hope, a sense of belonging, a sense of faith beyond ourselves, to be loved and to love. Within our growing years and onward, we live many lives as “one” person, spirit, or soul. However we label it.

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Marsha Elyn Wright

Bursts of belly-laughs. Raised eye-brows. Teary trickles. Heart tugs. Grumbly mutters and more. Good storytelling sparks emotions and memories in us. It connects cultures and generations. The best words create melodies on a page we can sing reading aloud. These story songs expand, challenge, affirm, and delight us. My hope is that my storytelling creates this magic for you.


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