Self Discovery
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“Mom, I’m bored,” said Lisa.

“Bored are you? Well, you can help me clean then!”

“I don’t want to clean,” she said looking at her mom as if she were being completely ludicrous for mentioning such a thing.

“Well it’s either that or you can go outside and play.”

“I guess I’ll go out,” mumbled Lisa.

She opened up the door begrudgingly. You see Lisa already spent the whole day playing. As a matter of fact, she spent most of her summer holidays playing. As far as Lisa was concerned, there was nothing else to do that hadn’t been done a hundred times already.

But nevertheless, the thought of cleaning seemed even more preposterous. So Lisa walked into that hot afternoon day. She could feel the warmth from the sun envelop her face and body, giving her energy she otherwise didn’t have moments before. Looking down, she noticed the sunlight glitter off the cement blocks that she was walking on. Every square block was separated by long dark shadows in the cracks.

Step on a crack; break your mother‘s back, Lisa thought. So she carefully jumped from block to block going in different directions, until her foot accidentally touched one of the cracks. She then reassured herself that it was only an old wives tail anyway. And to prove it, she decided to walk on all the cracks for fun, until she began to feel slightly guilty and stopped.

Looking around, Lisa noticed that she couldn’t see any of the other kids, but for some reason she could hear a number of their voices all talking at the same time around the corner. So she walked towards the noise to see what all the commotion was about. She then saw what looked like twenty children digging in the dirt on their hands and knees. She wondered what they were all doing. Maybe they found something she thought. As her curiosity began to eat her up inside, she began to walk even faster.

Oh no, what am I missing out on? What if they discovered a treasure? Her walking now turned into a fast run. As she came closer, she noticed that quite a few of the kids were holding up what appeared to be odd shapes of hard shiny dirt in their hands.

“Lisa, come quick,” said Sally, as she held up her shiny clump, which poorly resembled a dove with a broken wing.

“What’s going on,” Lisa said anxiously.

Sally didn’t answer back. She was too busy trying to fix the birds other wing. Lisa's anxiousness turned into absolute frustration. “Sally,” Lisa said again, “What is going on?”

“Look at what we found,” said Sally.

“What’s the big deal about dirt?”

“It’s not dirt. It’s clay. You can make things with it, and if you leave it outside, it will harden.”

Lisa’s eyes widened with awe. To her this was like an endless supply of Play-doe, only better. She didn’t want to waste any more time, so she scanned the five by six foot area where all the kids were digging. To her dismay, she couldn’t find any extra room to sit down. She thought of pushing her way in or digging up some of the uncut grass that lay around the area, but both of those ideas seemed like more trouble than it was worth.

She was about to give up hope when Billy Conway’s mother yelled out, “ Billy get out of that dirt pile. What were you thinking? You know we have to leave to see your grandparents in fifteen minutes.”

Billy looked up at his mother in shock. It was hard to say exactly what took him by surprise so much. It could have been because his mother found him covered with dirt and clay from head to toe; however, Lisa was more inclined to believe that it was because his mother just dragged him away from the greatest discovery he had ever come across in his young life.

At any rate, Lisa was more than willing to take advantage of his misfortune. As Billy walked away, she moved toward his spot. Lisa noticed a couple kids tried to inch their way into the small space in order to give themselves more room. Luckily Lisa was able to get to the spot before it was completely taken over.

While taking her seat, Lisa saw Billy’s unfinished sculptures lying on the ground. She found it difficult to figure out exactly what he was trying to make. One sculpture had three legs and a huge mouth for its head. The other sculpture vaguely looked like a car, although it was missing two wheels and the body of the vehicle looked sort of futuristic, almost as if it had come from a science fiction movie.

Lisa took both of Billy’s sculptures and squeezed them together. She then began to roll the big clump of clay in the palms of her hands. The hard clay felt wet and chilly against her skin. It gave her an oddly refreshing feeling, almost as if she had just dunked her hands into a pool of water. In the few minutes in which she was rolling the clay, several vivid images swirled around in her head. Some of the images were of her favourite animals, while others were of people she knew. However, the most prominent image that appeared in her mind was a wooden rocking horse. She vaguely remembered having this toy years ago. She recalled climbing up on to it, grabbing hold of the harness and rocking back and forth. Feelings of power and freedom suffused her entirely, and it was those exact emotions, which were dancing around in her at that moment. She had to express it; she had to sculpt it! The energy inside her was so overwhelming she felt like she was going to explode.

She firmly grabbed the clay and began to separate it according to size. She put five small pieces aside for the ears, tail and rockers, but saved the majority of it for the body of the horse. She glided her hands across the smooth clay and sculpted every piece with great detail. Every now and again, she was interrupted with a parent calling their child inside for supper, or because it was getting late.

“Tommy, Michael,” one parent yelled. And then soon after, “Stephanie, Tory, Kirsten, it’s time to come in now,” another voice called out.

Despite these slight interruptions, Lisa still managed to work on her masterpiece without losing too much focus. When Lisa’s toy horse rocker was done, she stared at it with a great feeling of accomplishment. She then used her clay-covered hands to rock the horse back and forth. It really works! she thought to herself as a huge smile stretched across her face.

Looking around she noticed there were only two other kids still left outside playing with the clay. One was her friend Sally and the other was a girl named Angela Hogan, who she only briefly knew as an acquaintance from school, although soon they too had left. However, this didn’t stop Lisa. She was more then happy to have the whole pile to herself. She sculpted two more sculptures with the same passion as the first. She made a white tiger that she once saw in a zoo and a dolphin that she had caught sight of in a National Geographic magazine.

Shortly after she finished her last sculpture, her brother Alex approached her, “Lisa I’ve been looking for you everywhere. Mom wants you to come home right now.”

Lisa stopped admiring her work and looked up at Alex. She noticed that his face was covered by the darkness of the night. It was only then that she realized how long she had been outside.

“Yah, I’m coming,” Lisa said as she scooped up her sculptures carefully, and then proceeded to follow her brother home. She noticed that her mom was standing at the front door when they approached the house, but before her mom could get a word in edgewise, Lisa ran up to her and said, “Mom, Mom, look what I found. It’s called clay and I made stuff...look.”

“Yes, I’m aware of what clay is, and what you made is very nice, but...”

“Can I show Dad?” Lisa interrupted.

“You’re not bringing that into the house. It’ll just make a big mess. I’ll tell you what, you can show him tomorrow before he goes to work. Just put it in the backyard for now.”

Lisa knew her mom would eventually address the fact that she had come home late, but she didn‘t mind. After all, it‘s not everyday you discover clay. Lisa walked to the backyard, and then lined her sculptures up in a perfect row, so everybody could admire them. She then stood there and stared at them, completely mesmerized. At that moment she realized something about herself on the most basic level possible. She realized that she would sculpt again tomorrow, the next day, and for the rest of her life. What she didn't know until much later, however, is that she would also paint, write, and be the epitome of what it truly means to be an artist.

Her mom opened the sliding door. “Lisa, it’s time to come in.”

Lisa sadly left her sculpture and walked into the house, never forgetting this simple fundamental day that helped shape the rest of her life.

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