I live by words. They surround my desk in favorite quotes. They crowd my shelves in beloved books. They flutter across my computer screen in my work as a writer. They bring order to my days: Buy groceries. Do laundry. Return library books.
It's easy sometimes to forget all the images these words create. But my daughter and son-in-law, recent graduates of art school, frequently remind me. They pop into my house often, leaving bits of art behind.
My daughter decorates gift tags and cards and notes with tiny drawings, transforming names and messages into artful creations. She sketches the main character in one of my stories, Herbert, a frisky dog, just as I imagine him, bringing my words to life.
My son-in-law putters in the kitchen. In between stirring pasta or cooking pancakes, he illustrates my lists and sticky notes. Return library books, already a pleasant task, cheers me even more with his sketch of an open book and the message, "Shh!!!" scrawled upon it.
Doodles of fruit and vegetables wander across my grocery list. An index card pops up beside my teapot. It's adorned with the picture of a freshly brewing cup and a message asking, "Tea?" Who can resist? I take a break and put the kettle on.
After months of finding unexpected art gracing my home, I join the fun. I replace the pen and lined paper I use for grocery lists with an inexpensive drawing pad and premium colored pencils from an art store, perfect for shading and blending.
Why not write "milk" in purple? Or "bread" in orange? Or "apples" in green? Later, I cross items off my list with thick, satisfying swaths of color.
I can't sketch with the flair of my daughter and son-in-law, but my creations are not for keeping or framing anyway. They are simply art for every day, a bright oasis amid the busyness of life.