This was today’s (Friday 27 April 2018) ‘Pause for Thought’ on Radio 2 by comedian and writer Paul Kerensa. I thought it was very cleverly done and is well worth reading. You can also listen to the audio here
With so many pie-based guests, let me describe where I keep mine: my fridge, a.k.a. the ‘gallery’… Covered in infant masterpieces, because yes, my four-year-old has discovered art. I would say they’re masterpieces – I made her, she made them, so the artworks are basically my grandchildren. So wide-ranging and prolific is her oeuvre, we can barely see the door handle.
Recently, like a breakfasting critic, I was chewing over my daughter’s paintings, and some cereal. I commented on her eclectic drawing styles: oval heads, square heads, wild hair, no hair, houses, rainbows, dogs, oceans… “Oh no,” she said, “They’re not mine. My friend Ellie drew that one, Lydia the house, Stanley that family…”
It turns out, her and her pals in Tadpole Class, unbeknownst to anyone, shared out their artwork – a memento of each school chum. “We wanted to see them connect,” she said. How marvellous, yet confusing for parents gawping at fridges, submitting entries to the Royal College of Art kindergarten.When I thought they were all hers, they were masterpieces. Even knowing the truth, that wide view of class doodlings was quite a sight.
Up close in our lives, we notice imperfections: where we’ve gone over the lines, where our heads are too big, our sun’s painted blue, or grey. But stand back, spot the connections… maybe our mini-creations are better appreciated part of a bigger canvas. Personally I do have faith in God above (it’s weird saying that with Don McLean right here). If God’s behind creativity, His full view of human endeavour must be quite something. There’s bleakness, but I’m a comedy writer, a “jester on the sidelines” (to quote some musical legend, three feet away)… I dwell on life’s upbeat, happy endings.
The fact that this week, Millicent Fawcett’s statue became the first woman immortalised in Parliament Square. That Britain had three coal-free days. That North and South are talking again. That Tadpole Class like sharing. That ‘a little princess’ Charlotte made history: the first to hold her place in line to the throne, despite a younger brother. She just carried on at pre-school, creating more artwork for her parents’ presumably big fridge.
The universe’s even bigger fridge surely has a place for our creative achievements, whether by us, or some mystery Tadpole. Our talent may be less ‘Vincent’, more four-year-old with crayon, but stand back, see it connect, appreciate the world’s good stuff – perhaps it was meant for one as beautiful as you.