This Oh Creative Lady has an incredible way with words. Her purpose behind what she does is powerful and humbling. I strongly suggest you go and make yourself a cuppa and perhaps grab a few biscuits or a sweet treat. Make yourself comfortable, settle in and let the eloquence and thoughtfulness of Rima’s words wash over you. I’ve returned to her words so many times as I’ve put this post together. So many of her thoughts had me exclaiming “YES! EXACTLY!”
It’s a pleasure to introduce Rima.
Hi! Thanks so much for letting me share today, Shannon! My name is Rima Kane. I’m an educator, wife, mother of two boys–and I get a non-narcotic high from teaching children about art and literature! I received my teaching degree in Middle School Language Arts and Social Studies Education and my Master’s degree in English Education; however, through an unexpected turn of events, I ended up working as the educator at an art museum in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. My experience as a museum educator gave me a passion for using art as a tool to help children explore literature. That’s what RimaJoy Creative—my mobile art studio—is all about.
I am convinced that a good story can give you courage, whisk you away to a far off land, plant a seed of empathy, and give you a new perspective. My goal is to make good stories memorable through the process of making art.
I find inspiration… from my childhood. Both of my parents are Lebanese. They came to the States during Lebanon’s Civil War—and then camped out in West Virginia! So I spent most of my childhood in West Virginia. When I was 10 we moved back to Lebanon for about a year and then returned to West Virginia. My upbringing was an eclectic mix of Middle East meets Appalachia! I have so many vivid memories of food, traveling, and traditions from my past. I can’t think of one project I’ve worked on where those memories haven’t played a role.
Literature is another huge source of inspiration for me. I know self-help books are all the rage right now, but I love settling into a well written work of fiction. I’m fascinated by post-modern works–Don DeLillo’s White Noise being my all-time favorite! I find an attractive honesty in his writing that is incredibly insightful and even prophetic. Post-modern writing often deals with a lot of darkness—which is why I do what I do. I want to give children tools and weapons in stories and art that they can use to fight the darkness and not just ignore it.
I’m also a huge fan of Imagist poetry (Ezra Pound, anyone?). I love the way the Imagist poets use compression and precision to paint a beautiful word picture. It’s really inspiring.
I am excited about … my mobile art studio, RimaJoy Creative. Last year at this time, I would have laughed if someone told me I would own a mobile art studio! It’s really exciting to see so many experiences from my past (that I thought were irrelevant or counterproductive!!) work together to bring me to where I am now.
When I’m in a creative slump, I… wait. I really believe that part of the creative process is just being patient. There have been seasons when I’ve thought, “That’s it. I have nothing left to offer. All of my ideas and original thoughts are all dried up.” And then (like clockwork!) something inspires me and all of a sudden I have creative energy again. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened. My husband always laughs at me, because I’ll be like, “John. What am I doing? Clearly I need to shut everything down, because I have zero creativity right now.” And then he’s like, “Um. . . . You said the EXACT SAME THING to me two months ago, and then the very next day you had an idea. Just give it time!” You’d think I’d learn.
But seriously, I really take comfort in the rhythms of nature during the slower times. There is a season for growth and there is a season to be dormant. Progress might be hard to see because it’s hidden underneath the soil, but it’s still happening. And one day a little green shoot will poke through.
I also find that writing (whether or not I think I have a good idea), can help me push through those creative slumps.
I’m really proud of… those moments when I see a student or one of my children fight the darkness with a story of light. The other day, my heart was so full when I overheard a student say, “Let’s fight being grumpy with being thankful.” This is why I do what I do.
Someone once told me… that I look like the daughter of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot (the BBC version with David Suchet). I wasn’t sure if I should be honored or horrified. I decided to take it as a compliment—and I also made a note to rethink my eyebrow situation.
My advice to you is … embrace the process of life. There is this treatise by the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard called Simulacra and Simulation. It’s a fascinating read that examines situations in which art dictates reality instead of the other way around. Essentially it’s when you skip to the product without any of the original process.
For example, I have a pair of pre-ripped, faded, and distressed jeans. They’re super comfy, but I got them without doing any of the manual labor that should go into owning a pair of jeans like this. I mean, the only story my jeans have is that I shopped at the Gap. There’s no story of hard work and sweat behind them. You know?
Sometimes it’s easy to wish that in addition to ripped jeans, Gap also carried items like “happy marriage,” “emptied dishwasher,” “baby sleeping through the night,” or “creative ideas.” It’s easy to wish a process away so we can fast forward to the desired result. But when you choose to skip a process, it means you miss out on a whole story that is rich with meaning and value. Our stories give us priceless empathy and wisdom. Even the one about me unloading the dishwasher.
There is a peace that comes from knowing that the process—no matter how uncertain or mundane—is necessary to having our stories safe and intact. And what would our lives be without stories?
You can find me at … I love connecting with parents, artists, book lovers, fellow educators, and anyone really! You can find me on Instagram @rimajoykane sharing book reviews, art activities, and my observations about teaching children and life. I’ve met so many wonderful people through this platform–and I hope you’re next! Hearing from you would make my day. You can also check out the RimaJoy Creative website—www.rimajoycreative.com
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