Her mind never stops, her world view is that of an inquisitive child. Creativity is her birthright she says. An artist at the core of her heart, she is like a gurgling brook dancing its way down a mountain path, carrying its offering to the river in grateful mirth —a picture of serene joy and selfless giving. Elin Babcock, from Oregon, USA, may not be just who she says she is. We suspect she is a fairy godmother in disguise.
Unlike the core group of participants, Elin was not a student of Eng Comp-I. She was one of the CTAs (a community teaching assistant), like Lorinna Hastings, who had guided us to develop our ideas into full-fledged academic pieces and then critiqued our work for its efficacy and accuracy. Her contribution through the training process was thoroughly professional . So later, when she agreed to be part of the Magic Diary initiative, it gave the project an immediate traction and a sense of purpose and great fillip. Elin became the cornerstone of this juggernaut, which was to grow slowly thereafter with careful planning and execution.
THE TENTATIVE FIRST STEPS
The very first mail on our storyteller’s id, after it was created in August, was in fact from Elin.
Aug 21 2015: Hi Jaya, Test driving the email address. Now you have mine. Best of the day to you. Thanks Elin.
Through the next few weeks of frenetic planning while we got busy with the basic structure and design of this project, Elin remained an invaluable mentor and guide. She held the torch, whenever I groped in the dark.
The most important decision to be taken was around the theme of this book. Why don’t we let the writers to use their diary entry like a scrapbook to put down a special recipe, write a story, a note to God, a commentary on the world…anything that was topmost on their mind, but remembering that the diary would preserve those words for posterity? Elin agreed the Magic Diary would allow maximum flexibility to a range of writers with different skill sets and yet help us keep it all together and make it read like a great book. What a relief!
Elin was thereafter the key person helping us set up processes. What I really loved about her was that all her replies were always attached with a personalized cartoon. Every little achievement was acknowledged with a wonderful note or a poem.When the book finally came together Elin’s endearing words, a great commemorative poem, found a prized position in the anthology. Each volume of A Pocketful of Dreams starts with Elin’s poem today—her tribute to the storytellers is ours to Elin as well.
So who is Elin?
IN ELIN’S WORDS
I am an ambassador of creativity whose work it is to wake up the creative birthright in everyone including myself.
My art was a passion from childhood. My Mom supplied us with materials to create. We had few coloring books but lots of space and encouragement to make things. I liked to paint especially the process of coloring a piece of paper with brilliant colors, then painting over it with black tempura paint then scratching through in places to reveal the colors again.
So, Elin studied as a painter and sculptor but also had interests in art history. Then she received an MFA degree with emphasis in the field of Art Therapy. On her first trip to Europe when she found herself in front of the masters she adored, she was blown away.
The Mona Lisa was not too much bigger than what I knew in the book but the Ruben’s and Monet’s took up whole walls. The Pieta by Michelangelo made me cry as well as the Giotto frescos in the Church of St. Frances in Assisi.
I had been teaching and neglecting my art for many years and thought that painting would come back to me upon arrival home. But no, the mechanics and style variations of the poetry I taught in my English classes bubbled up and spilled out each morning for two years. Very few were good until I took a course at the university, wrote some acceptable pieces, published a book and then another and became one of the student associate editors of Southern California Poetry Journal. I have publish poems in a few journals as well.
HOW LIFE MOVES IN CIRCLES
And that is how Elin evolved as a poet with divine inspiration. Life went on and painting and then assemblage sculpture came back, which is her art forms now. She quit teaching, moved to Oregon from California and joined Ashland Art Works, a co-operative of 15 talented artists. Today she has expanded her interest into Creative Therapy which includes, poetry, dance, and play. She has also been taking groups of students and now adults traveling for over 35 years.
Elin’s story in Vol-I of A Pocketful of Dreams , is another story of a How Life Moves in Circles. It is available in ‘A Pocketful of Dreams: a travelling diary & some storytellers.’
We are about to launch our second and third volumes (Europe & Africa; South Asia & The Far East) in the month of March and April.
We shall be very grateful if you have a look at this project and let us know what you think about it. A little support from you can transform this dream into a worthwhile movement. We eagerly look forward to your feedback.