why I wake early: creating for them by Nikaela Peters

In the third of our Why I wake early series Nikaela Peters sets down her thoughts surrounding our continued topic of creating as parents. 

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I wonder about child as muse. Or the feelings that come with parenting the child as muse. I wonder about child as creator. There is a comment the sculptor Edmund De Wall makes in a New York Times article that I can’t stop thinking about. Commenting on a wonky and weird porcelain cup fresh off the potter’s wheel, he says: “It looks like a kid could have made it. It’s that good!” I can’t get the implication out of my head that the unselfconscious capacity for randomness and imperfection is a gift we grow out of. I wonder about writing in a room of one’s own versus standing at my kitchen counter like Lucille Clifton, an eye in a storm of small bodies, making notes, making notes. I wonder about my children as the heirs of my detritus. Time says that the future is theirs. And so I have this sense that they will be the measure of what I make. If they sleep with the stuffed octopus; if they find the photographs I’ve taken of their childhood interesting; if they want to keep their letters; if they read the small book of poems and paintings: this will clarify me in the world. They may call me a writer, a photographer, a painter. They will judge their inheritance and name it detritus or art. I wonder if this is fair.

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Nikaela Peters is a writer, artist and photographer raising two small boys in Winnipeg, Canada.

Thank you Nikaela!