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A thing of beauty from an empty canvas

You have to admire the artist who starts with an empty canvas -- a complete blank -- then goes to work with nothing but paint and imagination and creates a thing of beauty you'd be thrilled to hang on your wall. Or if the artist is a sculptor, he or she may start with a shapeless stone, then after chipping and chiseling away every part of the stone that doesn't look like a body, in the end there is a pile of chips on the floor and the likeness of a human being standing there in the form of a statue. What an exciting process.

As we look around us we will observe many acts of creativity and opportunities for the expression of creative energy.

Back when papers were sold by paperboys on busy street corners, all a kid felt he needed to make money selling papers was a good corner, a strong voice and quick wit. If he had the voice and the wit, he would fight for a good corner.

Our English friends tell us that in England, men worked for a few pounds a day selling newspapers in a little corner of train stations, just barely making a living. Then along came hungry immigrants from China, Pakistan and India. They looked at those same corners with all the people going by and saw more. They saw an opportunity the natives didn't recognize. Soon new entrepreneurs from other cultures had those corners and they were not only selling newspapers, they were selling magazines, coffee, sandwiches, candy bars and other varieties of daily supplies and necessities. The little corners weren't newspaper stands anymore, they were mini convenience stores run by the ambitious immigrants and their families. They brought that nearly blank canvas to life. Now that space is supporting more than just a living.

There have always been composers and song writers. Their music comes from the depths of their love, their joy, their sorrow, the songs of birds, the rhythm of a river, the thunder of the ocean or just out of the clear blue sky of an active imagination. But always there has been music and always there will be music because always there will be those who feel it, write it and pass it along. And it starts with an empty canvas so to speak. Poets and writers of fiction do the same thing -- starting with a blank page, a pencil and an idea bubbling somewhere in their minds or hearts.

What will the Internet produce next? After every stage of development, it becomes an empty canvas again for the next surge of imagination. Take Facebook for example. I'm not connected and I know very little about it, but I have to salute whoever hatched the idea (and then had it stolen depending on who tells the story) and developed it. It may be a social network and it may be a voluntary surrender of privacy, but it is a brilliant idea. More and more exciting new ideas and products of our age start from the last pit stop of technological development.

My last example of making something out of nothing took place years ago. When Eartha's dad Clarence retired, he pulled his travel trailer back to the abandoned family farm where he grew up. There were a few old buildings and there was a big scrap pile. There are farms all over the country just like it. Clarence remembered the BIG 4 tractor on the farm where he grew up. It was a huge iron monster with rear wheels about ten feet tall. He started digging in the scrap pile and found old BIG 4 parts. He dug them out and started putting them together. What he couldn't find, he fabricated himself. After several summers of digging, scraping, cleaning and assembling, he had put together an antique BIG 4. Then he tinkered, coaxed and finessed until he got it running and he actually drove it in parades wearing his overalls and engineer's cap while his grandchildren rode along as passengers waving to the crowds, proud of their grandpa.

The moral of the story is you can create a masterpiece with nothing but oils and blank canvas, a good corner somewhere, a sheet of paper and a pencil, a computer or a pile of junk. It just takes a heart, a vision, an imagination, and maybe a good memory.