In our family, there would certainly be something wrong with you if you are not creative. My mother could write poetry, act, draw, compose and sing. Other members of the extended family just sit down in front of a piano and play, often without having had any formal musical training. When they get together, they sing together in wonderful harmony. Sometimes the original melody gets completely lost in all the different harmonizations. Undeterred, they ride the music like a wave. It brings them closer together.
My father bought us a Welmar grand piano at an auction when I was ten years old. It was a beautiful thing - and a little intimidating.
I found that could also play the piano by ear to an extent, a little tentatively. To really make music I had to have lessons. At first, the lessons were informal. Friends of my mother taught me the basics. Proper, serious lessons only came later. I was no musical prodigy. I longed for the joyous music that simply flowed, that came from somewhere inside or somewhere above. Music that didn't require learning or practicing. I needed to practice scales and exercises and learn to read music. I did that, and from the age of 15 had lessons with professor Adolph Hallis. But I wasn't brave enough or dedicated enough to become a professional musician. The long hours of practice, focusing on correcting mistakes, the strict discipline required to develop a virtuoso technique - it was all too much for me. The piano is a lonely instrument when you take it that seriously. And there are so many pianists competing for their place on the stage, many of them started when they were very young. Only the very best can make a living from it. I didn't think that I was one of those.
Writing came easier. It was easy to write little rhymes and write essays. But in my late teens, something flowered in my brain. I read some poetry by G. A. Watermeyer and it made music in my head. Other poets followed, for instance, Ingrid Jonker. I would pick out the melodies on my guitar or on the piano, and write them out laboriously. Music notation software did not exist. Not much came of my songwriting. My mother, however, became well known. She made a record with her own songs and performed. My father was a noted copywriter who could weave magic with words. and who later wrote several novels. I thought my talent was distinctly second-rate. And so I studied psychology and learned to work with computers.
When later on my mother also wrote a book, I translated and illustrated it. I had art as a school subject, but I wasn't exceptionally good. However, a new world of computer art had opened up for me. I immersed myself in three-dimensional computer graphic art. It is quite different from painting and drawing, and it took years to become proficient. However, I started to feel that I could also make art.
It is only now, that my psychology career is nearing its conclusion, that I really feel a need to make something, say something, to have my voice heard. And also to honour the poets whose work has meant so much to me over the years. Fortunately, we now have the Internet, and software to help write down the music and create images. I can share without having to make a living from it.
And perhaps, now that I am older, I have more to say.