Creativity is like a seed.
It must be in the right environment, or it will not grow.
But even in the right environment, it still may not thrive, because other elements may stunt its growth or destroy it completely.
I know this to be true, because it has happened to me.
A sixteen year teaching career was coming to a close. I was in my final semester, and to help pass the time during the two+ hour round trip commute I had created for myself (the result of moving to the town of Montgomery to escape the growth of Houston, Texas), a host of characters would play out in my mind centered around a character without a name.
But that all changed one morning during my commute as I turned off Loop 336 onto FM 1314 in Conroe, Texas. As I made the turn onto 1314, I prayed to God, pleading for Him to send me a name for this character who was always in my mind; the word “Padilly” popped into my head.
At first I laughed at the word since I have never heard it before, and it seemed somewhat strange. I’ve taught thousands of students over the course of two decades, and not one Padilly crossed my path. I wondered if it was an real name? Does it have a hidden, and possibly embarrassing meaning? Is it a thing?
By the time I made it to my office, the word had grown on me, so I got on my computer to research if it had any meaning. What I discovered is the word is rare; very rare. I found a few who held the Padilly surname; which validated it is a name. I thankfully discovered it didn’t have any negative meaning, and also discovered a version used for a family owned online toy store specializing in wooden toys.
Confident it was a name, Mrs. Padilly was born; a woman who likes to play in her garden, oblivious to the obvious of the magic that lies within.
Two months after my early retirement my father died, and my mother began to struggle. The world of Mrs. Padilly faded into the background as I began to tend to real life issues.
I also realized that being newly retired and removed from the creativity of my students (I taught in the field of visual communications), was having a greater toll on me than I thought it would; I was missing them and my classroom’s creative environment.
The seed of my creativity began to dry up…
By spring of 2012, as the dust settled a little from the loss of my father and struggles of my mother, like the spring rain’s affect on the soil, the seed of my creativity was able to take root and begin to sprout again.
I started to play in the garden of my new home, beautifully designed by the previous owner, and as I did, Mrs. Padilly began to reappear from the shadows of my mind.
She came into the light when I made a simple purchase, the door you see in the image above. When I placed it against a tree in our backyard, a tree we call Grandmother Oak, almost immediately new stories began to emerge from the garden, including a character who lives behind that door.
But the environment still wasn’t right. While I was happy my characters had returned to garden of my mind, listening to their stories was not what I needed at the time. What I needed was travel.
Outside of being a creative and an educator, I love travel, as most people do. But for me it is almost a need, a need that has been with me my whole life and has had me crisscrossing this great country by car since I was a child; with family and alone.
So to address my need for creativity and travel, I decided to create my first blog: MrsPadilly.com. This blog. MrsPadilly.com gave me an excuse to travel and write, and a reason to learn (I never blogged before), practice my photography, and create new designs, which I was greatly missing.
I continued down this path of blogging and learning about blogging, and creating, and traveling as Mrs. Padilly. Mrs. Padilly had in fact become my travel alter ego, my professional writing pseudonym, and she had become me.
While the garden was always in the back of my mind, I focused on blogging; creating several other blogs, which have either been archived or yet to be revealed.
Finally, having experimented with different blogs on different subjects, in the spring of 2014, I launched MrsPadillysTravels.com, expanding on my original blog’s purpose and design. Today it enjoys a strong following of readers who are interested in glamping, camping, boating, and Living Life in the Outdoors – centered on Texas.
This site, MrsPadilly.com, has become my personal blog, my author’s page, my creative portfolio if you will.
Then something wonderful happened during the summer of 2015. My husband and I grew to miss the acreage we left when we moved to Montgomery in 2010, and as new empty nesters eager to downsize, we bought an acre of land to build a new home.
It wasn’t until we closed on the land, and were able to cut our way through the thicket of pine trees and vines, that we discovered the back 75 feet +/- has a couple of very small, dry creeks. We soon discovered that when it rains, these creeks fill with rushing water from uphill, and quickly overflow their banks. Most might have been discouraged at the discovery of this unusable land (we had to re-plot where we wanted the barn), but for me, Mrs. Padilly’s Garden was back!
It has been five years since I created Mrs. Padilly, my alter ego, and the stage is finally being set for her to fulfill her original purpose.
There are a lot of exciting changes that will take place this year, including building a house, selling a house, creating a home, and creating a garden.
To document the building of the garden, I have created a Facebook Page, Mrs. Padilly’s Garden (live in February 2016). On this page, I will share the physical building of this garden. As the garden comes to reality, which could span a couple of years, hints on the settings and characters will be revealed until the release of my first book in the series, Mrs. Padilly’s Garden and the New Neighbor; the seed planted in my mind back in 2011.
I hope you will “Like” my Facebook page (and this blog, too), and follow along as the garden is created and seeds are planted; bringing to life the characters of Mrs. Padilly’s Garden.
“As a designer we create for others, as an artist we create for self.”
~ DM Johnson (aka Mrs. Padilly)