Dad and me and creativity
Do you have a muse? Many ongoing muses?
Who or what inspires your creativity?
My original muse was my Dad, David Swain. Dad made a life of writing, cartooning and mentoring other creative sparks.
His first book, The Cantbeworried Tales, came out when I was seven. He gently satirised Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in cartoon and verse. This little book made a big impact on his world and mine.
When I was eleven,
my Dad initiated Australia’s first professional writing degree course. He was a natural born mentor, encourager, inspirer.
My first book, Great Housewives of Art, came out when I was thirty. 1988. It appeared on international bestseller lists along with Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda and Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. Mrs Degas and friends led me on a not-always-merry dance to Darwin and New York exhibitions, Belgian postcard books, San Francisco T-shirts, Chinese feminist treatises, spin-offs, rip-offs and more.
Several years after that, I initiated Art and Soul – offering group and individual support for people to creatively blossom.
One day, I sat down. I looked at Cantbeworried. I looked at Great Housewives. Both slim volumes – turn them sideways and they disappear. Both books of words and pictures. Both humorous. Both composed of a series of types.
I realised. I am my father’s daughter. How could I have not seen the influence he had on me and my art?
Today, on the fifth anniversary of my Dad’s death, I miss him. I’m not done with honouring David Swain – my original muse.