Letters from Maine

A creative diversion


One sold, and with that began a 7-year period during which pretty much anything I painted with a maritime theme sold for hundreds of dollars. It was a nice ego trip, but it took me down a dark path in which I began to choose my subjects and style based on what I knew would sell. Creating was no longer something I did for a change of pace. I was now retired, but painting had become my job. I felt burdened by the obligation to paint enough to cover the walls of the restaurant that graciously hung my work.

Luckily, the epiphany that I had sacrificed my creative diversion, which began with that little sandpiper, coincided with the restaurant’s decision to redecorate and the loss of much of my hanging space. I was now free to paint subjects I was interested in, and return to the comfort of carving when I felt the need to create.

If you don’t have a hobby, I urge you open yourself to a wide range of possibilities and take your time experimenting. If you already have a creative diversion, remember that a large part of its appeal is that it plays counterpoint to your job. Even if you are retired, a hobby provides a change of pace from which we can all benefit.

Dr. William G. Wilkoff practiced primary care pediatrics in Brunswick, Maine, for nearly 40 years.

Dr. William G. Wilkoff

You may or may not derive some of your inspiration from what you see and feel while you are at work. I never found that my hobby was escape because I enjoyed working. But having a creative diversion always has given me a chance to exercise parts of my mind and body simply because it wasn’t my job.

Dr. Wilkoff practiced primary care pediatrics in Brunswick, Maine for nearly 40 years. He has authored several books on behavioral pediatrics, including “How to Say No to Your Toddler.” Email him at pdnews@mdedge.com.

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