Mostly because I think I'm right all the time and when I'm wrong, I need to hear it from about ten people before I believe it.
I'm stubborn and it doesn't help that usually I really am right (and woe to the mentor who wrote me once to tell me so).
When I am wrong, I am usually very wrong.
And so I collect mentors, at least one from each stage of my life, because they speak truth into my life.
These are the people who tell me that I have a broken heart or that I need to say no to things or that I really need to re-think my wardrobe choices. These are the people who edit my writing and introduce me to new people and call me to tell me about their work. These are the people who befriend my parents and put up with nicknames from me and insist that I create art.
These are the people who, when I stopped creating art in college and for a couple of months last year, told me that I had to get back to it.
One of my mentors refers to a lot of my art as "abby swirls." Another-my high school art teacher-still critiques and admires my work with the same clarity and joy that she did fifteen years ago. And a few give me deadlines for my creativity, knowing that I work better on a timeline... which reminds me that I owe one of them a couple of drawings by the end of this weekend.
These mentors-brilliant and kind and wonderful people-have called me to explore and to create, holding this part of me when I forget.
I'm so very wrong when I don't make space for creativity and when I let the rest of my life keep me from my crayons and glue and paint and garbage (which is not a judgment on my work; a lot of my art uses discarded things as the foundation).
I'm wrong when I don't make space for this work, when I convince myself that somehow everything else needs to get done but the art can wait. I cannot deny that I have to go to work and run and connect with other people. Those are lifegiving too, but they cannot be excuses.
And so this morning I'm giving thanks for these mentors and for the paint up my arm and the brushes in the sink and the scraps of paper that the cats have shredded into play things.
Being right isn't everything. Thinking I'm right all the time isn't the whole truth. I collect mentors because they put the crayons back into my hands and love me, even when I'm wrong, until I'm all right again.