Friday, April 16, 2010

Honoring Creative Beginings

Why do you create?

Recently while looking through old Polaroids, I realized my crafty and creative beginnings were the early childhood days spent helping my mom make piñatas.

My family lived in Italy then South Carolina before we settled down in Jacksonville, Florida. We made piñatas at every stop along the way.

It all started with a "spider" that went awry and became a "California Raisin" (To explain all the wrinkles) for my twin brother's 8th birthday. From there we made and sold many piñatas- Care Bears, Ninja Turtles, My Little Ponies, Unicorns, Simpson's characters, stars, hot air balloons, snow men, blow fish, and more. They were all crafted from newspaper, flour, construction paper, and tissue paper. 

And isn't it ironic that we spent so much time crafting beautiful piñatas only so children could violently charge at them with baseball bats and beat them until they exploded with bits of rainbow colored candy?

I have so many memories of violent painful mistakes involving those baseball bats that make me laugh out loud as I type this.  Flying baseball bats and the painful collisions they caused were not funny for the child-victims at the time, but a decade later they are hilarious reminders of a childhood that wasn't pristine and "PC" like so many are now.

Mother and I work 50 hour weeks now. We haven't made a piñata in over a decade- not even for my niece's or nephew's birthdays. It's hard to force time for a project as time consuming as a piñata. But maybe this year. Maybe we'll make just one, to honor creative beginnings.

About my Ethnicity, My Ethnic FAQ at "Van's Story Time"


  1. Have you ever read about the origins of piñatas? The one I know is from school in Mexico. I was told that originally, the piñata was a representation of the devil, hence the original horns on round piñatas -before the donkeys and the sponge bobs. The good child who broke the devil was rewarded with candy. Of course, the word piñata just means pineapple so who knows if the story I heard is true. We used to make them with cheap clay jars until we found out it was easier to use a balloon covered in newspaper with flour paste and paper mache.

  2. Sorry, I had to post another comment; I just read your ethnicity faq and I laughed so loud my office neighbor came over to see what was the matter. I am still laughing... :)
    One question I am asked often here in the Great Plains: "Do you speak Mexican?" Also, I laughed so hard at the Indian guy trying to "out" you because I have had Hawaiians, Philipinos, Vietnamese and Dineh (Navajos) try to out me as well. Ah! good times...

  3. I left so much out of this story; I could go on forever on those childhood days of piñata adventuring. All of my "swarthy" ethnically "ambiguous" friends had a laugh at the post, we should all fill a book one day. I just realized I left out a gem. The South isn't known for ethnic equality or knowledge but I never thought I'd be asked if I was "Kwik-E-Mart" as an ethnicity.

  4. I guess I create in order to leave a footprint in this world; what I cannot tolerate is the idea that I end up my life executing tasks given or defined by someone. Hopefully you and your mother can start making great pinatas again.

  5. Isao, thank you for letting me know why you create. I'm consumed by the spirit of creativity lately, dragging everyone I know into it's contagious embrace.

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