I was at my sister’s house this weekend for my niece’s third birthday party. This particular niece is the little sister of the one who is apparently my psychic clone. But I digress.
As we were discussing the birthday cake, I had one of those random flashbacks to my childhood.
I remembered the booby cakes.
Yes, I said booby cakes.
My mom was probably the most creative person I ever knew. She could take two sticks from the front yard, a can of silver spray paint, and create a wall treatment that would make Martha Stewart proud. Every year when we were kids, she would get excited about a new medium, whatever the trendy craft for homemakers was at the time. Macrame, ceramics, soft sculpture, silk flowers, and decorative cakes all had a turn on the Wheel of Mom’s Creative Expression.
The thing you need to know about my mom is that she had an interesting sense of humor. And almost no personal boundaries whatsoever.
So no matter what the medium she was working in at the moment, there were going to be anatomically-correct renderings of people involved.
Her ceramics phase gave us the “booby mugs.” Coffee mugs shaped like–you guessed it–female breasts. I’m not even getting into the spouts on those mugs, because I think I have male cousins who are still emotionally scarred from that whole thing after receiving the smaller-sized “training mugs.”
We also had the ceramic “naughty Santa’s” who were hiding a little something extra behind the bag of meticulously-painted toys.
The soft-sculpture phase gave us anatomically-correct Mr. and Mrs. Santa dolls. Most disturbing use of white fake fur EVER.
And then, there were the booby cakes.
For a while, my mom made these cakes using a variety of molds and cupcake pans that looked like a woman’s torso . Covered with piped frosting using a star tip, they looked like tiny, really-inappropriate Rose Bowl Parade floats.
Usually, they were wearing a bikini. Except the one for my grandpa, her father-in-law. We’re not going to go into any greater detail on that, but I don’t think my paternal grandma was particularly pleased.
At any rate, I do have a point to all this (aside from this little glimpse into my childhood providing you with a much better grasp of why I can’t finish a sentence without making a double-entendre, usually without realizing it.)
We all have a creative impulse. For some people, the choice of medium is the significant, defining aspect of that creative impulse. These are the people for whom music, or photography, or writing, is a major part of their identity. For other people, it’s the subject matter–the common theme or motif–that is the most important part.
If you’re not sure which camp you fall into, but you feel an urge to create, the best advice I can give is to keep trying different media and different subjects. At some point, you may find one or the other that really connects to you. If you don’t find one medium, or one subject, that really speaks for you, maybe you’re one of those lucky people who connect deeply with the creative process as a whole.
But if you decide that you really need to express yourself via anatomically-correct pastry, you might want to make sure the recipient’s spouse is okay with that.
Unless it’s your mother-in-law.