it may not come as a surprise that i drew on the walls as a little girl. i repeatedly scrawled my name and added giant pots of stick sunflowers here and there. i scribbled in zigzags from left to right and up and down. after my mother found my handiwork i secretly drew inside my closet. in my tween years i surmised it was a good idea to keep a journal on the walls behind my clothes. yes, i was that child.
i collected different kinds of paper and envelopes, nicked from my parents’ meager supply drawer or handed down by sympathetic teachers. my allowance disappeared at the drug store where i bought pens and permanent markers. i enjoyed school but always counted the days until art class. in art we worked with clay, pastels, paper maché, watercolors, charcoal, and tempera. the words rolled off my tongue like an exotic symphony. soon i discovered sketchbooks, books you were supposed to draw in (not library books and certainly not “that brand new book we just bought you”). eventually i ended up studying design in college and i kept digital doodles of my ideas and projects.
on tuesday night, i sat at my desk drawing reindeer for my students. i saved them and started on matching sleighs. then the unthinkable happened— nothing at all. nothing in a bad way. the screen froze. i rebooted the computer multiple times only to find the infamous “white screen of death” as it’s affectionately called by mac owners. my dear computer with all my art, all my hours of work, suddenly hated me. i put on a brave face for my husband who promised to take it to work and examine it with his technology guy.
in the middle of the night i cried. i chided myself for not backing up my files as often as i should. i chided myself for not keeping a separate drive of prints. i chided myself for being a thirty-two year old woman blowing her nose at one a.m. for art’s sake.
what is art? is it a gallery painting? is it a bronze sculpture in a spring garden? is it a group of letters jumbled together? is it a brooding photograph or a jubilant song or a happy story? is it a tangible object or a series of abstract feelings?
to my parents, art was a cheap hobby that kept me out of trouble and happily in my room. to my teachers, art was a passion they shared with others, kids with runny noses and all. to me, art is the rube goldberg machine for my ideas: some silly, some terrible, and some quite good. i am constantly enchanted by the rolling marbles, churning gears, unexpected explosions, tinkling bells, and everyday leaps of faith when a new idea skips with a jaunty step into my brain.
unfortunately my old i-Mac could not be saved, but michael was able to pull most of my files off the computer onto an external drive. i closed my etsy shop for the time being, and i may not blog as often (not that i published daily anyway). please know that i’ll do my best.
in the meantime, i’m craving a clean sheet of paper…