Friday, November 20, 2009

against a paperless society

Abbie is an artist. I do not yet know whether she will write, or draw, or just doodle on the sides of the notes she takes in class. I do know that she will sprawl out on any flat surface, whether wood floor, carpet or concrete front porch, and she will draw.
Right now, her favorite figures are circles. She will draw circles in different sizes and they will represent different things. 'Gma, do me', she commands and I draw a smiling round little face with Abbie's hairdo. 'Do shirt', she adds and I draw arms and mitten hands and pants and little shoes. After Abbie, we invariably draw Gabe, Lizzie, Mama, and Grandma. She especially notes G'ma's glasses, a variation on the round faced smiling noseless theme. Today there was a big oval face with eyes and a mouth on her jumbo sized drawing pad. 'Abbie, is that yours?' I asked, ever ready to pounce on any praise-worthy action. She didn't claim it; it wasn't happy, so perhaps someone else drew it.
Drawing was the cheapest of entertainment when I was growing up. I remember considering coloring books a poor second to sheaves of blank-on-one-side blueprints or letters or other unintelligible scientific papers. My father brought home lots of waste paper from his work and we drew on it all. Cartoon horses, little stick faces with big mouths, landscapes, picture stories...I even wrote some stories on his waste paper. I cherished the box of 64 crayons, but a new set of Venus colored pencils was even better.
At my grandma's house, the scrap paper was the back of blueprints and other civil engineering plans. The paper was often screwed onto wooden backings which made it possible to both sit in the lazyboy and draw at the same time.
My sister was a better painter than I by far and I have kept several of her childhood water colors in frames in our house. But I could doodle with the best and covered margins of college notes with fantastical machines of dense and intricate curlicues. No offense, Mr. Professor... but the margins are too good to waste.
Well, let's be honest, even as a grandma. Abbie is probably NOT going to be a true artist. But she will never be bored if she has an ultra fine Uniball pen and a note pad on hand.

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