Scarred not Scared

How To Be A Midlife Dad Without Going Postal: A Manual

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Come on, CommArts

Got my latest issue of Communication Arts yesterday (
  • Interactive Annual 12
  • ). Usually, I let it sit for a week or two, then drift through it, unless its the Photography issue, then I tear into it right away. I often let the Illustration issue gain dust. The difference is that I am fairly adept at digital photomanipulation, and can even snap a decent photo once very 100 frames or so (so far my strongest ones have all been taken at the beach, and all at sunset), but I can't draw for squat. Last summer, my mom sent home with me a box of old photos, hand made cards, school papers of mine, etc. Ostensibly, she said she was cleaning out closets and couldn't bear to keep the photos taken during my first marriage. Upon inspection of the the contents of the box, however, she sent me much more than that. I guess that as we age, the issue of Keep Or Return changes with priorities and energies. My parents have TONS of stuff, much of it lovely (8 different sets of fine china, endless artwork and the like), and while its obvious that this stuff is/was meaningful to mom (afterall, she kept it for nigh on 45 years), perhaps the idea of ever going through it again seemed futile or just too overwhelming.

    So, I have it now, and while I was away for a week this past spring helping mom and dad with their landscaping, my dearest Megan went through the contents, went out and bought half a dozen multi-photo picture frames and put together a really terrific retrospective of my childhood. It was so impactful, I wept at the sentiment. It also gave her more insight into the part of my life she has never had much access. Perhaps it also added some myth to her biography of me, because she went through the items without me over her shoulder offering commentary and reference, so she could imagine what she wished.

    The point of all this is that amongst the photos and school papers were also a number of handdrawn cards that I had made for my parents, some which I vividly remembered making and others that seemed completely unfamiliar. And while reading through the
  • CommArts issue
  • I came across an article about the label art of Bonny Doon Vineyards. Looking at the illustrations by Chuck House and Gary Taxali gave me pause: why do I shun the illustrator that live within me? How childish, how silly, how fearful. So today I dug through our bookshelf and pulled out a spiral bound, unlined book of blank pages with a nice, heavy cardboard cover with a nubby, alligator-like cover.

    Stay tuned…