This messy place is where creation takes place. It sounds religious… but it’s not. It’s spiritual.
This is what Frank sits before nearly every single day. Sometimes, this is a place of joy, other times there is just the sound of a head thudding against white masonite. That ruler you see has been with Frank for nearly 20 years. He never misses an opportunity to tell me where he got it…1994, Central Avenue, Albany, NY. A mom and pop office supply store that is long gone. It was one of those places that had inventory piled from floor to ceiling and aisles that barely allowed a single body room to navigate it. He needed it for an art class… never thought it’d still be with him years later. “This thing was made to outlast me. So far, we’re even.”
He loves it here. This is the same board he’s had for 11 years. The ink splotches in the lower right hand corner have been layered and layered to the point where they are currently 1/4 of an inch high. I’m not sure if that’s cool or a waste of ink.
The pen holder above the ink splotches is nothing but old dirty kneaded eraser. Too sticky to use on drawings, but perfect to act as a gravity inhibitor for pens. (the board is set at a slight angle.)
On the left hand side, there’s the light box. He doesn’t use this as much as he once did…most likely because he draws relatively fast now…trusting his instinct more and sketching less.
The pens, pencils and markers? They come and go as tools grow worn or run out of ink.
He’s had that pencil sharpener for 10 years too. Although that has recently been replaced. The new one sharpens faster and better, but it still will take some getting used to.
This is his altar. His most favorite corner of the world. I respect it. I wish I had something as special as he has in this well worn place. It’s beautiful.
There are times when you can pinpoint the cause of depression, sometimes not so much. It could be one little trigger… a candy wrapper crumbled on the floor, a leaf floating past a window you just happened to be looking out of, who knows?
Even if you could pinpoint what un-pressed you to begin with, what does that change? Do you immediately feel euphoric? Probably not. Sometimes you just have to ride it out.
So you avoid candy wrappers and looking out windows on windy days…then what? If you don’t know what will trigger the next wave, how can you avoid anything? You can’t… just ride it out. It’ll all work out.
A weed is one of the toughest living things out there.
Picture a sidewalk. Sidewalks are made to make it easier for people to get from one place to another… without having to worry about getting hit by a vehicle (or a horse). They almost always go the same places that the road goes… But, the sidewalk is on the outside of the usual road traffic. It has its own type of traffic. They both get to the same places, they just get there in different ways and forms. Sidewalks are heavy… made of cement and concrete… but, they’re not “built”…they are poured into forms. So, sidewalks have the potential to be much more than a road can ever be. Their shape is not clearly defined until that form is made. sidewalks are colorless, grey, white… but every once and a while, a weed, seemingly weak and meek, manages to break through the rigid structure and breathe. Persistence gets you through those cracks, persistence makes those cracks… persistence shows the will to live. I think we could all learn a lesson for that weed… striving towards a tiny sliver of light… to live.
You can’t control where the sidewalks go or how they are poured, but you can control those cracks… those openings, those little rifts in the structure, are what you have to grow through to see the pale blue sky and warm your petals in the sun.
That’s hard. but that’s what you have to, or though past choices, are forced to do.
It would be great to be in a vast field where you could grow as tall and high as you want…but then you’d just be another weed in a sea of blooms.
A dandelion growing through a sidewalk is infinitely more beautiful to me than an acre of roses.
What you see is a sketch of the artist that makes most of all this possible. This doodle and I have been through a lot together. I started being real when he started being serious… i think.
I often wonder why he never put me in this sketch. Maybe he was thinking of me when he sketched himself looking at himself and wondering how he was able to do that. I heard Frank talking to Lauren today about drawing. Lauren asked him why he draws so much if he hates it. “i don’t hate it, but I think sometimes I love cartooning more than it will ever love me. That is the definition of passion for something… for me anyway. You have to keep at it day after day because maybe one day, 10,000 drawings from the one in front of you, it will love you back. If you don’t pursue its love, what’s the point?” It was about here where Lauren went back to her chicken fingers and barbeque sauce and Frank to his chicken parm sandwich…consoling himself in knowing that one day she’ll understand what he said today.
I don’t bite a lot, but when I do, I definitely want it to mean something… and I totally want it to be remembered. Scars are good for that. I’m not violent, but I can be when called upon to be that way. This probably isn’t exactly what Dr. Maya Angelou was thinking when she put those words out, but I think anything can be open to interpretation.
I only had one Black Friday experience. That was enough for me. It was a different culture, a different world… even though all the faces seemed familiar… they all had that look. The steamroller look. The 50% off look. The “I need this enough to physically harm you into submission”.
Ironic that even though I was in the middle of what could only be accurately described as the Thunderdome, there were Christmas carols playing… music that did little to soothe the savage beasts around me. The only thing that soothed them was getting what they needed to get or everything running out.
there are a ton of things i can be thankful for on thanksgiving. i’m not going to bore you with the specifics… mostly because thinking about all the good stuff in my life will make me start crying. nothing kills a holiday faster than seeing a squirrel holing a spoon and a fork crying his tail off.
now i plan on being thankful on the inside today while i methodically eat myself into a mashed potato coma…
We all go through changes in life. Life is a cycle…sometimes the chain is well oiled, sometimes it’s rusty.
This is what I looked like in 2002…the year I was re-born. Just another little sketch in one of Frank’s many sketchbooks. If events of that day had been even slightly different, I may not have existed…well, I would have still existed… just not with Frank. All it takes is one thing to set the cards another way.
I like the fact that over the course of 10 years, my arms have gotten longer. My nose is a little narrower and my tail is a bit fuller. I don’t feel any different now physically, but I know I think differently. I see things differently. If I didn’t have 3000+ strips to look at, I would think that I remained the same and everything else around me changed. Seriously… you probably would too.
The thing about change is that it can be everything and nothing at the same time. It can be subtle or severe. If you’re looking for it, you probably won’t see it. If you see it, you probably won’t acknowledge it. When you finally feel it, you probably won’t be too happy about it. When you’re not happy about it, all yo can do about it is not be happy about it. Change is a selfish being… and it’s not going anywhere.