I did this drawing working from a photograph by a Minnesotan photographer I admire very much named Rhea Pappas. A few years ago she had a show called Beneath The Surface at Ice Box Gallery in Minneapolis – large scale photos of women underwater. Although I couldn’t afford to buy one of the photos, I have a postcard of one of my favorites that I’ve kept on my bulletin board ever since.
There is something about being suspended underwater that appeals to a lot of us. Perhaps it is best summed up by that very famous scene in The Graduate, when Dustin Hoffman sinks to the bottom of the pool just to hang for awhile and escape the pressure of the adult world. When you’re underwater, you’re in a liminal space, neither here nor there. It’s an in-between state and it can be a welcome respite, a chance to hit the reset button.
But it’s also a way, for just as long as you can hold your breath, to get lost.
My parents recently sold their house and most of their belongings.
Along with the scythe, I inherited a corn cutter, a pitchfork, some walking sticks (gifts from some hippie friends they don’t see much anymore), a bedroom set, a cabinet to hold one’s curios and lots of other odds-n-ends.
Keith and I are wondering if one of us should dress up as the Grim Reaper on Halloween and jump out at trick-or-treaters with the scythe in hand.
I think we’d get in a lot of trouble with parents but some of the kids would love it.
I had a bad dream. Nightmare, really. It featured Catorpion – a creature that is half cat and half scorpion.
In my dream I was in a bedroom and I pointed at the wall, where a giant scorpion was crawling.
“What’s that?” I said.
The scorpion fell off the wall and onto my arm, where it promptly morphed into Catorpion.
When it attacked me, it was biting and clawing me with it’s front, cat half and stinging me with its back, scorpion half.
Yes, it hurt quite a bit. I was screaming in pain. My arm was in shreds.
That’s all I remember.
But isn’t that enough?
When we first got our dog, Freja, I was worried about stuff like dog hair on my clothes and that “doggie smell” that can pervade everything. I found it annoying to get up at 2 a.m. to take her outside to pee because she couldn’t make it all the way through the night.
Soon, a routine was established. There were favorite toys. She learned her name and came running when I called. I tried to snuggle; she resisted. She barked at me when she wanted a bone.
We ran errands together. Walked. Hiked. Walked some more. She learned to read my expression and watch my hands for signals.Â She can smile. And often does.
There are 205 steps in every city block I walk with her. We walk in rain, snow, wind and heat. Sometimes I stalk along, wondering what the hell I’m doing out there. Then I look down at her as she trots along, stopping to nose something in the leaves, and realize that it’s because I’ve become truly dog-hearted.
Keith and I were driving and the song “More Than A Feeling” by Boston came on the radio.
Keith said it sucks.
A few days later I went to eat my lunch outside at a playground. From across the soccer field I heard the sound of “More Than A Feeling.” I walked to the edge of a hill and looked down at a man painting his garage while listening to tunes on a radio.
On a sunny, late summer day, “More Than A Feeling” didn’t suck.
A few weeks ago, Phyllis Diller died. One thing I always loved about Phyllis, besides that hair and the crazy laugh, was that she didn’t start her stand-up career until she was 37. Since she lived to be 95, that means she enjoyed a 58-year career in comedy.
We hear a lot about young people making it big. There are all kinds of lists honoring “30 Under 30” or “40 Under 40.”
What about the late bloomers?
Recently, I decided I want to draw more despite the fact that I don’t draw well. But I like to do it.
The thing I’m good at is observing the world. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid. Once, at a nature program when all the other kids were playing a prey/predator game, I hung back and watched, not wanting to take part. A man on the sidelines said to me, “It’s OK, the world needs doers and it needs watchers.”
I see now that he’s right. At the time I thought it meant that I was deficient somehow. I longed to be a doer. But I’m a watcher. I observe human nature. I notice when someone paints the shutters on their house. It makes me a better writer. I hear what people are saying. And maybe, just maybe, it will make me a better drawer.
Not Shallow has taken a couple different formats over the years and now it becomes a respository for my drawings and accompanying observations. I know I have at least 5 fans, because they’ve told me they like the site and, when I took a break, asked me when it was coming back. I hope that those 5 fans will join me by checking in every so often and sharing it with some more people.
Here’s to all the late bloomers.
In keeping with my theme from last week of posters/flyers I’d like to see, I mocked up another hot one tonight (under the guidance and supervision of PhotoShop Wizard Keith).
I think I’m breaking new ground for bar food! Eagle: it’s what for dinner.
It’s a strange endeavor to try to draw a deep-fried eagle wing.