Painting mode turns everything I see into a painting to be dissected and reassembled on paper. Lately, I’ve been in writing mode, which usually lends itself more to doodles. This time around, however, it’s also been driving a different rebirth.
Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and before the evolution of digital devices, I was a book addict. When my parents said lights out, I heard the cue to walk to the light switch by the door and read by the light from the hall. Footsteps coming up the stairs sent me and my book under the covers with a flashlight until my parents caught me and let me have it. I’d get scolded in grade school for reading ahead in class because I needed to know what happened next.
Even then I knew that diving into the fantasy on a page was a socially acceptable and effective retreat from signs of depression that had only just begun to make themselves known.
Over the last few months, pictures that often require meditation to be seen have failed to form against the backdrop of the chaos that is life. That same noise has whipped up inner dialogues in a flight of ideas have brought me back to reading for pleasure.
Our kids are growing up watching me read mostly reference materials and magazines, which while vital are inherently functional. They don’t see me reading books as a primary source of entertainment, and, too often, my failed example is reflected back in their lack of interest in reading for its own sake. To be sure, Thing2’s Harry Potter obsession began with the series, but his second grade teacher deserves full credit for sparking it.
As I have resumed reading for reading’s sake, it has not only been the escape but a grounding force. Now, preoccupied with work and necessities, usually sitting near if not completely with the kids, reading wards away life’s frustrations and fears. I’m not escaping my boys, however. I hope, instead, I’m leading them toward something that may be only entertaining now but, maybe someday when they really need it, so much more.