As I’ve been spending a lot of time going through the book giveaways I’ve received lately, I came across one that can supposedly teach me how to ‘Draw People in 15 Minutes or Less’. I’m not sure if my end result after those 15 minutes would actually resemble my less than complete willing models, or if those subjects I selected would be flattered by my attempt or just insulted by the sight of the final product, but I guess an ugly drawn person is still a drawn person. So the author would still be technically correct, right? Because I drew a person in 15 minutes (or probably much less ’cause my attention span is…oh, a squirrel!,).
But, more important than the lesson it thought me about my lack of artistic talent, that book reminded me of another one from years ago…
Back when I was a kid, we went to the library each week during the school year (and probably at least twice a week during the summer). Sure, it was probably just a plan conceived to get us out of the house and keep us out of trouble for a few hours (me more than my sisters of course), but we loved it and I always came home with a big stack of books to try and get through before it was time to go back and find some new ones. At least until this one time when, as a 7-year-old, I made it onto the library’s banned list. Yep, I started my life as a trouble maker young…
According to ‘the system’, and what ‘the man’ told me (through their 68-year old woman representative behind the desk), I had never returned one of the books I’d checked out and it was now overdue. No new books for me until it was returned.
“I returned it,” I told my dad.
“I know I returned it,” I told my mom.
“I’m 100% certain I returned it,” I told both parents.
“Shut up,” I told my sisters for what I assume was a good reason.
I had no doubt whatsoever that the library was wrong, that they had it somewhere in the back and were blaming me for a crime that I didn’t commit and enjoying my emotional pain. Weeks went by. Months went by. $1.24 in late fees accumulated. And, completely against my 7-year-old wishes, my parents went to the library’s front desk and paid for the book.
I was shocked. I couldn’t believe my parents’ lack of belief in me and their lack of willingness to fight the system on my behalf. It was disturbing but, then again, at least I was allowed my previous library rights and the librarians treated me as if nothing had ever happened. But my faith in my parents was still shaken. So much so that when, two years later, I found the book behind my dresser, I was tempted not even to tell them about it.
So a thin, orange hardcover book showing me just how to draw the 40 top styles of dinosaurs that everyone would want to see was now mine. Permanently. It was bought and paid for. But, due to the immense amount of 7-year-old shame attached to the find of that book, I don’t believe that I ever opened it up again.
Now, if I try to draw a dinosaur, it pretty much looks like a couch with arms. So owning the book for all these years hasn’t helped me one bit. And, opening it up and re-reading it now won’t help because…well…I’ve lost it again. And I’ve even looked behind the dresser this time.