Those of you who have read my previous post know that my sketchbook was recently pooped on by a malevolent bird of evil most untold. This has me remembering.
I remember, for example, the time in high school when another sketchbook was vomited on by a sick little sister. It was mostly salvageable. The sick-covered bits of pages were cut out to preserve the precious seeds of my budding talent.
Then there was the time my husband and I came home and found our house burglarized, everything overturned, nothing taken except for a work cell phone and my laptop that contained my recently finished middle grade novel.
And it reminds me of the time my next computer, less than a year later, got a virus that wiped out another dozen small manuscripts.
And, most bitterly, I remember the time when I spent a semester in France making fat a sketchbook with drawings from every museum and café I went to and losing it on the way home. It held my sketches of “The Kiss” from the Rodin museum, the castle overlooking the beach in Nice, and a dark sculpture in the Musée D’orsay, her curves so thick with graphite I had to slice out the delicate highlights on her thighs and arms with an exacto knife. I still can’t think of where I might have lost it between Paris and San Francisco.
So, now, when something like this happens I scream inwardly something like, “AGAIN?!”
And then I wrestle. Is this a sign? What does it mean? Is this God telling me to stop? Or is this something trying desperately to make me turn back before I become too dangerous?
I mean, at this point, I think we’re getting beyond just rotten bad luck.
But I can’t stop creating. I can say, like Jeremiah, that it’s locked up in my bones like fire.
So, I imagine the redemption in my losses and keep on creating.
I imagine a group of adolescent delinquents sorting through stolen devices. Except for one in the corner, whose face is backlit by a stolen computer screen. His expression is somber as he descends into the story of four thirteen year-olds and a precocious eleven year-old as they fight the sadness and injustice of the world with humor and courage.
And I imagine a stoop-shouldered janitor somewhere in middle America sweeping out terminal A on a Wednesday when his broom nudges loose a small sketchbook. He opens it later at home as his wife fixes him a plate and all the museums of France spitting beauty and little slips of French phrases tumble all over his lap, a gift from the universe to a weary soul.
So you can steal my computer; and you can vomit on my sketchbook.
But I wrote today. So there’s that.
One more step towards dangerous.