Thursday, April 22, 2010
For a while I had kind of avoided the site, afraid that I'd say something that I would regret later.
That's the funny thing when you've spent part of your professional life training other people to think before they write. It makes online revolutions like Twitter and Facebook look more like trouble than recreation.
But now I'm back in, reconnecting with friends and commenting on photos of burgers and posts about kids saying the darnedest things.
Because I usually have time to kill on my bus ride in in the morning the majority of my status updates have to do with things that happen on the "D" line.
Which is what led to this conversation between me and one of my many, many cousins:
Cousin: I think you need to write a book about your bus rides. They're really funny.
Artboy: But here's the thing. Since everyone started saying that, nothing funny has happened. And it's worse because my neighbor has been starting to ride my bus in the morning and she isn't crazy and doesn't smell the least bit like urine. She's useless to me. Useless.
Now here's the funny thing about that particular drawing.
To this day I'm relatively certain that I got that prize because the older women running the competition believed I was doing some kind of tribute to the Native Americans who made up the largest minority population of our small town.
Except I really wasn't.
I was actually drawing a picture of my favorite superhero at the time...a character who led the junior league X-Men team, The New Mutants.
But I tell that story more for background color. To set the scene. Give you a little humorous background.
The not so humorous side of things is that I was kind of a punk when the ladies gave me the award. Truth be told, I was a shy kid. I would actually rehearse conversations with my own relatives in my head before asking a question or starting a conversation. So, when the trio of women arrived in the art room to congratulate me and the other winners, I clammed up.
I barely said hello. I don't even remember if I said thank you. I just kind of went quiet.
My teacher, a woman who rightly kicked my ass whenever the need or opportunity called for it (2), turned to me the minute those ladies left to say that if I ever acted that way again she would never nominate me for anything as long as I was her student.
It was a lesson in humility that I never forgot.
And it was a lesson I thought of the other day while listening to an interview with Yann Martel, the slightly soiled author of the novel The Life of Pi (3).
Martel has a new book coming out and the interviewer inquired after what he'd been doing between Pi and this new book.
"Living my life," Martel responded.
Here's the funny thing, the thing that reminded me of that afternoon in the art room. That single three word sentence made me instantly decide not to buy the new book. It was this condescending and utterly off-putting response that made me feel like I had no interest in what it is Martel decided to say between the covers of his new book.
Though I don't think my not purchasing his book will be something that will cause him great consternation the next time he's hanging out, living his life.
1. Which, I recently learned, is now long enough ago that babies born the year I graduated can now buy alcohol inside the store, and not out in the grocery parking lot like I would have been doing back in 1989.
2. This woman was amazing. I've never been able to find out where she vanished to.
3. For those that don't remember, Martel whose "imaginative and unforgettable" book might have sprung out of someone else's imagination. And that other author? He didn't forget.
Wanna here how I'm more likely to get a butter churn for my next birthday than an iPad?
The posts that you're going to start reading here?
They were all first written down in a spiral bound notebook.
True, it's a $5.00 spiral bound notebook with the kickiest of covers.
But it's a spiral bound notebook.
Take that tech.