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Friday, October 22, 2010

"Racing"

"Racing" reminds me of a family camping trip where I met a bunch of Algonquin boys running in a field. They ran back and forth and back and forth all afternoon. They insisted I had to run barefoot, and I got spiked in the foot with some woody weed. I pulled it out and kept running, and they praised me for being tough.

I envied their freedom. Everybody got along, everyone laughed, and somehow running was something they were driven to do. They didn't care if I was a girl as long as I could keep up, and I think it was the first time I felt like my sex didn't matter. It was also before I wanted to be noticed as a girl. When they started tackling each other, I got tackled too. When I tried to tackle a big boy, he snatched me up and threw me to another kid who carried me like a football to the end of the field. I guess I should be glad that was before football players started spiking the ball in the end zone.

My first thought when I saw the word of the week is that nobody can make me draw race cars in my free time. My second thought was Winslow Homer's "Crack the Whip". It wasn't much of a jump to remember the Algonquin boys from there.


I love Homer's action and the balance of realism with loose, impressionistic brush strokes. Flowers are quick dabs of color, faces are smeared blobs, but the anatomy is correct and real. The painting is much smaller than I imagined before seeing it at the Butler Museum in Youngstown, Ohio. There is a lot of info about Homer online, and if you aren't familiar with him, I'd recommend looking him up. He did a lot of powerful work during the American Civil War, and spent his old age in New England painting the ocean. Much of his work has hidden social messages, and I admire his spirit.

Crack the Whip is a kids' game where they all hold hands and run together until the kid at the end stops and yanks the chain of children. As shown in the painting, the kid on the end falls off. I played this with my siblings when I was small, and it kept us occupied until we were all a sweaty heap of laughter.

When I started this blog, I had such different ideas in mind. I didn't realize it would so often become a diary of happy little memories of childhood, but the words of the week take me back, and I'm glad when my stories hit a note with other people. Grownups get too bound up with thoughts of bills, and what we want, or what we can't have. We forget what it's like to play, to feel free, and to see the future as endless as a perfect summer day running with healthy, friendly boys.

Homer's work speaks for itself. I wasn't about to paint a similar subject for comparison, so the top pic is something I did in PhotoShop, and the other is a pencil doodle to fit the theme.

Thanks to everyone for their comments about my "spooky" post. I'm sorry I wasn't able to return everyone's visit. I've been having headaches, which I guess is just another reason to think about happy summer days of childhood :)

15 comments:

  1. Hi Linda, I like the images you posted for "racing," yours and WH's, as well as the trip back to a more carefree time! "Crack the whip" and "Red Rover" used to be playground standards- Glad they continue to live on in memories!
    Hope you're feeling better this week! :o)

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  2. Oh yeah, Red Rover! That was fun too :) I hope I feel better too. So far today my right eye isn't cooperating. (Don't mind me while I pout about it.)

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  3. ok we won´t mind you:)...but I love your stories and sketches...how can you write so well when your head is pounding?,,,,but we won´t mind that cause it is much better by now,,,right:)

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  4. Heisann!

    Hope you are OK now!
    Great post this week, thanks sharing the story ;:OD)

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  5. Thanks! I'm over the worst of it. I'm still having visual migraines, but that's just annoying, not painful. Thinking of fun things in the past takes my mind off of it, so I'll just view it as therapy :)

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  6. I really enjoy your take on the IF "running" Linda. Thanks for sharing all those childhood memories. It's interesting how a single word can transport us somewhere back to our past...I really enjoyed reading this post.

    Go and have a run/walk outside and recapture that spirit of your childhood, it will get those endorphins flowing and they are brilliant to ease a headache.Far better than anything from the chemist!

    Jane x

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  7. I think you're absolutely right Jane! Seems like a perfect day to go to the park. I hope you get out too. Thanks for the kind words, and to you too Juan!

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  8. Linda what beautiful childhood memories you have. So rich and so interesting. I love reading about you running with the Algonquin boys. I think we played crack the whip when we were young too, we called it a different name being from a different country. Ah yes. I started blogging to talk about my love for dishes. After posting about plates twice, I bored myself.

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  9. LOL Ces! Note to self, don't write about dishes... Too bad really, because I'm kind of fond of my dishes!

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  10. Great post and I love the line work, you can really see where each runner is in their run.

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  11. Terrific work! Great piece for this week's word!

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  12. What fun images! I love a good race too.

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  13. Thanks Deb, and thanks for the follow Toni!

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