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Saturday, February 15, 2014

"Twisted"


I have nimble fingers and an artistic nature.  The days of macramé and Girl Scout lanyards were good for me.  High grasses next to the river became braided rugs in my play areas.  From low tree branches I hung hippie walls of long strands of grass with shell and rock "love beads".  I tucked in flowers and wore flower leis and headdresses.  I moved in some boulders and logs for furniture, then made woven mats for cushions.

You know, now I'm starting to think about all that criticism I used to get about being too much of a tomboy and I'm wondering how many tomboys put that much effort into nesting and decorating?  I guess I never liked being frilly.  My mom spent a lot of time making a white and pink dress full of ruffles, lace, and rick rack.  I told her I hated it and didn't want so much fluff, but she was bound and determined to make the horrid thing.  I wore it to church exactly once.  I'm sure I looked adorable.

After church I went to the rapids and slid down them on my butt until I was absolutely sure that the river sludge would never come out and the torn fabric could never be repaired.  Mom cried, and Dad told her to look at the kid she actually had and dress me accordingly.  I got swatted for leaving my church shoes at the river, but I figured that was a small price to pay to banish pink rick rack from my life.  Plus, I got my first pair of shorts as a result, but to tell the absolute truth, I ditched even those when I was playing by myself in the woods.

I'm pretty sure that there aren't many kids who got to run around with such complete abandon then, and real sure even less of us today.  But still... someday I'm going to be an old lady and smile to myself about the feel of water and mud between my toes and a summer breeze tickling me through the pines while I laid on my braided grass rug and watched a lady bug and ate pilfered fruit from the neighbor's orchard.

Sometimes I become aware that other people are afraid of things it hasn't occurred to me to fear.  I don't mean to be insensitive, but I often think that all they need to do is quit being afraid of that stuff.  According to livescience.com, the top 10 fears are:  snakes, spiders, elevators, people, heights, dark, thunder and lightning, flying, dogs, and the dentist.  Really now, only 1 of those is actually scary, and what could possess people to be afraid of dogs?

I've played with many snakes and here's the truth -- most of them won't bite you unless you stick your finger in their mouth.  This is a truth that I learned by trial and error, and even bitten, it didn't really hurt very much.  That's kind of the point.  If you get out and try things you'll find out that things don't hurt as bad as you fear.

Soooo... write your book, go on an interview, look down from a bridge, or do whatever it is that you're afraid to do and you'll find out it doesn't kill you.  Do it enough and you'll find out it isn't even very hard anymore.  You might even end up published or employed.

28 comments:

  1. Always hated pink rick rack myself... but admit heights make some of my vital body parts shrivel. Love the illustrations. :)

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    1. I could send you some pink rick rack? You're on your own for heights :)

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    2. :) gee, i think i'll pass on the prr

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  2. I recall reading one of your posts where you climbed a monstrously high something(?). I had to control a slight bit of nausea just from reading! So yeah, of that list, heights are my nemesis. One day I'll take your advice and begin my attempt at conquering it.

    I love stories of your youth; how you took advantage of the complete outdoors and how your Dad stuck up for you. :)

    Love the first image and the skill of the others!

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  3. "I got swatted for leaving my church shoes at the river, but I figured that was a small price to pay to banish pink rick rack from my life".

    If we'd have grown up in the same town, we woulda been friends, I know it! Maybe you could have helped break me of my fear of heights.

    Love the twisted illustrations! I remember reading that women's hands are more sensitive than mens from back in the prehistoric times when women did all the weaving and rooting around for food in the ground while the men just threw spears and stuff.

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    1. I'm sure we would've been friends too :) It makes perfect sense to me that women are more adept with their hands after making all those baskets.

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  4. Great piece, so strange and delicate looking, it's just lovely.

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  5. Lovely....both the art and the words. Thanks, Linda!!!

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  6. I always enjoy hearing about your childhood exploits Linda. My brother and I were pretty well allowed to play free as kids but I really think those days have gone..it's nothing to do with dangerous peeps more to do with traffic etc and that social services would have a field day spotting a couple of pre 8 year olds out playing! I can see you when you are old wearing purple...LOL...do you know the poem? X

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    1. Love that poem, but something about all the red hat ladies dressing alike from the poem's inspiration seems like an oxymoron to me. I may choose other clashing colors to wear when I'm old -- but I'm all for the hats :)

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  7. Beautiful illustration Linda, it has a really calm tranquil feel. I also agree with Jane, i love to hear the stories of your past. You always manage to paint a powerful picture with both words and images.

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  8. Wonderful piece. Thank you. I was entrusted with too many un-childlike responsibilities when I was a child, so I don't remember playing with so much abandon.

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    1. I played with abandon in between my un-childlike responsibilities. Maybe the contrast between the activities make me appreciate my freedom all the more?

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  9. I played like that in the mountains of Colorado (raised in Denver.) We're the lucky ones. I do have to admit to liking dotted swiss, though :-) Love the illustration!

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  10. Wonderful! Eerily like a painting I did called "rootbound" where I also wrapped stones. I love the magic of this.I

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  11. Yay for all the kids who got to play free! It makes me smile to think that my childhood play gives other people enjoyment. "Heights" isn't the justifiable fear I was thinking of, but I'm not saying which is justifiable because last time I gave a list of my fears every one of them visited my life the following week. Thanks for the comments everybody!!

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  12. Really beautiful colors! I love all those smooth and tactile objects twisted up in natural materials. I enjoy picking up smooth beach stones and bringing a few home with me, as a reminder of a lovely day!

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  13. This piece is just delightful. I also love the story you tell.

    The art makes me think of Andy Goldsworthy and his ephemeral nature art. It also reminds me of my childhood, a lot of which was spent outdoors exploring fields and woods and making "houses" and other things out of natural objects. I am blessed to live in the country and my kids do the same now as I used to do.

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  14. I like both your drawing of the objects tied in grasses and the story behind the image.

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  15. Thanks everybody! Your responses make me think maybe I should do a "real" painting on this subject.

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  16. What a infant terrible you must have been - but I certainly understand. Who would like to be confined to normalcy when you are a kid? Part of being a kid is breaking barriers. But as you point out, it's never too late for that. As grown-ups we should definitely challenge ourselves more and break new barriers. Great post - with lovely illustrations.

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  17. Linda, I like your illustration of grass with stones very much. It is very sweet and romantic. Tomboy? Maybe, but one with a sweet heart.

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  18. I had my share of grass stains when I was a kid. And instead of being afraid of mice, I tried to keep them as pets. But spiders are another story...

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  19. I only wrecked one dress in my infant terrible childhood :) But I got my point across! Yes, many grass stains too and still some scars on my knees to show I got out and played. Thanks for the comments everybody!

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  20. What beautiful objects and I love your use of colors.

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  21. My mom liked to put rick rack on all the things she sewed for me and my sister too---I had a dozen or more summer 'sun tops' from all of my mom's sewing scraps. I think I got even when I discovered that very, very tiny rick rack and used it on my doll clothes projects!! You would have been a great childhood buddy, Linda…I am sorry I missed that. And…I first read that: fear of 'flying dogs!' :-) I read somewhere that psychologists say that the only thing babies are born being afraid of are loud noises and being dropped. Great illustration!

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  22. Well I've got to say that flying dogs might be worth fearing! I'm glad you made it through the rick rack period with happy memories Susan!

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