I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist and art director
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Saturday, November 1, 2014


“Smooth” makes me think about cheeks: an old woman’s paper thin skin, a man after shaving, a baby’s softness.  I keep trying to think of other stuff, but I keep thinking about skin and touching, maybe because I don’t do enough of it.

My uncle has joked many times about my touchiness as a child.  He says if he sat down and made a lap, I was on it.  True, and I liked stroking his crew cut and holding his hand while sitting on his lap too.

I’ve told my dog that she fails me because she won’t cuddle.  She looks at me and thumps her tail while I’m talking and then goes back to protecting me from squirrels.  While I’m happy to be squirrel-free, I’d also like a dog that cuddles.

There are touchers and non-touchers in the world.  There are mates that sleep in the same bed, and mates that would rather sleep in different houses.  The separate bedroom people often say their mate snores, but I’ve also heard them admit they don’t want to touch, or even that they can’t stand someone else breathing their air.  I’m not quite sure how these people procreate.

My family isn’t very physically demonstrative, but when we went to Grandma’s house we lined up at the door when we came in and gave both Grandma and Grandpa a kiss on the cheek.  One day I decided that I was too old for this kind of thing and Grandma let it pass.  It’s one of my regrets.  I should’ve kept kissing her as long as she offered her cheek, but she let me think myself more grown and I didn’t kiss her again.  Sometimes the price of autonomy is too high.

We need to be touched.  Wolves rubbing noses and monkeys grooming each other aren’t that different from people.  Touch is part of our socialization.  Our skin needs it as much as our minds and souls.  Or maybe it’s empathetic people that need touch?

My early training means that I often sit with my hands in my lap like a “proper” female.  My Italian friend loosened me up enough that I sometimes use a hand to express a point, but I very rarely reach across the invisible personal borders to touch a friend’s arm while empathizing with them.  It’s so wrong, and it’s wrong that I fight my startle response when someone does it to me. 

Part of it can also be that not all touch is good.  I got swatted in school for laughing in the library.  Mr. Delzoppo made me bend in front of the corner of his desk and I pointed out that he was going to crack my head open.  He hit me with everything he had, and I pointed out that the only reason my head wasn’t bleeding is because I caught the desk in my hands before that could happen.  More swats with a heavy stick for insubordination.  Jerk.  Can’t really see how corporal punishment altered my behavior in any positive way so I’m against it.

I abused my computer this week.  I also had problems with 2 printers at work, broke the camera, and spilled a box of macaroni on the floor... so I'm going with old art.  Touching a salamander seems smooth.  They have very delicate skin.  I’m just not safe to exist in the world this week so for all this talk of touching, I think I’ll stay curl up with my non-cuddly dog an old-fashioned book this weekend.


  1. Oh Linda, your writing is wonderful - makes me laugh and feel. So consider this a virtual hug. Our dog is not cuddly during the day but she gets 5 mins in bed at night. By then she's so tired from her constant shenanigans, she cuddles right up.

  2. Your week sounded rough, Linda. And it's harder when their's no one to give you a hug when you share your tale of woe. I am sending you an especially warm virtual hug...and despite your upbringing, I *still* plan to give you a very big hug in person if I ever show up on your doorstep for tea! "This too shall pass" is a useful mantra, I find... ♡

  3. My dog seemed to know that I talked trash about her non-cuddliness and was extra snuggly this weekend. Maybe her stomach hurt from getting into the macaroni that spilled on the floor? I would love to see you show up at more door for tea Susan! Open invite to my other blog buddies, and I'll give and receive hugs too :) Here's to hoping we all have a good week!

  4. You did a good job with smooth. A weird theme for Halloween if you ask me. My cats are extreme cuddlers. No shortage at my house. >^..^<

  5. I'm glad your dog was snuggly. I do think touching can get extra complicated for some of us sensitive artist types. We feel the need, but we are so often processing so much getting the need met ican be tricky. I used to be like that, but now, with four kids and a husband I often just want to keep my skin to myself for awhile! My husband is hispanic and his family culture is very demonstrative and physical, which has been passed to my kids. Everyone kisses!

    I'm mad at that library person, and I'm sorry!

  6. Love the illustration. There's a name for that technique, but it escapes me.

    Nice thought provoking post as usual. I think I often take touch for granted. Hopefully you're having a better week than last!

  7. Another great post Linda, I am very tactile but then as a physiotherapist I need to be! There is nothing better than a hug too, if I were nearer I would be round for a cuppa and a hug..we could put the world right. Sending a purr from Billy too and have a better week xx

  8. The illustration is Prismacolor pencil on cocquille board. It was an early way to make art that looks like a halftone, but could be shot b/w. I like some of the retro techniques. Thanks for the comments. Hugs for everyone!

  9. The image of the salamander in your illustration stirred memories of catching and releasing many in my younger years. They are not so easily found now, almost as the act of touching moves through different stages as we distance ourselves from those loved ones in the name of independence. Now about those cuddly dogs- I know a couple who will be your best friends if you give them treats and one large one in particular who thinks she'll fit in your lap. They'd be happy to visit and share little couch time with you, too!

  10. My dog seems to know that I talked bad about her this week and has been extra cuddly -- which really means that she stops by for petting once in a while. I think I'll keep her :) Thanks for the comment Michele!