Sunday, March 23, 2014

Photos From the Road

On Friday I received pictures from the Brooklyn Opening from the lovely people at the Sketchbook Project. I spent a fun half an hour poring over the photos trying to spot my sketchbook. No luck. That didn't stop me from imagining that someone pictured was viewing my work.

Some people seemed too serious, or too confused. Some looked bored. Some weren't looking at sketchbooks at all. (That's right. I'm talking about you Mr. Texty. Put down that phone and give your full attention to that book! Someone worked hard on it!) After scanning the possibilities a few times, I've decided to imagine that the couple in the lower left corner of this photo are viewing my sketchbook. 

Photo "borrowed" from the Art House Co-op's photostream on flickr
Don't they look like they're having fun? That was my goal as I worked on my sketchbook. I wanted my reader to have fun. I wanted to make them smile. When I imagine that couple looking at my sketchbook I feel that my mission has been accomplished. 

If you'd like to be a real reader of my sketchbook, and if you're in Asheville, North Carolina on Wednesday, March 26 between 1 and 5 pm, stop by The Asheville Bookworks. The mobile library, including my sketchbook, will be parked outside the the doors waiting to make you smile.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Travelling, Touring Sketchbook

I've been slow in sharing my sketchbook pages here, but that doesn't mean things haven't been happening. My sketchbook, along with thousands of others that form The Sketchbook Project's Mobile Library, hit the road last weekend. The tour started in Brooklyn, NY at the Brooklyn Art Library. From there it will visit more than twenty cities on its journey across North America. A big adventure for my modest sketchbook. I'm rather excited about it.

What's even more exciting is that I've already received an email from my sketchbook. Yep. I get letters from my art, or rather on behalf of my art.
We just wanted to let you know that leah l. just viewed your sketchbook (#S130320) at Brooklyn Art Library in Brooklyn, NY!
Your book has been viewed 1 time so far.
The Brooklyn Art Library Librarian
Cool, huh? Whenever someone views my sketchbook I get an email notification. The above note made my day.

Today my sketchbook, and its arty friends, is hanging out in Richmond, VA at the Virginia Commonweath University from 1:00 - 5:00 pm. I know it's rather late notice, but if you happen to be in the area stop by and check things out. In particular, check out my sketchbook. I'd love to hear from it again, and I'd love for you to see my completed sketchbook. 

Want to see what I've shared so far? I've created a page for my sketchbook. Just click on the tab way up at the top of the page.

Next stop. Asheville, North Carolina.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Complicated Sadness

A long time ago in a teeny, tiny town far, far away...

...I taught at an elementary school. I think many of you already knew that.

It was the most rewarding job I ever had. It was also the most difficult. As much as I enjoyed working with children, the education system as a whole didn't work for me. After four years I left. That was twenty years ago.


Early in February a name on a book's acknowledgements page jumped out at me. (Yes, I am one of those people who reads the acknowledgements.) The author's son had the same name as a boy I taught all those years ago. I wondered if that boy and the author's son were the same person. I had never met the boy's father. His parents had split up. The father was never mentioned. The author seemed old enough to have a twenty-something son, and he lives close enough to the teeny-tiny town to make the relationship a possibility. I was intrigued by the coincidence, particularly since I had met the author a couple years ago.

Because of this, and because I'm a generally nosey person, I decided to do some online snooping to see if the author was the father of my long-ago student. What I found was a memorial page on Facebook. My former student committed suicide in November.

I was caught completely off guard by how sad that made sad it still makes me.


When I think of my former students I think of them as they were. Each one, even the ones that didn't conform to the constraints of the education system, had some spark of potential. Occasionally, when I realize that my memories are twenty years old and those children are now grown up, I imagine that potential fulfilled. I imagine adults with dreams and careers and families. I imagine they are happy. Knowing that it was otherwise for this young man, particularly since I remember him as a bright, happy, smiling child, has left me feeling...

What I'm feeling is complicated. I feel sad. I feel like the world is a bit darker for this loss. I feel surprise at my emotion over a child I haven't seen in twenty years. This leads my to feeling a bit like a creepy stalker, though my common sense knows this is not the case. I feel heart-sick for his family. 


Today, when I took a break from writing this, I discovered that Rose-Anne of Life, Love and Food had written about suicide and those left behind in her most recent post.  Her honesty and generosity humble me. 


I never did find out if the author and my former student were father and son. It seems unimportant now. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Blooming Though

I've been in a rather dark mood lately. Things have seemed grey both inside and out. I think the West Coast winter finally got to me, but I'm doing my best to shake it. 

What better way to get over the blahs than to jump in, do something spontaneous, new and really last minute. So with 15 minutes left on the clock I've decided to throw together a post and join the Second Hand First link-up over at The Citizen Rosebud. 

I've admired, and lurked at, The Citizen Rosebud for ages.  I go there regularly for inspiration. If it weren't for writers like Bella, I don't think I'd have given shopping second-hand a second thought. 

This outfit includes three new-to-me items. The skirt came from a consignment shop. The belt and the jacket were thrifted. 

Though I'm not quite a "second-hand-first" shopper, I am getting better at thinking about my clothing choices, and I am starting to consider issues like sustainability and ethical production before I hand over my cash. Shopping is a bit more challenging now, but I'm enjoying searching for clothing that feels good inside and out.