A (mush)room of one’s own

Hello, makers and creators. I hope the last couple of weeks have gone by smoothly, and that you’ve been enjoying the glories of summer.

We are still in the thick of our move. I forget how much energy it takes to sift through over a decade of things. I often find myself at the end of the day feeling like I have fully tapped my reserves(!). With a large part of the work now done, however, I am taking my fatigue as a sign to slow down and enjoy some creative time.

Last May, I drew this little figure of reading happiness. As a life-long introvert, I rely pretty regularly on moments of solitary reading (and the pandemic has only deepened this tendency). In childhood, I remember enjoying books before I could actually ‘read’ — it was enough to turn the pages, look at the pictures, and tell myself a story about what I was seeing. And when I did learn to read, everything was fair game — even the black and white residential phonebook managed to capture my interest (all those alphabetized names!). I’m not usually one for typologies, but I am pretty far on the reading-introvert side of things.

During busy periods, though, reading can be the first thing to fall off my day-to-day activity. It takes energy and focus to read a physical book from cover to cover; it takes a steadiness of mind distributed over several reading sessions (unless you’re a speed reader!). Busy-ness makes my mind feel like a bag of squirrels. So, I need a reminder to slow down and make the time. This little scene has been providing me with that reminder. Everyone ought, I think, to have a (mush)room of one’s own to read, rest, and daydream under.

The other day, I realized that while the picture was done and inked, I hadn’t yet coloured it in. I cleared my worktable of all the lists, receipts, and stacks to sort, took my pencils out from the cardboard box I had packed them in, and enjoyed some scribble-time, discovering that colouring is a pretty good antidote to moving fatigue, and a fun way to come down after a busy day.

So, lesson learned: I’ll try to make time for art and reading even in the busy periods (they are perhaps even more needed then).

Until next time, happy Friday. Wishing you many joyful summer reading days. 📚 🌻

Wordless comic 2: Reading

The first thing I did when I graduated earlier this Fall was read a slew of novels that were on my list. After years of reading studies and articles, it was nice to come back to reading fiction. For me, reading is an emotional investment in the lives of a story’s characters, and it’s the willingness to stay with those characters, come what may. I often have to be ‘ready’ to take on a new novel for this reason. Sadder stories, in particular, have a way of lingering and leaving an imprint long after the last page has turned. What gives stories the power to live in us, in this way?

I drew a series of “self-portraits” of myself reading. I merely wanted to learn to draw a cross-legged figure, but ended up with several similar charcoal sketches, each one a slight variation of the next. I decided to take them and digitally re-arrange these little me’s to show what a really good book can sometimes do — move readers through different states, and maybe even leave them, ultimately, with a heavy heart, but also richer, somehow.

Enjoy your weekend. Wishing you creative coziness.

Rainy day reading

Today is one of those rainy, overcast Chicago Saturdays – the kind that makes the pavement wetly audible and keeps you inside with tea, a top bun, and time for quiet reading. It’s the kind of low-lit, indoor day where I’d rather listen to Petula Clark’s “Downtown” and dream about the city than go there myself.

Anyhow, just a doodle and a song to share today. Wishing you many good times with many good books!

reader sketch.jpg