We used to go to the movies because there was nothing else to do in Williamsburg. There probably was, but we thought it was cool to take a road trip down to Newport News or Hampton to catch a show. Most of the time that meant going to one of the New Markets. I’m not sure either of them is still there, but we saw a bunch of movies in those theaters.

On one occasion, we went to the Village Theater. If I remember correctly, the prices were cheaper because the movies were in the later stages of their run. On this particular night, we were going to see Risky Business because one of the dudes in our crew had a thing for Tom Cruise. I doubt there was anything to it, but my old friend, who would show up on my doorstep in the dark of night some twenty years after I last spoke to him (Thanks, Hub…) really had a thing for the Scientologist.

Getting to the theater was a challenge as another in our crew had to see a video by Survivor. He made us wait as the VJs kept promising that it was coming on, but like most teasers, it was way down on the playlist. Finally, the song came on and while it was good, it was not as unbelievable as the sleeveless, muscle man had claimed. With time running short, we hopped into the Grand Prix and raced down the dirt road from my house to the Village Theater.

The movie ended up being a teenage classic. Sometimes when I see it now, I think about going to the Village and how that part of Newport News seemed so different than the rest of it. It did have a village feel with its tree-lined streets and classic lampposts. Why that stands out to me as such a strong memory is a mystery. Maybe it was the area. Maybe it was the classic style of the theater. Maybe it was the way we ragged our friend for the Survivor video. In all, it was just a good time.

Then there was the drive-in. When I was a kid my family would go to the drive-in somewhere down there in Hampton/Newport News. I saw the greatest cartoon movie of all time there, Wizards. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the greatest cartoon movie of all time, but it had (has) an interesting message. It’s just a basic good over evil, small hero overcomes a tyrannic dictatorship…hopefully, we avoid that when we vote in a month… Back to the theater… The movie that stands out for me the most was Bolero. My Tom Cruise fan friend and I gathered up the gang and headed for the drive-in. I was the only one old enough for the show, but my friend’s brother had told us which ticket line to get in. Evidently, the dude taking tickets in that line never checked for identification. He would ask how old you were, but never desired to see any I.D. “It’s not a lie if you or they believe it.”

We followed the directions perfectly and there was our guy. Nervousness started to settle in for the young-ins in the car. When he asked us to roll down the window so he could get a better look at everyone, nearly every zit in the back seat popped. They knew we were busted and it was about as much as their pimply faces could stand. He gave us the once over and then said, “Enjoy, fellas.” With that, we were in. For what it’s worth, the movie was not very good, cinematically okay, but the plot…? Forget about it…

The last movie I saw in a theater was Star Wars whatever we are up to now. I had a recliner, chicken fingers, corn bread, and some of Kentucky’s finest. 3-D glasses made the screen jump through the haze forming as a washed my dinner down and the recliner nearly induced a food coma sleep. This time I was with my family and loving every minute of the whole experience, even the movie. There are a ton more options at the snack bar and the price of seeing a movie is way more than at the Village and the drive-in, but every now and then I still like taking in a film at the theater.

Good times in the ‘Burg…

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Ethan had recently turned twenty-one and felt every bit of the arrogance that comes with the drinking age. He commuted thirty minutes to college and was realizing that life cannot be an avoidance of real responsibility. The previous two years were about stretching out and seeing what life away from home was like. The truth was that the only change for him was the lack of a curfew. He also had a roommate, but they didn’t travel in the same circles, so that wasn’t much of a change for Ethan. The lack of respect he held for his freedom left him walking across a floor or Milwaukee’s Best cans and sleeping through classes he had already passed in high school. Now he was sitting in summer classes, hoping to rehabilitate his GPA and finish college in a reasonable amount of time.

The thing about summer classes is that they are humiliating without the proper context. For Ethan, summer had been about freedom and being away from school. The days were for working and the nights were for getting into trouble. Summers always brought a party, but this one was going to be different for Ethan. The days would be about school and the nights were for working. He figured that being twenty-one, the nights could start whenever he got off work, but he was not excited about his first summer class, Human Relations. The class was about cooperative learning and problem solving. Small groups were formed to lead activities and to also provide lunch for the day. It was the kind of scenario that drove Ethan crazy. He didn’t want to go to class and talk. He wanted to sit in the back of the room, take notes, pass a test, and get the credits. The professor promised that this would not be that kind of class.

“Each day we will start in a circle and recite our Full Value Contract. Basically, you will be committing to being present, giving your best, and respecting others.” We will discuss different aspects of human relationships, such as trust, communication, problem-solving, and decision-making. In this room, we are all equal and have a duty to participate in all discussions. With that, my name is Virginia Squires. I’m a doctor, but if you would, please call me Virginia, I would be most appreciative.”

The course was already like nothing that Ethan had experienced in his college education so far. The professors had been distant, either by attitude or physical distance. Each course seemed to be a lesson of impersonal behavior, but this one, while not what Ethan wanted, felt different. Virginia was old, like retirement old. Her hair was white and she wore clothes better suited for Leave It To Beaver than Miami Vice. She spoke with the mixed up English and southern accent that is old-time Virginia, but she did so without the venom that so many southern debutantes can wield.

“One more thing,” she said, “we stop early and everyone must stay for lunch. We eat together for a reason. People eat with their friends, not their enemies.”

With that class began. There were no desks or chairs, only large pillows. The official name for the course was PSY 310 Human Relations, but everyone knew it as the pillow class. Ethan sat with his group and did the usual listening. He spoke briefly when it was his turn and quickly found himself drifting into a summer siesta.

“Ethan, are you okay?” asked Virginia. Her tone was sweet, but her eyes were sending a different message. She was making it clear that the pillows were to create a casual atmosphere and not to become a sleep aid. Before Ethan could answer she asked another question, “Ethan, what do you like to do for exercise?”

“Uh, I like to play basketball.”

“Great, tomorrow you will do our first biographical presentation. Make sure you mention something about basketball. May I ask where you are from?”

“Williamsburg.”

“Oh, do you know the Band Box?”

Everyone knew the Band Box. It was the coolest record shop around. The floors were wooden and creaked when walked across. Vinyl and cassettes filled every bin and cool rock star and black light posters covered the walls. Besides music, a person could get concert tickets and choose from a multitude of smoking tools. Ethan discovered Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, and The Clash there, although he never told his parents that he went there. His father forbade him from going to the store given the Band Box’s reputation as a head shop.

“I do. How do you know the store.”

“I love Led Zeppelin,” she said. Everyone started laughing at the thought of Mrs. Clever rocking out to Zep. “Actually, my son works there. He’s a music guy.”

She had made her point and done it in a way that spared Ethan the embarrassment of a scolding by a college professor. Still, though, she had let Ethan know that his near slumbering behavior was not without a consequence, he had been assigned to present about himself and basketball. Ethan was still a salty sort and not deft at massaging a delicate situation. He came from an athletic, Texas, military background that valued the certainty of making a point without feeling. Sports instilled a sense of competition where winning was the only goal. Being from Texas, Ethan carried that wild west defiance of the Lone Star state. His connection to the military through his grandfather had taught him that survival and destruction where the way of a soldier.

“She wants basketball, I’ll give her basketball,” thought Ethan.

The next day everyone milled around the room getting to know each other. Some people were drinking coffee, others eating their Egg McMuffins. Ethan sat alone working on his lines to let Virginia Squires know that she would not intimidate him no matter how proper and soft-spoken her attacks came. He would do his speech and then be done for the rest of the course. She would realize the error of her ways and maybe even apologize for being so passive with him yesterday. At least, that was the way it went when he had been taking to the steering wheel on the drive to class. Everything changed after the Full Value contract was said. Ethan lost every bit of anger and even felt a sense of guilt. Virginia was an old lady and had done nothing to Ethan. In fact, she had gone out of her way to be nice to him. It was Ethan who was creating the stress in the situation. All he had to do was talk about himself. There was no need to crush her. No need to win anything. No reason to make an ass of himself.

“Ethan, tell us about yourself.”

“First, Dr. Squires…”

“Virginia,” she said.

He started over, “First, Virginia, I would like to apologize for nearly falling asleep yesterday. As for me, I’m a transfer student from ODU and I’m working in Colonial Williamsburg. I like all kinds of sports, but especially basketball.”

“Have you ever been to a professional game?” asked Virginia.

“I saw the Rockets and Bullets play a preseason game a couple of years ago. When I was a little kid, I got to see Dr. J. and George Gervin play with…” Ethan hesitated and Virginia smiled. He realized that she knew what was coming and was okay with what he was about the say.

“…the Virginia Squires…” The class started laughing.

Virginia seized the floor, “Do you guys think I’ve ever heard that one before? Ethan, what do you like about basketball?”

“I like the movement and how each play is kind of a predetermined uncertainty.”

“What do you mean by that?” she asked.

“The offense knows where they want the ball to go, but they have to take what the defense gives them. They can’t force anything, they must take what they are given. To score is predetermined, at least in theory, but how they are going to do it is uncertain for the offense.”

Virginia thought for a moment, “Ethan, how is that like human relations?”

“Wow, I’ve never thought about it like that. I guess if we go into a situation thinking it’s going to be one way, then we might miss opportunities that could present themselves.”

“Exactly, flexibility is one key to our dealings with others. Thank you for introducing yourself today.”

With the grace of Julius soaring to the rim and the dexterity of George Gervin flipping his finger roll, Virginia Squires had snuck a lesson into Ethan’s presentation. For once in his life, he didn’t think of it as a threat that needed to be dealt with. Instead, he received the gift she gave him. She had presented Ethan with a seed, that while slow growing, would serve him well. The three weeks would pass quickly. The paper towers they built that were meant to symbolize creativity. The whisper down the lane games stressed the importance of clear communication. The friendly lunches broke barriers in Ethan that no other classes had been able to do. He started to see the value of teaching people social skills and the importance of problem-solving in every aspect of our lives. He even started talking to the people in his class and got to know some of them away from school. The course was more than credits. It was life changing.

Thank goodness for Dr. Virginia Squires.

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I moved around a lot as a young kid. Fortunately, most of my moves were in the same city, so I got to keep all of my friends. One of the places where I lived was nicknamed Snake Pit Acres. The “snake pit” was a standard apartment complex with four apartments per building, two downstairs, two upstairs. Our apartment was upstairs with a view of a large dirt pile that must have been made when the land for the complex was excavated. We only lived at Snake Pit for a couple of years, but looking back, I can say that it wasn’t as bad being there as the name suggested.

First, there were plenty of areas to play. There was a basketball court and it would be the place where I would start to develop a love for shooting hoops. There weren’t many other basketball players there, so I would spend most of the time firing up jumpers and pretending to be Dr. J. Keep in mind that this was still the days of the boring NBA versus the crazy, stylish ABA and I loved the red, white, and blue ball. Julius Erving was the first basketball player that I would follow and even when he broke my heart by beating the Lakers with a vicious tomahawk dunk on Michael Cooper and defying gravity with the greatest reverse lay-up in history, I always thought of Dr. J. as my favorite player. Magic and Kareem would ascend as well, but Doc was the first.

Getting out on the court and shooting can be a spiritual. I used to get lost in the Walter Mitty of the whole thing, draining buckets to win every game. I loved beating up on Dave Cowens and the Celtics, but at that young age, I had no understanding why. Later I would know, Boston and LA hate each other in basketball and I could not stand those green uniforms. Please don’t confuse my dislike of the Celtics for anything other than sports. The teams in 80s were great and the rivalry between my Lakers and Boston was the best ever. Too bad both suck now. It wouldn’t matter because I’ve converted, going with my basketball DNA and hanging through the years of tanking to live and die with every move of my 76ers! “1-2-3-4-5-6-76ers…”

There was also football at Snake Pit. I never played organized football, so the backyard variety was all I knew. Kids from Carver Gardens used to walk over to the apartments after school and we would have some good games. I wanted to be Drew Pearson or Roger Staubach. That’s right, a Cowboys fan… I haven’t been able to convert to the Eagles.  Since I never played, all those dreams of being a wide receiver would peak in the playground of the Acres.

The last thing that captured my sporting imagination was the swings. I always wondered if I could swing hard enough to go all the way around the pole. Physics says it’s possible, but I didn’t have the stones to go Jackass and see if it I could do it. Then, again, the swings were an opportunity to dream and the big dream in 1976 was to be a downhill skier. The Olympics that year featured a crazy high flying race to the gold by Franz Klammer. He pushed his skies to the edge of disaster, caught flight, and regained control of his rocketing body to ski into first place. My friends and I would swing and jump out trying to go as far out as we could. I don’t remember there being any mulch or tire chips to cushion our landing, so “falling gracefully” became a real thing long before Buzz Lightyear hit the scene.

Maybe my time at Tam-O-Shanter boulevard was less about sports than it was about imagination. Dr J., the Cowboys, Franz Klammer, each was a dream that help me to pass the time and got me outside doing things. I had imagination instead of a calendar full of travel practice schedules. There were no video games or the internet to wrestle for my attention. Heck, there wasn’t even cable or MTV yet.

There was play and I got to go outside and play.

Awesome.

Photo Credit: https://media.zenfs.com/en-US/video/video.pd2upload.com/video.yahoosports.com@898e12b7-1e49-32a9-b163-7348460b33af_FULL.jpg

There are times when we all need to understand that our father’s can be bad asses. We need to see that their manliness can be summoned for righteous purposes. We need to see that they are not snoring corpses who don’t know anything about anything, but we all need to know our father’s are strong and still have a bit of the caveman DNA that protects us from lions, tigers, and goats that got set loose in a marijuana field.

I got to see my dad in all out John Wayne one night. “Williamsburg was humid that evening,” my friends. Come to think of it, Williamsburg is always humid in summer. My friend’s mom dropped us off at Blow Gym on William and Mary’s campus. We were there to play racquetball. Coincidently, my father had just finished playing and was hanging out on the stone wall that separated the inside of the campus from Richmond Road. He looked tired and worn out. To a thirteen year old kid, he looked old. Given that I was in junior high school and therefore knew everything, I was pretty sure that I could outrun my father without a problem.

He sat there in cut off jeans and a white T-shirt wiping the sweat away from his graying hair and rubbing knees beaten up by a blue collar life. The other guys there were also policemen and one was on-duty, but dressed in plain clothes. Again, I thought that there was no chance these guys could stop a small caper and forget about running down a major criminal.

Through the heavy air came a young dude striding in typical William and Mary preppy clothes from the time. His Polo shirt with the turned up collar gave him an air of prosperity, but the three police amigos saw something different. They saw a drug dealer who had been ordered to stay off campus, yet there he was carrying a satchel and walking towards a dormitory.

What happened next may have been the most important part of my childhood. My dad turned into a linebacker with the speed of Usain Bolt and the hops of a champion high jumper. He and the other policemen jumped the five-foot fence and went after the Nike wearing preppy drug deliveryman. Before they were out of sight the trespasser was on the ground and being cuffed. My old, tired father was the first to make it to the dealer. He took him down quickly and with the help of his mates arrested the criminal. His bag had a some hash, some acid, and plenty of weed to raise the dopiness in the dorm by more than a little. Oh, and there were no guns needed in the arrest.

Through the hazy night air, I got to see that my dad, while not someone who would use that kind of discipline at home, was capable of putting a hurt on me if necessary. Some might think that kind of observation is sad since it’s based in a bit of fear. I kind of like it because my father was never one to be tough or physical at home. I knew, though, that he could do whatever was necessary to restore order, even in that advanced age of late thirty, early forty something.

As my birthday comes around and I’ve long since passed the age that my father was when he was tackling drug dealers, I’m having two thoughts. The first is that my son, who is twenty, better think twice about jumping on my back in Staples because I’ve still got enough left in the tank to take him down. The other thought is that I don’t want any part of my dad. I’m not sure if I could win that one.

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The parking lot behind LHS was a fertile ground for deviant behavior. There were also some legitimate educational opportunities that happened in the parking lot. Thirty years is a long time and I’m sure that it’s okay that I share some of the happenings out back…

1. Batting Practice: We would roll out the dinosaur of a pitching machine and take batting practice until the field was ready for play. It seemed like the sun was always in the wrong spot, the pitches were too far inside (numb hands), and the second hop was a near death experience.

2. Driver’s Ed: The year that I took Driver’s Ed., they got rid of the pair of Cutlasses and replaced them with an Escort (little did I know…). It always seemed like I got stuck with the old state trooper car. It had plenty of power, but all the gitty-up was wasted on the driving range and Coach Trudgeon’s voice on from the tower.

3. Rob Smith’s Colt: Sorry, Rob, I had to use your name in this one. Who knows why this happened, but someone had the great idea to pick Rob’s car up and put it on the island next to the teachers’ parking spaces. I don’t know how many helped, but it was relatively easy to do.

4. The Hearse: I remember someone doing donuts in a black hearse after practice one day.

5. The Outdoor Locker Room: Many of us changed for baseball practice in our cars. The soundtrack for the quick change was always “Centerfield” by John Fogerty.

6. The Auto Shop: I locked my keys in the car many times. I guess I just that excited to go to school. The dudes in the auto shop would come out and jimmy the lock. Truth be told, they were better at it than the police.

Now for the real confessional… I never had a parking pass, at least not in the official sense. A friend’s father kind of gave us permission to use his name for a pass, although he never really followed through on the paperwork. Cracking backs is a full time job… I was given a parking pass on the contingency that I returned the paperwork proving that I had an after school job. I made it through all of my junior year and most of my senior year without getting caught. Then Mr. Saunders did a check, caught me with his crack investigative techniques, and placed a stain on my permanent record. He took my pass and it looked like I was back on the bus since I had no other options and lived on the other side of Grove. Remember, I said the parking lot inspired a bit of deviousness. For a few dollars, a sticky handed student who happened to be a runner for Mr. Saunders’ office, slipped the parking pass out of the office and somehow it made its way back to my car. It seems that Mr. Saunders’ checklist had been amended as well, because the next time he did a morning check at the school’s entrance, my pass was legit. I don’t know what my teammate did, but it “kill-burned” Mr. Saunders.

There you have it, a short history of the LHS parking lot as I saw it. Did I mention that the trees between the school and Season’s Trace were a kind of “Field of Dreams” boundary. Once you went through, you never came back. I never did that, though… “Where do John and Walter live again?…”

 

Photo Credit: The Marquis, LHS…

From the journal of Carter Hamorton:

Little did I know during that last and only dance of the night, my time in Williamsburg was coming to an end. I could feel the need to move on and get on with my life. The thoughts of leaving Williamsburg had not fallen into the failed spell of the future, yet, but on this night under the disco lights and with the rest of the 2am crowd who were belting out Sinatra’s, “New York, New York,” I knew this phase of my life was over. The clubbing days were over. Sure there would be hanging at Paul’s Deli, but trying to have fun at Club New York or Tusks would never be a part of social scenario again.

On my first visit to Club New York it was still a roller rink. I’m pretty sure it was the only time I was on skates, which is good thing for every bone in my body. Sometime during college, the vacant rink became Club New York. Imagine Studio 54 without the hoopla. There were two bars and seating around a central dance floor. The walls were kitschy cut-outs of the New York City skyline set under a twinkling night sky. Williamsburg was not known for its club scene and Club New York seemed strangely out of place on Richmond Road. The putt-putt was there. Pancake houses were everywhere and aging hotels very nearly hid the next big thing to hit the Colonial Capital. It seemed like a good idea, but the best part of it’s location was its proximity to a 7-11, as if that wasn’t true for everything in Williamsburg. Strolling out of the club to the 7-11 in the early morning was the ultimate convenience to get some nachos with chili and cheese. In the end, Club New York would fail, like most clubs. The reputation of the place got to be too big and the Newport News revelers started coming to Williamsburg. The place became too crowded and rumors of violence began circulating around activities in the parking lot and bathrooms and finally the club went the way of Studio 54.

I was gone long before the that.

The beginning of my exodus from the club started after a mad dash through the waters of Long Island. I’d tell you more if only there was more to tell. We all have things that we are not proud of. To those who were there, “I’m sorry.” Sometimes I believe that we hear the messages from those older than us and at a young age we believe in our invincibility. Having fun is the goal at the cost of making solid decisions. The night of the Long Island flood was a crack in my belief that “nothing could ever happen to me.” It wasn’t the Club New York tipping point, but it certainly chipped away at my partying levee.

The old guy at the bar has always been a comic character for me. As a kid, I used to see the William and Mary athletes in a heroic light. I believed that anyone playing a college sport was someone to be admired. In college I used to play basketball at Walsingham with bunch of William and Mary basketball alumni. The games were so different than the ones at Season’s Trace or Quarterpath because these guys were actually running plays, boxing out, and hustling back on defense. One of the players seemed like a cool guy, but he was probably already pushing thirty. He had a real job, a real car, and if rumors were true, a way with the ladies. The next domino to fall in clubbing life happened when this dude that I thought had everything committed a flagrant foul against my man code at the time. He asked me to help hook him up with someone that I had gone to high school with.

What??? Dude, you were a successful college athlete and now you have money, a “wallet.” You are nearly thirty years old and you need help from a 21 year old local dude to pick up a girl? He became the old guy at the bar and broke the mythological mist of celebrity in my mind. My mind went fast forward and I feared that if I kept on the same path that I was traveling, I might end up like this William and Mary legend. Some of you know, “legend” is not always a term of endearment…

On the last dance night, I think all of the impatience of becoming an adult was about to blow up. At heart, my restlessness is better served as a home body and that what I was looking for. The New York skyline that loomed over the dance floor was shallow and impersonal and Sinatra was separating my feelings weekend adventure from my desire to settle down. All would not be easy after leaving the ‘burg and there would be a short time of irresponsible reincarnation. Rest assured, I was never the old guy at the bar and I only dance at home now, much to the consternation of my wife…

#that’sthewayIrememberit

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The William and Mary Bookstore (formerly Casey’s)

There were two real bookstores in Williamsburg when I was a kid. There was Scriveners and The College Bookstore. They were different than the book racks at the grocery stores or at Grant’s Department store. Scriveners and The College Bookstore had prestige, hardcover books, and in the case of the college bookstore awesome sections for swag and drawing. It was the swag that got me hooked me into college bookstores. I rarely visit a college without stopping in the bookstore. There is something about the way the textbooks are organized and the ridiculous gear that they sell to college kids, the over priced sweatshirts, the junk food, and the novelty stuff. It was the William and Mary bookstore where a subtle and long simmering thought was bestowed upon me.

I was hanging out at the bookstore thinking about buying a stuffed basketball for my room when my eye caught a drafting set. Drawing was something that I enjoyed doing, but I had never had the tools that would make me a great artist. The kit had a compass, protractor, and ruler. Naively, I thought that this was all I would need to create great drawings. Little did I know, right? I didn’t by the kit. Instead, I wandered into the books and started looking through history books about different wars. Back then, military history was a big part of my life. My father was interested in military themes, my school was teaching about all of the American wars, and Tidewater was full of military history. The Civil War was at the top of my list back then. The first book I picked up was full of photography of the Civil War. I could not believe the photography of Mathew Brady. I did not see a glamorous portrayal of war. For the first time, I saw real death resulting from the barbarism of war. The pain on the dead soldiers’ faces stole the romanticized images of war Hollywood had propagandized before me. In a real way, my values about wars were changing and I was a long way from the “Tribe swag” that I initially thought of buying.

My time until I would need to hustle to my father’s office was winding down and I knew I better hurry if I was going to buy something. I was torn between the different parts of me, sports, creative, and learner. I bounced around the store picking up the ball, dreaming about drawing, or thumbing through pages of books way above my grade level. I had no idea why I was interested in each of them, but each item pulled on my wanting nerves equally. Finally the time came to make a decision, so I went with a pack of tracing paper.

Really? Tracing paper. Where did that come from?

It’s been about forty years since that day. I am writing this while sitting in a YMCA and listening to a group of middle schoolers use their east coast valley girl accents to talk about playing solitaire while I try to block them out and watch Chase Jarvis Live on YouTube. There’s a lot going on here and I’m searching for reasons why I bought tracing paper… What did I do with that tracing paper? I traced comic books. I guess I tapped into my drawing side by buying the paper. I still can’t draw a great picture, but I get ridiculous with concept maps. Maybe I really want to be a visual artist and the tracing paper allowed that to go on for awhile.

I’m also trying to figure out how the tracing paper beat out the Civil War book. Feel free to offer analysis (for free of course…). Another thing I like to do is take photographs. Mathew Brady is someone who still intrigues me, but it’s Sally Mann who captures the intensity I felt the first time I saw the photos in the book. When I take photos, my first instinct is to find a mood or tone that has the same feel as glass plates. They are imperfect, haunting, and full of mysticism. The tracing paper was none of that, but it was safe and allowed me to replicate something that was there. It was “within the lines” which is something that I’ve learned to live with, but I really wish I never let become a part of me. I wish that I could go into creating something with no fear and make art that represented the honesty that I think Brady and Mann are able to muster. I’m getting closer to that ideal, finding the bite, the true emotion, the abstraction that captures the reality around me. It’s coming…

My best guess is that I bought the paper because the sports gear cost too much and I didn’t want to read the book, just look at the photos. I settled for the paper, because it was something I could use quickly and afford. I also knew my grandfather probably had the drawing gear, so I would not need to waste my money there. Sports would be an important part of my life and still is, but I find myself drawn to the creatives of the world who tend to see the world a bit differently. I do love the artistry of athletic achievement, however, the over saturated, fantasy dominated, and seemingly never ending seasons have worn me out. Music, art, writing each allow me time to think without the television time out, the talking heads explaining the nuances of some obscure rule, or the endless analysis of what team best suits what free agent.

Art also affords me the opportunity to think differently. So much art, no matter the medium is built on being outside the box or close to some edge. I like divergent thinking and my years have taught me that tracing is not the best way to go. I want to create “stuff,” art if you will, and being hamstrung by the idea that I need to be like others, worry about critics, or create for the purpose of sales are ideas that are as thin as the paper that I bought all those years ago. It’s also good that those ideas are just as easily torn like the onion skin thin paper I traced the Incredible Hulk onto. Thank goodness for the College Bookstore. Who knew that someday I would be reflecting on the purpose of tracing paper in my development as a creative? It seems that the day of indecision and settling was more important than I ever knew. Perhaps this is the time that I am finally ready to realize what that day meant to me.

Learning takes time…

Photo Credit:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/William_and_Mary_Bookstore_and_Cafe.jpg