When Zach was little I spent hours trawling round charity shops looking for books for myself and my boy and one special day this gem screeched out my name for me to pick her up. 'Tales Of A Gambling Grandma' by the great storyteller Dayal Kaur Khalsa was really a book I picked up for myself because I instantly fell in love with her illustrations. Then, I got back home and read the story and cried and cried but a happy kind of crying. For anyone that has cherished and I mean love, love, loved their grandma, aunt, family friend, special someone this is the book for you .... full of hope, sadness, nostalgia, humour and wonderful cultural references that translate whatever your background.
Now that Zach is reading we are rediscovering many of those charity book finds from what feels like so long ago. He unearthed this beauty a few days ago, inviting me to sit down with him so that he could read to me. We were in the swing of a beautiful mother/son moment when I realized that in my distraction (breathing in the yummy smell of his curls) he had already reached the last page of the book! This is dramatic because, not wanting to give too much away, this book does have a sad ending and after a previous experience with another book with a similar ending where by I spent weeks reassuring Zach that his own Grandmother was NOT going to die, I have in the past made up an alternate ending. This was before the boy could read all by himself! So, I stopped him mid sentence and said 'Ok Zach, something sad is coming up. Do you want to carry on reading or do you want to stop here?'.
He decided to carry on reading after revealing that he knew what was coming and we had a heartfelt chat after finishing the book. I was then left feeling a little deflated thinking that this book that brings me so much joy, had probably left a hole in my boy's heart that will never be filled when just then he said 'when people die it is sad but it's not as sad for us because we believe in Jesus and we know that there is more life ... but it's just not on earth'. My eyes filled up just a little and I smiled and gave him a squeeze, with him still nestled in the crook of my arm and then up he got, picked up some lego and said 'I've got to make a gun now mum for my battle!'.
I'd forgotten just how much fun there is to be had playing around with my drawings, some found images or text and a scanner. I used to experiment a lot with scanning my work into the computer, then printing it out and working more layers into the printed copy before taking it to be colour copied. It is a process that really reminded me of my print making days. As much as I resist it (and I don't know why I do this) clearly I am very process led, I wish I would just retain this information so that with each phase in which I come to 'making' I don't have to spend weeks remembering the various rituals of gathering and storing images and information, books and articles etc.
super 36 at mickey's big mouth beer 2011
Hubby has pointed out several times how central writing is to my process of making (thank you hubby for these helpful observations - it sounds sarcastic but I am being sincere!) again something that I tend to forget. Once I am able to start constructing my thoughts in words I am then able to translate them into an appropriate medium. I am really excited by the various parts of my brain being re-sparked, it's a real comfort to know that not ALL of the information I have been gathering over the years has simply eroded.