Back in 2009, 25 Random Things About Me was the big thing on Facebook. I actually wrote a series of articles on how to use this idea to write a great artist statement.
I don’t remember what my 25 Random Things were. But today I add one more.
It’s about my toy stories. I make up stories about inanimate objects.
It began at a very early age, like maybe 3 or 4 years old. I had very few dolls as a kid but a lot of stuffed animals. And I always made up stories about their rich inner life. Like the night I thought they were cold and lonely, so I put sorted them into groups of ‘friends’ so they would would be warm. That left no room for me. So I slept on the floor.
Fortunately (or not), the next day I thought they might have chapped hands so I liberally covered them all with Jergen’s hand lotion. My mom threw them all out, and I got my bed back.
I still worry I had an alternative motive there. But I don’t think I did. I mourned the loss of all my little fur buddies, and I still miss them. Hence my large collection of old toys and very small dolls.
Which is why I felt sorry for this mama kangaroo at the thrift shop. I was shopping for small stuffed animals to decorate our Christmas tree. It’s our first Christmas without our kids, and we only have space for a very small tree.
She had a pouch but no baby kangaroo. How long had they been separated? Did she still miss him? I almost left her there, because I knew I would feel sad whenever I saw her. But then I realized I was putting my discomfort above her loss, so I bought her anyway. (I kid you not, these were my thoughts.)
And then at another thrift shop, I found a tiny bear who was glued into a little box. I didn’t make the connection at first. I just didn’t like the box he was glued into, and I thought he might be happier without it. So I tore the box off, and I put him in the microwave so I could soften and remove the glue.
Only I forgot to to remove the little metal hanging hook from his head so there were sparks and flames and the top of his head melted a little bit. And I had to clip the glue out of his fur so he looks a little ragged. I felt guilty that I’d made him worse. And now he smells a little….well, burnt.
Then I realized he would fit perfectly into the mama kangaroo’s pouch and they would be a comfort to each other.
So I guess I’m still telling stories about inanimate objects…. I don’t know what it means, and I don’t want to analyze it too much. It actually kind of works it’s way into my art, so I’m going to leave it alone.