I've been a lover of handwriting since I was small. My brother's college girlfriend wrote the 8 year old me letters and in addition to coveting her big girl Levi's, I thought she had terrific handwriting. As an 8 year old, I tried to copy other people's really good handwriting.. I wrote letters to everyone. My grandma, my friends from school, my pen-pal (obtained from PBS's The Big Blue Marble-look it up!). I kept a journal for my "memoirs" after diving deep into all seven books of The Adventures of the Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald (the originals were illustrated by Mercer Mayer--not mine, The Big Brain collection!). I received a little blue plastic typewriter from my much older brother as a gift after reading I Trissy by Norma Mazer about a girl figuring out her new life after her parents divorced and her mom got a new boyfriend. I loved that book.
Truth is, I loved books about divorce and orphans. And books set in boarding schools where parents had sent their unwilling children who were always getting in trouble or maybe there were just a lot of books out about about that, like The Fog Comes On Little Pig Feet , books for neglected kids, whose parents were tired or could barely believe they had to raise kids at all. I cherished Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor and checked it out of the library over and over. That book depicted a particular cruelty in people but also a particular goodness; a strength in parenting and love I had never seen personified at 8 years old. I think it was the first time I understood that letters translated into ideas held power and should never be taken for granted. I recently listened to it again on Audible and believe more than ever in the power of children's literature to form and transform a life into being.
All this to say, I believe in the trajectory of letters, because letters =reading, and reading=inspiration and inspiration=creative energy which =inspiration, growth, collective wellness in the trade of thoughts and universals, you get the idea.
Finally, magazines for kids made my heart skip a beat. Receiving mail as a kid was insane, messages from the outside world, reasons to jump for joy. This came in the form of letters from pen pals, letters from anyone and Dynamite Magazine. I even had a Dynamite Club. It included me as President and my imaginary friend named "Magic" and later, my neighbor Lisa who became Treasurer. The clubhouse was under her ping pong table in the family room no one used. Much later I found out she made out with my high school crush--see?I have so much to make art about!)..
I wish this rad quarterly, Bravery was around when I was a child though, no corporate backing, it's about promoting equality and belief in oneself and one's ideas with stories of the lives and trajectories of amazing women, one to an issue. I recommend subscribing as an adult. Its gorgeous.
Time to go, I haven't blogged in so long but I remember a blog post should have a point: let's just say the point is, my life now is older, and making art again has made me see things so much more clearly. Now I get to be part of a process that I loved as a child. In image and letter making, I get to contribute to all sorts of new worlds and illustrate ideas that might open up something for children the way all of the above did for me. I might help a parent by giving them a break, by giving them something to give their children to do, or even better, understand their child and themselves in brand new ways too. I get to share in the trajectory of arts and letters.
Which books and magazines did you love as a child? How do you think it led you to what you love and believe in now?