When I was a kid, my grandparents used to take my brothers and I to their cabin near the lake. We called it “The Lakehouse”.
I remember a lot of ‘firsts’ there.
I saw a nest of birds for the first time in my life there, and my grandmother warned me that birds will abandon a chick if it’s touched by human hands.
I saw a scorpion for the first time there, skittering along in the sand.
I saw firecrackers for the first time there too.
The girl next door told my grandfather I was handsome, and stared at me intensely whenever we unloaded the car. Years later, my grandparents sold the house to her family.
It was a… strange house. My grandfather built it himself. It was two stories, the walls had no insulation, and half the fridge was full of weird raisins, pickles and dozens of things well past their expiration.
I remember waking up in the dead of night and hearing footsteps going slowly up and down the stairs. There was something about… how slow the steps were, that unnerved me. The noise continued though, without stopping. I could think of nothing but ghosts, and dead things, bleeding from the mouth and… somehow, never reaching the top of the stairs.
Nearing wit’s end, I woke my grandmother, who sleepily explained that the wood the stairs was made of simply creaks as the temperature outside cools down.
Once, my brothers and two of our friends got the idea to build a big hole next to the house so we’d have an underground fort. At first, we made slow progress, but several hours later the hole was several feet deep, and growing.
We were ecstatic. This was history in the making, we said.
This fort was going to be great.
As evening came around, my uncle came outside, pulled me aside, and with a slightly bemused expression, told me that, actually, we should probably… stop.
He said that my grandfather, who’d signed off on the fort endeavor, had never expected us to dig so far down we might actually endanger the house’s foundation.
Thus, the grand plan was abandoned.
The hole was filled in.
There were tears.
One year, our family had a shaving cream fight. Everyone ran around the house shooting shaving cream at each other, which is something I’ve never done once since then. There’s an art to dodging it, I learned, sort of like dodgeball. The person with the least surface area covered won, and the person slathered with the most shaving cream had to do the dishes from dinner.
In the midwest, crickets sometimes spawn in their millions, and show up everywhere. One year they invaded, and there were several tense evenings in the living room were the crickets kept getting in sporadically, and kept landing on people out of the blue.
At one point, I realized I could make mud take on different colors using things like berries, plants, and other disgusting things I found. I’d mix up ‘potions’, then slather a thin layer at the bottom of a glass jar and leave it in the sun to dry. Then, I’d look up into the sun so I could see the sunlight shine through, which would silhouette the forms of the dead insect’s heads and legs.
That was me.
The thing is… I look back on that, and I can’t help but feel how fucking EASY my life is now.
I mean, if I want a specific color, I just go out and buy it. Or, at most, I mix two existing colors to get what I want.
I don’t mix bug guts and mud together, then bake the resulting concoction in an old mason jar.
I do, however, create characters, and the worlds they live in.
Today’s artwork is a character from GREEN KNIGHT, named Brigdehl.
You could say he’s the villain, I suppose, but that would be an oversimplification of a narrative I’ve, admittedly, worked pretty fucking hard on.
Anyway, more to come, as always.
But hey, did you watch the impeachment proceedings today?
I admit, as a self-professed language nerd, seeing two sides pit academics against one another and speak to the intentions of men hundreds of years dead seems only slightly less archaic than handing them swords and shields and watching them hack each other apart to determine who’s “right”.
Languages drift. They change.
One of my favorite phrases that was bandied about was:
“…enacted in his own bosom.”
Oh, man. That’s rich.
Such truly archaic phrasing.