Only a mother who has an artistic son can understand the shear volume of work that is produced in bedrooms. Only a very small percentage of this ever makes it to the surface, to the printing press or the manufacturing plant or the world wide web. The rest of the world only sees the 1% of the final product. The pieces that may or may not deserve to stand the test of time.
Only a mother sees the rest. She sees the endless journals and scraps of papers. The poetry scribbled on napkins, the sketches, the demo tapes, the short films, the budgets, the plans, the pictures. She is one of the few people that sees it all.
She sees it because it is left in her closets, under beds, in bins, and under her stairs. It is left in the real-estate that you left long ago that she still maintains. She maintains the means to keep your junk safe. Your forgotten dreams. That box of CD’s from your first band that broke up, that you forgot under the bed in the spare room.
There was that one time I wrote a screenplay. 50 pages for an estimated 50 minute runtime. Three individual drafts, multiple copies of each. That’s hundreds of pages paper-clipped together; never to be seen by anyone except the one company it was mailed to, who replied via mail, in a typed and printed feedback letter that said, “too many dream sequences, not realistic for this project and budget.”
I never wrote another script.
One time I wrote a children’s book. My best friend Curtis illustrated it. It was loosely based of a Czechoslovakian folk tale that my grandmother told me through a murky memory, second guessing if she was fabricating parts or confusing two stories.
I wrote it over the course of a week during lunch breaks and slow times at one of my first jobs. I always hated working. I wrote in corners, in bathrooms, on assembly lines, on counters, in back rooms and anywhere I could. I always tried to keep as much of my time as I could.
This year for Christmas my mother published 10 copies of that childrens book that I left on top of that closet.
It is called the Ballad of Blumwicker Pete. I don’t even think I knew what a ballad was at the time.
There are Led Zeppelin references. I somehow gave a nod to Hemingway. It feels like a Cat Stevens song. It reminds me of exactly who I was then.
At the time I thought the illustrations were amateur. They weren’t what I imagined but I had no idea how to communicate this. We were kids. There was no arts funding.
Now I love the illustrations. They are strange and original. I haven’t really seen anything like them.
Art for art’s sake.
For Granny Fanny. Thanks for the stories.