Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Tribute to Artists and Reflections on my Childhood

Disclaimer in Advance: The following are my own impressions and memories, which of course are colored by the perspective of years and my own feelings. As other family members frequently find my various memories to be inaccurate, I am writing this as a tribute based on my impressions, which may or may not be particularly historically accurate.

I grew up in a home filled with music of all kinds, and colors rich and deep, and words artfully arranged, and images of intrigue.

This is my mother, the brilliant artist and writer with a creative and powerful mind:
http://www.sarahfishburn.com/ (note if you are at work and want to wander onto her blog to turn down your speakers, as there is music, which you can control using a fixture on the right column of her blog.)

This is my father, the brilliant musician and engineer with a creative and powerful mind:

If you scroll down the links to other blogs on my mother's blog, you can see the type of people with whom we associated as I was growing up. http://lisahoffman.typepad.com/ and the likes.

We moved around a bit, but my childhood home always included art everywhere, not just on the walls but on and in our cupboards, on top of shelves, on the floor, painted onto furniture...everywhere. For some period of time, if you were a friend visiting my home, and you decided to snoop around in our bathroom cabinets, you would be greeted with a line of those funny fat little plastic troll dolls, artfully arranged as entertainment for the "snooper," which I think my mother might assume we all are.

It also included lots and lots and lots of books, tucked all over the place but many of them on this huge bookshelf made from old barn doors or an old barn fence or something like that. I wonder, mom, if you have photos of that, so people can get an idea of what I am talking about?

Creativity and clarity of thought were values in my home of origin. As was a wonderful, complex intermingling of notions of both simplicity and the value of beautiful things.

We read constantly, and art was a part of our daily lives. We also played a lot. We hiked and camped and played wall-ball and four-square and basketball and frisbee and all sorts of things. My mother does not drive. My father does but hates it. We walk and rode our bikes a lot. I started riding the city bus at a young age. At first my mom was nervous about it, but then she considered my ability to use my cunning conversational skills to get through almost anything ;-).

I mostly would walk around talking to myself. For a while I had a collection of imaginary friends with funny names like "Bookie," and "Stampie," and my "best friend" who I called "Maradawn" (I have no idea how that would be spelled). After my imaginary friends began to fade away, I would talk myself through my imaginary games: I was the attorney, the teacher, the mom. Eventually my self-conversations began to just be fairly straight-forward conversations with myself, imaginary play loosely tossed in throughout. I was always processing! There was so much to take in, in my world.

My siblings still tease me about the ski pole. I used to take one of our ski poles and walk around the back yard at our duplex, jabbing it into the ground and talking away to no one but myself. The kinesthetic feeling of it striking the ground and then pushing it through the resistant soil helped me think. For a long time I have felt ashamed when my siblings would talk about the ski pole. Now I see that child self walking through the yard with it, and I feel so loving and understanding toward her. I am a little neurodivergent afterall, and that is what they call "heavy work" and "joint compressions" and "cognitive ordering through speech" now in my children's occupational, educational, and speech therapy. I am lucky that I had parents who let me do my thing. I was able to develop my cognitive abilities without unecessary impediments that result when one's neurological system is trying to regulate and order the world and is supressed in its natural efforts to do so.

My mind went constantly. It still does. It happens with all of the members of my family of origin including my older sisters, I am guessing, but I've noticed it is especially true in the case of my younger brother and me. When we shared a room, we would talk nonstop until we fell asleep. Deep conversations, I am sure, for people 5 and 7 years old or whatever.

My brother's mind seemed to work mostly in images and words. He was and is an amazing artist. Mine almost always worked in words. And also in feelings. Often thoughts would pass through me as feelings alone. For someone so verbal, so wordy, it is hard when you can't articulate a thought because it comes in a wordless form. But it would happen. It still does. Sometimes I start writing something, and I feel perfectly clear and the words are flowing right out of me, and then suddenly the thoughts come to me instead in waves of purely gut-level feelings, and I will only be able to scribble. If you were to look at a journal of mine, you would find pages filled with just scribbles. At the time I made them, these would be very clear thoughts. But totally nonverbal. Somewhere there is an abstract artist in me who is working through these images, though the images themselves are very unskilled, unpracticed, and completely child-like.

This might be a part I of a II part series. I have to post this before my laptop battery runs out because I don't know where the charger is right now (the red light is flashing-- ack!). I may or may not have more to say in this tribute at this time...we'll see tomorrow or sometime later this week.


sf said...

Nice post SM. Will write more soon.

Silver Gerety said...

It was nice to hear about Bookie and Stampie -- but what about Mattress?!?! You act as if he wasn't even real!

Masasa said...

You remember my imaginary friends better than I do Silv! But I have probable seizures in my brain to account for that ;-).

Thanks for posting. It is good to hear from you.

sf said...

Omigosh Silvie - I thought Matress went to live with you - are you telling me he is just out wandering the world, alone?

Masasa said...

No. This is where it gets a little weird. One of them, and I think it was probably matress, got shot to death on Christmas one year. I know that sounds so, so, so super bizarre. But I distinctly remember that this was the begining of the slow fading away of my imaginary friends. It was the only violence that ever came into our little imaginary world, and I have NO IDEA what prompted it (maybe it was that time in Corvallis when that guy and his girlfriend from across the street got into a fight and he threatened her with a gun...maybe I was processing that).

seppie said...

Sarah and I love to watch the boys walk around in her yard with sticks, talking to themselves. It brings back fond memories of when we were kids. And I'm a little sad because Sebastian did have an imaginary friend, but none of us can remember his name now. Just that he could do everything Dante could better than Dante could do it. Do you remember when you used to line up chairs in the basement of our house on Oxford to teach classes?

Masasa said...

Yes, I remember lining up the chairs. I also remember at the Mountain Center (dance classes, for those not family), something about the wall in the stall at the bathroom reminded me of a chalkboard/easel. Whenever I went to the bathroom, I would always pretend I was a teacher. I would sit on the toilet talking to myself and pointing at the wall of the stall, showing my imaginary class grafts and charts and stuff. Usually, I would pretend I was a professor at a college, teaching teachers how to teach. Once or twice, El sent someone in after me because I was taking too long in the bathroom. I know Cor heard me talking to myself in there on occassion and I am sure it was embarrassing for her.