Back to my roots

During my freshman and sophomore years at college, I had a lot of time to myself, mostly because I was too paralyzingly shy to integrate myself into other groups.

I was a quick study and had a lot of time to kill those first two years. I was also dirt-poor. What little cash I had went to fantasy paperbacks, and then in a fit of curiosity, to a pack of Bristol board and a pile of colored pencils from the school store’s art section.

They weren’t cheap, but they resonated with me in a way I can’t explain. When the loneliness or the nightmares plagued me too many nights in a row, I would huddle in a candle-lit dorm room and fill pages with richly colored figures blending into vague backgrounds from my dreams.

Most of my pencils are gone now, used up long ago, and I have yet to find quality replacements. (Most boxed sets of colored pencils are missing a smooth texture, depth of color, and a soul.)

But when I launch Brushes on my iPhone or iPad, I find my pencils again, in the form of digital ink.

My art will never hang in a museum. I make it neither for the tourist nor the consumer. I didn’t make it for you or anyone like you. I don’t even make it for the end result. I make it as a record of how I felt when I huddled over the canvas and stared into the empty page.

Thank you for looking at it anyway. I hope it inspires you to find a way to capture your feelings, if only for a moment, if only to make them real.

Time to sink or graduate

Picked this one up off of Fark, about students who can’t graduate until they prove they can swim 4 lengths of the pool, and I have to say I’m amazed.

Granted, I was raised by a man who spent four years in the Coast Guard, and who quickly taught me that learning to swim was critical to safety.

Despite a plethora of lessons when I was a kid, I also didn’t learn to swim myself until I was about 8 and my parents put a pool in the back yard. (Motivator!) I didn’t learn how to dive until I was about 13 and I’m not sure I could swim properly for four lengths myself.

But there are so many situations where knowing how to swim is critical here in the States. Too many pools, ponds, oceans, boats, etc.

If you don’t know how to swim, I urge you to learn how — especially if you plan to have kids of your own — you don’t want to be the helpless person standing on the shore while someone you love is in trouble.

And I applaud MIT and other universities for maintaining this graduation requirement.