How you learn to draw:

I could be found in that position almost every evening, usually with the TV on, from the time I was about five until I went away to college. My dad started bringing pencils and typing paper tablets home from the office so that I wouldn’t draw in the margins of books. I still have some of my very first drawings in an old book. They were of airplanes, dropping bombs.
You see what I was doing was illustrating the constant stories I told myself in my head. Sometimes I narrated the stories out loud. I was really good at sound effects. That’s how I entertained myself, that’s what you do when your brother and sister are already grown up and married. And you suck at sports. And you’re the wierd kid who says stuff in class that everyone makes fun of. Like in third or fourth grade when you proclaim that you’re writing a novel based on the life of Henry Sibley, Minnesota’s first governor. Or announce that you want to be an ornitholigist when you grow up. Or you pee in your pants in class or the girls beat you up on the way home from school because you’re always trying to kiss them. God I was a wierd kid.

Yesterday as I was leaving the Mountain’s house after retrieving my keys (thank god I left them there and not at the bar) I saw a pair of hawks surfing thermals in what must have been some fantastic arial foreplay. When I first saw them they were coming toward me single file in a high speed glide about a hundred yards apart. They found a thermal and started spiraling up on it now only a few feet separating them. Occasionally they would wheel and take swipes at each other and tumble through the air in a face to face stall, then with a single wing beat grab the updraft and resume the gracefull spiral. The third time they broke their glide to play, they went into a dive and picked up another updraft about a quarter of a mile away and started all over again. It looked to me like they were having a great time. It had to be foreplay.

14 thoughts on “

  1. My daughter does that too – she must have the tv on in the background.  If she has no paper, she draws on her arms.  I still have my drawing books from when I was a child, although I burned all the journals. 

  2. Hey, greetings from a fellow member of the “last picked for teams in P.E.” club.   My birthday was later in the year than most of the class and I was of very slight build to begin with (gawd I wish I could recapture that “slight build” thing).  Dad was not a sports fanatic either (stock car racing… is that a sport?), so there wasn’t much influence there.  Yeah… excuses, excuses…

    The Hawk aerobatic courtship sounds cool… hope I get to see something like that someday.  Saw some Anhingas chasing each other around yesterday… tis the season.

  3. I have never been able to lay on my stomach and do anything but have a hard time breathing and get a sore neck trying to watch TV. So I’m doomed to sitting in a chair or on the floor drawing, which I haven’t done in ages. Bleh. I wish I’d kept up with the drawing, I wasn’t too bad.

  4. See, I was as weird as you (although, thank God I didn’t piss my pants in class), but without the talent.  Where’s the karma in that I ask?

  5. oh maaaaan, i still plan to be an ornithologist when i grow up.  now you’re saying it’s not cool?

    sometimes i lay around like in that first picture, but i’m not learning to draw.  i’m having a stroke.

  6. I used to do that too, with the drawing.  Now I mostly sit at the table and do it.  Sadly it’s not as frequently as it used to be, but I must thank you for inspiring me to get back into it. 
    The hawk thing sounds very cool.

  7. Yea for weird kids and how they grow up to be such fascinating adults!!

    I could be found in that position as a kid as well. There would always be a semi-circle of books and paper and pencils around me. And I was a seriously weird kid.

  8. i usually sat in a corner, with my legs propped up with my notepad sitting up against my legs. of course my pen never worked at that angle, which is probably why i used pencils for so long

  9. Super photos. That could be my grandson if I put him in 50’s clothes and a buzz cut. He draws incessantly. Mostly superheroes. I can’t get him to try different mediums though so far. Nobody else in the family encourages him with it and sometimes I’m afraid it will get lost in the shuffle. I probably shouldn’t. But I was a weird kid too. Peed my pants in first grade in class if that counts.

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