Thursday, January 13, 2011

Interpretations and Perspectives

"Does that dolphin have a teddy bear in his mouth?"

"No. It's a fireman spraying a lot of water on a fire. But only after he cut his arm off."

Two completely different interpretations of a watercolor painting. I guessed it was a dolphin. The artist corrected me, and explained his more violent vision. Scary, especially considering that the artist is an 8 year old boy. 

The artist is in the hospital and has tubes coming from his nose. I don't know why he's there but I do know that he's been there for a month. 

Over the course of our afternoon, he painted five paintings. Each and every one of them included something violent. There were guns, grenades, fights between men (one stole the other's girlfriend) and blood. As he'd explain each painting to us, it was clear that he has an amazing imagination. The way that he told the stories was so colorful that I couldn't help but smile (although the content at times made me shudder). I'm uncertain as to the origin of his violent vision. Whether it's from home or from being poked and prodded in a hospital, it's definitely more graphic and bloody than it should be.

Yesterday morning, I'd considered canceling my volunteer session. I was stressed out about needing to edit the book and/or study for the interview that I have this morning. There is nothing like spending the afternoon with an ill child to put things into perspective. Worries about getting a job...about being able to write a cohesive book...about finding a decent man before menopause...all fade away when I realize that I have my health and relatively violent-free imagination. 

I'm a lot luckier than my young friend. 


  1. Have you looked into this:

    Training/placement program for the highly skilled/highly experienced unemployed funded by the Stimulus Bill.

    I was just offered a spot in the next Cohort, but they are having two more this year and it sounds great. Certainly hoping that it leads to a good job for me in the next 6 months (which is how long I have before getting a stupid retail job or the like).

    Anyway, thought you might be interested.