Tuesday, May 2, 2017

where I create, I am absolute


When I was a little girl, I remember my dad spent much of his time at home in his office, which we all called his den. My father was creative, and he had many artistic and creative pursuits. He liked to write, he wrote some short stories, he had a love for languages and I remember him teaching himself French. He loved all types of music, playing guitar, singing in the Ukrainian Millennium Choir, and he liked to draw and watercolor paint and of course build things in his workshop.

In his den were bookshelves filled with books about art and writing, ancient Egypt and the one book that would always catch my eye because it had a bright red dust jacket - his old dictionary. I used to hang out with my dad in his den all the time. I don't think a day went by from kindergarten to college that I didn't visit my dad's den, plopping myself down in the big cushy chair next to his desk, or in the small sofa behind where he sat, just hanging out and talking about this and that. But it never was small talk.

He would always be working on some type of project, and our conversations would often start with him telling me some random but interesting fact about something in history, or something about a famous artist, or how a certain hue of a certain color got its name. There was so much inside of those four small walls, it was like he was so many lives in one. That's how I think of people who do a lot, people who have great varied interests and a great quest for learning things. Those kinds of people are truly living their lives, and it's almost as if they are fitting the interests of many different lives into their one single span of time here on earth. 

I don't know how some people could not have any interests. That's what makes life, well, interesting. But maybe it was just the way I was brought up. Dad's life style of learning, and his love for the humanities sure rubbed off on me. I think tomorrow will be 16 years that he is gone. Time sure flies. After my father died, my mom cleaned out some of the things in dad's den and had some stacks of books set aside for me to look through to see if I wanted any. She had picked out his art books for me and asked if I wanted anything else. I took the dictionary with the red dust jacket. I remember how he used to say to me, "Laura reach over and hand me my red dictionary," and now looking back, it seems like we pulled it out of that bookcase 100 times to look up this or that. I treasure it.

But what use is a dictionary now? In this age of the Internet we literally have everything at our fingertips, and checking the spelling of a word is only a few keystrokes away. So when the day came that I wanted to try out creating some book page art, I knew that inside the pages of my father's dictionary would be the perfect place to create and keep my art. I can sketch and draw on the pages and then one day, I can pass it down to my own daughters. Maybe one day they will add their own mark to it too, and then pass it down to their own son or daughter. 

There is a certain magic in my red dictionary. Filled with words about everything that fills our world, it lived for years surrounded with books about all the things I love, and all the things that stir my passion to create. 

And swirled within the space of those four walls, where stories were written, music played, and languages discovered, it now offers itself to me as a canvas - but not a blank one, bare and untouched, but a lush and joyful, spirited palette that with it's smooth pages offer me the memories of each lesson taught and story told by my father. And when I smooth down a page with my hand and touch my pen to the page's surface, through me flows the confidence and joy to create, and within that, I am absolute. 









I hope you have a great week! 
Love, Laura


My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns




article and images ©Laura Beth Love 2017 all rights reserved

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories of your dad. Mine has been gone 20 years. Like you, I treasure the stories he shared and the time we had together. Putting your drawings on the dictionary pages is a great idea. All in one place safe and sound.

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    1. And I can't believe how many years have gone by so fast. For me sometimes it still seems like yesterday. The ones we love live on through us and the stories we tell.

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  2. I love the story of the red dictionary and I love how you are creating a heirloom out of it. For generations to come it would be a metaphor of learning something new everyday

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    1. You're right, it is a kind of metaphor :)

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  3. What a beautiful story. I have so few good stories about my dad and so many bad, and as hard as I try, when I think of one, the other is right there with it. I am so glad you had the experiences you did with your dad and you continue to treasure him.

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    1. That must be difficult. We had our share of rough moments too, believe me. But overall I treasure the good ones, and those are the ones I share with my own daughters, who never had a chance to know him.

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  4. Such lovely memories and what a great gift of life and learning he gave to you. The love between a dad and his daughter is very special. Mine has been gone just one year shy of yours and I too hold many of his things very close to my heart.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I think that since we had that kind of "creative" bond that's what really made our relationship special. Take care.

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  5. What a lovely story about the memories you have of your dad. I love the idea of putting some of your artwork in the dictionary that holds such treasured memories for you, and hopefully will hold memories for your daughters in years to come. Thank you for sharing! xo

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    1. Thanks Anne for your comment. I couldn't just stash it away on a shelf - actually I did have it on my bookshelf for many years and just took it down to create with once the idea came to me. I think some of the best heirlooms are the most humble. What could be better than a book? Even if it's the kind you don't traditionally sit down and read it still has so much meaning just due to the backstory. Take care!

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  6. This is a lovely story, and I think it's a fitting tribute to your dad and to your relationship with him to use his Red Dictionary as an art journal. I didn't have much of a relationship with my father, but I've always said that if I were stranded on a deserted island and could only have 1 book, it would be a very good dictionary. I'm sure your daughters will treasure the Red Dictionary as well.

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    1. Thanks Robin. Who would have thought it would have landed up where it is now, turned into what it is now. :) Thanks for your comment!

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