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A Pocket Archive (21)

I finished pinning Aria's snowglobe to my 'magic' wall and stood back to admire it, feeling a happy glow well up in my chest. I always hated finger painting, but I'm glad she enjoys it. I'm sure I'm bias, but it's rather cute and I smile just looking at it.

It's funny how so many of the little things that drove me crazy growing up are now patterns I've adopted, and many of them do seem like they make my whole world brighter. The living room in my parent's trailor always felt dirty and cluttered, with a ceiling that was too low and carpet squares that always felt grainy under your feet. Every inch of wall space seemed to be covered with old art projects or photographs, which were all arranged in a way that made the space feel claustrophobic. Sure, my house was was full of love, but it was never tidy and undeniably an aesthetic disaster (which was mostly okay- children aren't designed to be inside all the time anyways). My walls are slowly filling up too, but the ones here...well, mine are beautiful and I dread the thought of packing everything up when I move. For now at least, this is is perfect.

I stared at the tiny blue and white fingerprints a bit longer, then sighed and plopped into the sagging computer chair by the drawing table. I find myself thinking of my own mother a lot lately, and I still have something for her that I've been meaning to send since Christmas. In the bag hanging from the armrest was a thick red journal with a lonely tree embossed on the cover. I reached in and pulled it out before placing it on the front on me. I'd wanted to write her a letter for a while, so, after thinking for a moment, I pulled the green fountain pen from behind my ear and opened to the first flyleaf to inscribe the following:

Dear Mom,

I'm writing this with one of my favorite pens and it gave me an odd thought.  I had wanted to get you something nice to write in because your stories are magical and books, even in their infancy, feel like they should be bound in something beautiful, and I like these journals because they lay flat and feel nice when you hold them.  As I was going through my arsenal of scribbling utensils, it occurred to me that you use pencils a lot more than I do, and when I think about the stories you wrote when I was small, they were all written with graphite.  Maybe it's because pencils are good for illustrating (and they have erasers), or maybe it's just what was handy, but it felt like an interesting contrast, like the two of us have very different kinds of magic. When you think about it, one almost feels a little bit macabre in contrast.

When I took Drawing II our instructor, Shelby, always told us that we were essentially taking dirt and rubbing it on paper in an order that turn "dirt into humanity"- I don't remember how he phrased it exactly but I feel like writing with a pencil is the same thing and very fitting, considering humanities origins. You're taking "dirt" essentially and using your creativity to breathe life into it and to transform it into something beautiful and new. A pencil never really disappears; it just becomes something else.  Ink is different. If graphite is breath, then ink is blood.  Both contain the essence of life, but a pen never transforms- it just becomes empty afterwords (that spelling is intentional: afterWORDS, get it??? Ha ha...).

To me writing always felt a lot more like bleeding than anything else, not because it was painful (although it can be), but because it's messy and it gets everywhere. It just pours out until there's nothing left, but some part of my soul gets poured out with it, absorbed by the pages which, in turn, take on a life of their own.  I guess that would make journals and diaries vampires, which subsist by drinking are thoughts and stories..?  I suppose there's probably a way to put a biblical spin on it as well if you wanted to go the communion/sacramental route, but that seems like a bit of a reach.  Anyways, it was just an odd thought. I hope I haven't ruined pens for you, but they do get compared to swords a lot so it doesn't seem like too much of a stretch.

You told me once that you only feel alive when writing and the rest of the time, you just kind of exist. You have a wonderful talent and I hope you'll continue to use it- the world needs more beautiful things in it, especially your stories, and I would love to read them someday.

There is a spot for your pen/pencil on the side and a secret pocket in the back of this where you can stash notes or doodles. I hope you like it I know you don't always have time or a quiet place to work but please promise me that you'll never stop writing.

P.S.  If you're like me and hoard pretty journals because they're "too nice" to right in please, don't do that with this one. It's for whatever you need or want it to be, and I've already bled all over these first 2 pages so that it's no longer intimidatingly perfect. You're welcome!

I smiled to myself, drawing a small heart at the end of the last sentence before signing my name. I'm sure it will make her laugh, but I hope she likes it and that she uses it soon. I'd hate for my brother and I to be the last small children she writes secret stories for, and I hope my own daughter will eventually get to enjoy hand-written tales and illustrations like we did. Some of them still stick vividly in my memory, and I think it's part of why I grew to love writing so much.

While I hope that my daughter will be independent and that she grows up being her own person, some part of me also hopes that in the future, my small human will also enjoy being artistic and/or writing as she gets older. I hope that bloodlines don't negatively determine character, and I'd never force my child to follow my footsteps or interests (and honestly in many ways, I pray she never does), but a love of art and creativity is a wonderful bond to share, especially when it's with people that you love.


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