Essays and rock & roll. Looking and listening. Nostalgia versus skepticism.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
An Origin Story
My dad would bring home thick stacks of computer from IBM, where he worked as an engineer, and running downstairs to the rec room I'd ignore the litany of 1s and 0s, the computerspeak lining the margins in 20th century hieroglyphics I'd never understand, and flip to the back where a smooth white plain of promise greeted me, margins vanishing, onto which I'd scribble in pencil the nascent markings of a football player or rock star on stage or a fancy automobile, my tongue out and brow furrowed, moving the pencil as if stepping off oh a high building, breathless on the high dive, tumbling into the volcano, and learning soon enough the melancholy of failure and the curse of verisimilitude—very similar was a concept I couldn't master, struggling with perspective and shadow, angle and depth, my rock and rollers in bell bottoms and my baseball sluggers and my cars looking foolish, dumb, childish, babies, really, drawn by a baby who can't draw, and the urge to look out the window above me so strong as to be unnameable but not as strong as the urge to fight looking, knowing that the tableau of neighbor tree air conditioner shrub driveway station wagon in all its dimensional and color-rich glory of thereness would dwarf my puny attempts to represent, to render what I'd imagined, the distance between the paper and the world unimaginable.