In the corner of my grandmother’s living room, in the bungalow she shared with my grandfather, their little poodle Toby and an air always thick with cigarette smoke, was a small desk with a very special drawer. Beyond seeing her, or Grandpa, or cuddling the dog, all ten-year-old me ever wanted at every visit, was what was in that drawer.
It’s a strange treasure to want. Unless you are a ten year old with a stationery fixation (or like me now, a forty year old who still has a lingering stationery obsession – I’m working on that OK?). It was a drawer full of empty notepads and coloured pens and pencils and they were mine alone to play with.
One time, when I got my hands on the precious empty books and a pencil sharpened especially for me (to the soundtrack of Kylie and Jason as I remember), I tried to draw a horse. I did draw a horse. I was proud of it and I was super pleased with myself. Why I remember the sights and sounds and smells so vividly was most likely due to what happened next. It was something that I’m not sure had ever happened to me before. So jarring to me in my as yet short and clearly charmed existence.
I showed my creation to my Nana McDougall and she told me it wasn’t a very good horse.
I tried again and again and each time she told me I couldn’t draw horses. She was laughing at my attempts and I laughed with her but I was heartbroken that I couldn’t please her. I was heartbroken that I couldn’t draw horses.
From then on, and forever since, I have believed an unquestionable truth. I am Suzie Edge and I can’t draw horses.
Should Nana McDougall have massaged my ego, telling me my drawing was amazing and that I should open an exhibition? Should she have left me to find later on that in the real world, beyond the comfort of her living room, that I really REALLY couldn’t draw horses?
Could she have been wrong? Should I brush aside her ideas of what the perfect horse drawing should look like and believe that it is my interpretation of the horse that matters and not what my grandmother thought? Should I just show everyone my imperfect horses anyway?
Who gives a crap about me drawing horses?
Do I go through this thought process every time I have the slightest urge to be creative or to press publish on a new blog post?
Yes. Yes I do, but here I go again. Back in the saddle.
Welcome to my new blog, Suzie’s imperfect guide to navigating a wonky world, Like A Human.