She is a part of me; my teenage self.
I made two drawings of her some years back. They were, I guess, memory drawings.
They were about being in love with reading.
And, er, being a bit of a slob (nothing changed there then).
*****Do you sometimes find that in creativity, and in life in general, I suppose, that a theme comes along, a recurring theme, and you just can't ignore it? You feel you mustn't ignore it. It's trying to tell you something. Like a message a from the universe. Well, that's what's been happening with me of late.
That theme has been books. Books, books, books.
Andrea's Book (I really should go into that rather simplistic title at some point, but hey, that's another blog post). Ever since I have been signing, wrapping and packing them off all around the world. For the wrapping paper I've been using the drawings of my girl. I can't remember how it came about - it was some kind of happy accident as the late great Bob Ross would say.
*****A few weeks back a friend sent me a link to a project that is taking place in London over the summer. From July, there will be a trail of 'book benches' displayed throughout the capital. It is a Wild In Art project, working in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, called 'Books About Town'. You can read and see more about it HERE. The link was for artist's to submit their designs for the chance of getting their own bench commissioned. Artists could choose from a list of books, all linked to London in some way, or come up with an idea of their own. That was the only rule; the book bench design had to have some link to the capital. The issue I had was that the deadline was nearly up and I had just a few days to choose a book and come up with a design.
I really wanted this gig and my head was spinning trying to get an idea together. I'd read quite a few books on the list, but many years ago and none of them were jumping out at me. Sleepless nights ensued as I went over and over it. But I was trying to force an idea and that's not how I like to work.
I continued to get on with the other things I need to do; going to work, signing and wrapping and sending lot's more of my books off around the world. Always coming back to my girl. There she was, she was still reading. What was she reading I asked myself. What book was she engrossed in I asked her. What was teenage me reading then? Then it came to me.
Back in the day, like many other kid of the 1980s, I was obsessed with Adrian Mole. A while ago I reread the books and they were still as funny and brilliant as when I first read them. I've grown up with the character and loved everything about him, from his political views (fiercely anti Thatcher) and his burning desire to lead the life less ordinary. I knew that's what my girl was reading. There was my book; The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend. But what did it have to do with London? Adrian famously lived in the Midlands. Then I recalled that he went on a school trip to London. Tenuous? Actually, I don't think so. Suddenly I was feeling passionate.
*****So, that's the story of how I ended up with a MASSIVE open book, or bench (depending on how you look at it) in my living room. Yes, my idea was selected and yesterday there was another book in my life. I like to think having a huge open book staying with me is symbolic. I haven't decided what it symbolises yet. I hope it'll reveal that over the next two months (yes, TWO months).
I love this girl. She came through for me again.