Saturday, May 23, 2009

Simon Pegg Is A Time Travelling Leprechaun

Hello, readers.

It's been awhile.

Things which I have seen or done while away:

Watched movies, including I *Heart* Huckabees (a thing I'd seen and enjoyed, more or less. Especially the bit with the blanket and Infinity) and Star Trek, which was very cool and shiny and, thankfully, not nearly as much like that episode of Felicity where Noah drank too much coffee and thought he was a Vulcan, as I'd feared. It's possible that was a dream. The Felicity episode, I mean. Star Trek was real, and I'm fairly certain Simon Pegg is a very tall leprechaun sent back in time to save us all from taking things too seriously.

Also, I drew for a bit yesterday. Started sketching the outside of Square Books. Was interrupted by friends waving to me from the balcony.

Also, my dad died and I read a thing at his funeral.

And there were books read. Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, for one, which was brilliant and not at all something to avoid no matter how well you think you understand comics. And, for two, there was Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory.

*Begin Review Speak*

There is a moment, near the end of Everyday Matters, when Mr. Gregory speaks of overcoming his discomfort of drawing in public. It was awkward he said, to have strangers approach and ask to see his drawings. He felt pretentious, shy, inadequate, etc. Gradually, though, he began to allow others to see what he drew, to see as he saw. In return, these people would generally talk to him about themselves. They would tell of how they saw New York, of missed subways and late night pizza and occasional tragedy. "They were giving me the gift of themselves," Mr. Gregory says.

Everyday Matters is a sketchbook. There are drawing of shoes, medicine cabinets, and tins of ravioli. There are watercolors of Death Valley and Paris. Doodles of cows and farmers. Drawing, Mr. Gregory tells us, is not simply a matter of making marks on a page, but a way of seeing. A way to appreciate things as they are. That is all and everything.

Everyday Matters is a diary. It happened that one day Mr. Gregory's wife fell on the tracks of a Subway. The train did not stop in time. She survived, paralyzed. Confined to a wheel chair. Life, as Mr. Gregory knew it, was over. Things were tough on Patti, too. Everyday Matters tells of Mr. Gregory's thoughts regarding the revolution of his world, the bitterness at chance, the weariness of condolences from friends and family, and the impossible necessity of moving on. Patti is still his wife, after all. They still have a son called Jack. Things are what they are and that is the way, he knows, they will stay.

Everyday Matters is an exercise in recovery. Recovery of love, of life, of the world. Mr. Gregory has written another book I've read, The Creative License, in which he instructs his readers how to see. To look at a tree, for example, and not see a "tree", but see something gnarled and wavy and very much unique unto itself. This book, Everyday Matters, it would seem, tells of where the motivation to see came to Mr. Gregory. There's a remarkable sort of poignancy to his drawings, whether they be of cityscapes, of Big Ben or Sixth Avenue, or of the small objects that surround him, of, yes, everyday matters: toothpaste or ravioli. His son. His wife. There is a quiet urgency throughout. An unspoken need to hold onto what reality there is, and to somehow learn to appreciate it simply for the miracle of it existing at all.

And it is that need, born out of tragedy, which is Mr. Gregory's gift to us, if we'll only take the time, a moment, to see the world as he sees it.

*End Review Speak*

Happy Friday, readers.


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