The First four days of the 100 day project are on the book. My plan has been to spend the first four days of ten exploring some characters, their home, and their stories. There’s a lot of fragments here, and jumping off points for the story I want to tell, and I was a little surprised at how the story started to come together.
This is Andrew Forester.
He’s a high school English teacher.
He’s recently divorced.
He’s about to start summer break and preparing for his fifteen year old daughter to come stay with him for the summer.
He likes plants, but doesn’t have great luck with them.
He enjoys chess.
He became an English teacher because he wasn’t confident in his ability as a writer.
When he was a kid, his mom thought he’d grow up to be either a pastor or a teacher.
…He wanted to be a soldier.
His mom got so mad when she found out he was playing D&D in high school.
He wishes he were musical.
He loves to sing.
People tell him he’s a good cook.
He wrote copy for the college yearbook.
He got married two weeks after graduation.
He likes how the wind feels in his hair when he rides his bike.
He doesn’t own a helmet.
When she was about three, Ava played quietly in the living room as I did the housework. Our house was a shotgun style ranch, so she was really pretty easy to keep an eye on as I moved from room to room tidying up and putting laundry away.
Walking out of the back bedroom, I could see a pile of blocks, but no Ava. “What’s that kid up to?” I laughed to myself, as I began tiptoeing down the hall like a cartoon burglar.
I swept into the kitchen ready to surprise her, and drew up short. “Huh. No kid. “
Turning back toward the living room, I made it about three steps before I saw that the front door was wide open…
“Why don’t you ever finish anything that you write?” She was looking up at me over the edge of the little sketchbook she carried everywhere. The cover of this one was turquoise blue and covered in stickers. How often did she start a new one? I remember a time when she seemed to show me everything she drew…”What’re you drawing?” I asked, changing the subject.
She rolled her eyes and laughed. “I’m drawing you, ya big goof! Doing something you say you love.”
“I just never felt like I was good enough, I guess.”
“Mom loved your words. She used to tell me about the things you sent her when you were dating.” Ava put her pencil down and looked at me seriously. “She wanted you to write.”
“She…she did? Really? I always felt like she thought I was wasting my time.”
“Well, that too.”
“It only takes one breath” I don’t remember where I heard that quote. The English teacher in me shakes his head daily about that. I’d hastily copied it onto a post-it note and pinned it to my bulletin board alongside its partner, “to come back into your body.” No citation. Laugh.
I read it most mornings, standing in my kitchen waiting for the coffee to brew.
“Earth to Dad!” Ava called from the doorway. “What part of the galaxy are you in, space cadet?”
Things you’ll find in this kitchen:
Open shelving with canisters of staples
Green, red/orange and teal color scheme
Single basin sink
Tables for counters
“I was thinking this morning,” I said as I spooned oatmeal into Ava’s bowl and set a dish of berries and sliced apples in front of her “about how my mom used to make breakfast for us pretty much every morning.”
“Oh yeah?” This kid. She sounded thrilled, barely looking up as she spooned brown sugar into her breakfast and snagged some apple. Dropping the Apple into her bowl and pushing the berries away from herself, she finally looked at me.
“Yeah,” I replied over my shoulder as I walked back into the kitchen. “She still did for grandpa too, until she died”
“Why are you lecturing me about breakfast this morning, dad?”
“Just thinking about how much I enjoy cooking with you.” I laughed. “You sure you don’t want any of these berries?”
She gave me a look. Kids. Haha
There was something I wanted to say when I started, and something else started to take shape as I started working it all out. The next six days, are about putting some of this together into an illustration really exploring what I want the final project to look like.
I’m thankful for the time I’ve got to focus on this, and am thinking about how to translate that to my normal, post quarantine, life. That’s going to be an important shift as we all start working again and have to reconcile our priorities that we’re developing during this time.
What new routines are you developing? How are you all taking care of yourselves? I hope you all are doing well, and as ever, I’m so glad that you’re here with me in the world. Until next time, take care and be good!