I just buried my grandmother this past weekend. I can’t help but reflect on some key points in her support of my creative endeavors. Off the top of my head, I can think of three:
1. When I was a kid, I was creating comic books of my own. In addition to generally encouraging me, I can recall a specific time when she and my aunts purchased all of the comics I had on hand. Sold them for about a quarter each, which was big money back then. More than the money, her willingness to buy gave me the notion that my creative output had value. She was right!
2. When I was a high school sophomore, I decided to make an animated film for an American History project. She told me she would finance it, which was about $20. I rode my bike all the way to her house (which was 5 miles away), used the money to purchase Super 8 film, batteries, and clay on the way home, and made my movie the same day.
3. I published my first novel in 2012. I went home for my 25th year high school reunion, using a boxful of my books to finance my trip (that is an interesting story all its own). Though the subject matter of ‘Dead Assets’ was something a church evangelist would never openly support, she did so proudly. She insisted on purchasing a copy, while my dad told me he’d buy whatever I hadn’t sold before I left. Of course, I didn’t make her pay but smiled at the fact she was willing to do so.
In addition to the kisses, the Easter outfits, the Christmas gifts (Atari 2600 in ’83 being the most awesome of those), the baked cookies and cakes, it was the fact that my grandmother got to KNOW me that I loved most. I wasn’t just an anonymous child to be relegated to the collective of grandchildren; I was her Doodlebug–an artist, a writer, and an experimental filmmaker.