Thursday, June 5, 2014


I recently came across my very first wallet. Unsnapping this flap reveals a coin pouch.
Unsnapping the other side opens up the wallet to a few credit card slots, plus a full-length slot for bills.
And although the outside is faded now, under the flap the wallet's original wild colors still glow.  
At some point, I replaced the wild wallet with this one.  Same size and shape.
More slots for cards---probably the reason I switched wallets, given our culture's obsession for credit, gift, and identity cards.  A few additional slots, a zippered pocket.  But no wild colors. Not very...exciting. 
Time marched on, and once again it seemed necessary to graduate to this larger wallet, the one I am currently using.
Room for lots more plastic, a larger zippered coin section, multiple slots and zippered pockets for all the records, slips, receipts, and other paper detritus that trails after our daily lives.  Forget about wild colors.  This is just plain...well ...UGLY.  Not to mention bloated and heavy.
What does this have to do with writing and illustrating?  As I look at my first wallet and my last wallet, side by side, I think of my earliest days as a writer and illustrator, and compare them with my experience today as a writer and illustrator.  Those earliest days did feel colorful, exuberant, playful. Manageable.  Just like my first wallet.  Today, years later and after more than 100 books, the business of writing and illustrating often feels---like my current wallet---subdued, serviceable, heavy, stuffed with too much extraneous detritus. Almost a burden at times. Not much room for playfulness.
And I wonder---is there is a way to go back to the feel of my earliest writing and illustrating days? A way to discard some of the detritus and weight? A way to make room for excitement and play? A way to include exuberance and color? Is there a way, in fact, to use that wild little wallet once again?

1 comment:

  1. I'm amazed that you have saved all of your wallets. Mine are long gone. Shows that a thing can be inspiration for insightful pondering...