For the Burds

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Long are the days and short is the time to document all the events of our very busy lives. So much has changed in our family dynamic and though silence has been the assumed response, I want to shout in frustration.

I’ve never been much of a private person. Keeping quite on major happenings feels like a decision to breed confusion, speculation,and wrongly determined conclusion. 

And yet, at his wishes, I silenced myself. I didn’t publicly lament the loss of my son when he began to challenge house rules and ran away to escape them.  I didn’t raise my voice to form the words expressing my horror at having to break up a physical fight between hubs and my teenager. (Fighting to hurt, refusing to back down in the name of manliness isn’t what I’m used to seeing in my home. That’s the stuff you see on social media, shake your head at, and pass judgment on with only a snapshot of knowledge about a stranger’s life.) I didn’t poor out my frustration in being told by responding officers that my son who didn’t come home from school wasn’t “in immediate danger” and did not merit an active search – let alone an Amber Alert. 

I didn’t even allow myself to form the sentences criticising the treatment I received when I was reduced to “stepmother” at his school and was refused ability to access his records and facilitate his transition to a new start.  Though I was mom for four years, I’m not on birth or custody paperwork, and that means I don’t exist, or at least that I don’t count when it’s critical.  

Ignore the e-mails with his teachers and counselor, the meetings at Back to School Night, and the concerts and games to watch him perform. Forget about holding your son as he sobs about his disappointment with blood and trying to comfort him when there is no excuse for rejecting or ignoring your child because life kept going.  Pretend that you didn’t research opportunities, didn’t check on grades and homework, didn’t invest in his well-being beyond scholastics. 
When it counts, I have no say. Even in my home, there was no discussion  when I was told he was not returning to us. The decision didn’t include me. I was simply left to explain his absence to a family who adored him. I was told “it’s done.” And I apologized to his grandparents for having to reject their offer of taking him in (knowing it was a better option to keep him safe and to keep siblings together).

How many times did I ask for him to make contact with our son – to stop severing himself from a boy who desperately needed his father but might be equally stubborn about forgiving ‘the past’? I wonder still if my son read the note I tucked in amongst his things as I packed up his life. Did he hear the “goodbye, I love you” I sent?  Does he know I still miss him? 

In the aftermath, his sister feared for her security. Would we toss her out for something, too? Would Mommy simply let her go “while thinking about the others”? 

And though they weren’t part of the situation, every critical family member drew conclusions. They were fine before, so it had to be the wife. It is an easy assumption, especially when he refuses to defend the scapegoat.

It’s no wonder she thinks I am evil. Did it come as any surprise that she’d forbid her son from coming over? Should I have been shocked to read her text?

I not trying to be funny but I swear I hate your situation u see your sons sometimes because neither one of them fuck with your wife . It’s a sad shame that whole situation u was doing well when u had your own house and e everybody was happy!!!

Confirmation that I’m the villan in the village destroying lives. And no denial from the only one in a position to set the record straight. 

I can only take so much. I can only ignore the slights from his family for so long – – and the awkward gatherings that further distance me as an outsider invading and encroaching on their happiness. I’m the one being held responsible for all the changes. I’m the situation destroying his relationships. 

And I think I’m done being  that woman. There’s nothing I can say when I’m not invited into the conversation. It’s yours, mine and ours – and I didn’t sign up for that. 

SEQA 100 – a quick discussion on comic strips and comic books

Asked: “Comic strips have a larger mainstream acceptance in the United States than comic books. More people read a comic strip on a daily basis than read a comic book. They are two very different forms of storytelling, and yet they share a lot of similarities. … Does the smaller use of closure in comic strips improve their stories, or are comic books more powerful because of the extra closure that they employ? Why or why not? Do you think that non-visual closure is more powerful, or is visual closure the better way to support a story? Why or why not? Which format is a more effective means of storytelling? Is this because of closure or some other element?”

Big Nate Comic Strip (3_1_11)

I find that comparing comic strips and comic books is a bit difficult.  This is not because they are different mediums, as both are considered comics and rely on visual storytelling in addition to employing words to convey information.  A comic strip is what I consider a quick take on a topic – – a fast statement, a joke, a slice of life. A comic book is a story that delves a bit deeper because the length of the book allows for more development.  Both forms employ closure and rely on the reader/viewer to insert information between the panels, or to make connections between scenes.

Garfield-comic-stripDepending on the story one seeks to tell, a comic strip might be preferred, as people tend to want quick information, entertainment (consider the popularity of the scrolling news on CNN or the quick takes of USAToday versus the lengthier newscasts, newspaper articles, and news magazines).  The concise comic strip works with reliance on archetypal characters, universal concepts, and common knowledge. It has little space to provide scene to scene or moment to moment closure, and thus relies heavily on aspect to aspect.  As in the Garfield comic, the strange costume prompts questions about intentions.  The Lost Sock comic seeks to present a moral message, a parable, if you will.  It jumps from a statement by mom to the actions of a determined child to find purpose for a solo sock. It uses scene to scene closure and jumps through her repair/repurposing actions.

A comic book allows for the artist/writer to introduce a backstory and create an exposition before building the plot of the book and resolving the story. It has the length to employ a variety of closures which force the reader/viewer to interact with the story.  It can also vary the gutters and formatting of panels to add interest and intrigue to the art presentation.  There is the possibility of a more powerful visual experience because there is no real limit to the length of the story.  While it may convey the same concepts, jokes, statements, or slices of life as a comic strip, it can build them more completely.  One additional element a comic book might have is character dynamics – – there is time to show change.  The short “How to Read a Comic Book” starring Sesame Street characters shows how the variations of page layout add interest to the story.


Interview with the 7 year and 317 day old

Preferred name: Yadon
Favorite color: blue
Favorite sport: football
Favorite thing to do outside: ride my bike
Favorite thing to do inside: watch TV
Favorite saying (motto): Never give up
Favorite school subject: social studies
What do you like about summer: no school
Best friend: Micah
Dream vacation: the artic mountains – I want to build a snow fort
Dream job: Lego designer
Best vacation to date: Tennessee because I got to… That’s hard. Sorry, not my favorite. King’s Creek because I got to go to a water park and somewhere called the Island. Wait… That was Tennessee.
What are you looking forward to this school year: homework. Lots of homework.
What’s your favorite thing to do with your family: go places.
What are you good at: walking up steps without falling.

What else do you want to say: God bless you.

Interview with the teen artist

What is your current age: 13 going on 30. Don’t put that, haha.
What is your favorite television show:  Cut Throat Kitchen. No, wait. ID Channel. It’s not a show, I like the whole network.
Favorite color: purple. It’ll never not be purple.
Favorite school subject: In all honesty, even though I kinda struggle, I really like math. You either get math or you don’t.
Longest Skype conversation: 8 hours long. Continuous or throughout the day?

Interjection from the younger brother: She’s doodoo fresh.

What is your dream job: I want to be an animator or a character designer.

How many days until Freshman year: 48. I knew that from heart. It’s sad that I know.

Who inspires you: Camilla d’Errico, Yuna, and my mom.

What are most looking forward to: In life, or in high school? In life, I’m looking forward to having enough money to sustain myself and still have fun. And for high school, the experience. Because my school is so… exciting, I think it’s just going to be a lot of fun.

What’s your typical phone activity: probably, the one I usually do is go on instagram or skype Kiernan. I look at art and funny videos (Pokemon Go videos and memes, I love memes)

What’s your greatest accomplishment to date: Surviving. Do not put that. Stop. Probably getting into Colgan. That was hard. You had an interview – not like this one, cause its just mom. My mom wasn’t even there ..[in the room].
It was… There was a lot of pressure. I got to look at a lot of artists’ work and they were actually really good. And that oil painter -ahhhk – her work was GORGEOUS.

And what are your immediate plans: Skypeing my friends. Checking the school website daily. I’m going on a couple vacations. And I’m doing my track workouts.

Tell me about your art: I’m a realistic artist. I try to draw hyper realistically, mostly people portraits. I enjoy sketching out with blue pencil. I just got a new desk and so I like to sketch on it. And clean it. I have a wipe. [Mom face palms herself in agony. Child responds ‘I hate you.’ Mom considers how many days are left before college.]

What’s your favorite art piece so far: The one of Yadon.

What’s the silliest art mistake you’ve made: Making a thick oil painting right before needing to  turn it in for my interview. Traumatizing. I spent three hours trying to dry that thing. [who knew it needed to oxidize to dry?]

What do you think about art box subscriptions: I love ’em because it gives you good size samples that I honestly would never buy.

What else do you want to remember about right now: I fall up the stairs every single day. Fall up and down every single day.

I finally got all A’s.

What time is it (besides bedtime past due): It is July 13, 2016 12:03am with 47 days left until school which means I need to update my calendar. [bedtime.] I love you mom. [She licks her. Mom dislikes child’s actions. Banishes her from room. She slips on way out. Brother comes in from his room “stop licking mom!” She does it again. “I cant stop, I love how she freaks out.”]

*recorded by Mom verbatim in third person because she felt like it even though the child considers that weird.

Red, White and Blue

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