I like to color, and I'm good at it. I choose surprising colors and I mix them, make shading (even the background), and I don't leave any white. Sometimes I mess up - maybe the tip isn't sharp enough, and just the smallest smidge feathers outside the lines. Then I take my crayon and I outline it real heavily, to make it look like I did that on purpose.
Then I start outlining inside the lines. It looks better that way, and it all stays even.
Everybody likes it, and my friends all start outlining too. They think I'm clever.
Eventually I realize that colored pencils are much better, rarely sneaking over that printed black. The outlining phase has run its course. I just start lightly on this side of the line, until I make it to safe ground. I experiment with blending, but I always seem to leave smudgy fingerprints outside those stupid little lines.
Smudging runs its course. I put away the coloring books for a while.
I like hopscotch, but I hate those little cracks inside the blocks. I take extra special care making each block even, but then sometimes those little sidewalk cracks have to creep in and ruin the whole thing. I work with them, extending them, turning them into a part of this art. It has to look right. It has to look even. “Come on, can we just play?”
“Just a couple more minutes. I'm almost done.” It's a little vine with flowers, curling around to flow into the zero on the ten. Just a few more...I can't mess the whole thing up now. I'm almost done.
I love art, and I can't understand it when my grades start to slip. “Amanda, you really need to finish your project.” I work on it longer than anyone!
I can't mess it up. I can't get sloppy. “That's just laziness, Mandy.”
It looks real good, doesn't it? Why did she give me a C? “I'm sorry, Amanda. I gave you extra time to complete it.”
I doodle on my homework. The doodles have to be even. If the pen leaves blots, I write the whole paper over. I copy worksheets onto notebook paper and tell the teachers it just got too cluttered as I was working out the problems. I swear off Bics and their stupid random blotting. I throw out a journal they ruined, too.
In college, I have an art teacher who hates realism. Say what? She gives me crap grades even though I'm doing a great job. She can't even draw anyway. She lectures me about not doing anything spontaneous. I turn in my journal that week with a collage of Dopey porn, pouring an arc of purple jizz across two pages onto Snow White's quivering breasts. I take a white-out wand and scribble all over it, making the biggest unholy mess of my life, drawing a gigantic middle finger and dotting it with sprinkles.
It was hard, letting go like that and doing artwork so freely. That bitch gave me a D.
I drop the class, buy a fifty-nine cent pack of colored pencils and a Noah's Ark coloring book, and spend a few therapeutic hours coloring oh-so-very-carefully.
This has been my Week 16 entry for therealljidol. If you enjoyed it, please consider voting for me if there's a poll this weekend.