My Mom was confident with a pencil cocked in her right hand.
Equally at ease with a pen that ‘s fine tip flowed black ink. (To this day I feel drawing pens make for excellent writing pens- a ballpoint just can’t saturate the way ink can. Words paint and marks are made without apology, it stokes the river of stories, makes my heart pump with excitement, expectancy.)
I remember the fine instruments, her careful technique with the right tool, her focus and respect for making form.
She would quiet when I would beckon her over to draw with me, taking the pencil gently from my hand. I would open with awe at her rendering of a human hand, or the head of a horse, the sweeping tail of mermaid- and felt a hot envy beneath my skin- a hint of competition warbling through my blood, wishing I could draw like that.
One grey day that seemed as long as a fortnight when I was seven, we made a book. The story of the watercress fairy; illustrated by yours truly, bold beeswax crayon drawings, written with my mom’s rust-coloured lilting gorgeous penmanship and bound with strings of orange wool.
It was a tale of destiny and duty- a girl’s courage- the eldest daughter of a elfin family who saves her family and community by discovering watercress growing in the dead of winter.
I loved that day, our warm and easy collaboration,each of us artists, storytellers and collaborators, telling a story about how nature feeds us. How one gift opens