Many, many years ago, when my world (this time around) was still young and relatively unadulterated by the crushing reality of despondency or the gleeful joy of natural mania, I was often simply a bit bored. My mother, bless her overstretched tan tights, was usually busy doing...well I was never quite sure, let's call it pottering. She alone was charged with the task of entertaining the boy beset by ennui. Once in a while, the plastic age into which I was born would produce a packet of bright coloured felt tip pens, and a small piece of Finland rehashed as a new sketchbook.
"Why don't you draw mummy a nice picture of something?" Looking back as adults, I expect all those drawing sessions blend into one for most of us. But I remember one as distinct from all the others. I remember picking up that pen and turning over the fresh, new smelling page. I crushed the spine of the sketchbook with the consummate skill of a bush hunter, and viewed the virgin sheet with coccyx-tingling anticipation.
And then...nothing. Not a sausage, no flicker, nowt, bugger all, zero, zilch. A kind of inspirationectomy had been performed without anaesthetic. No matter how hard I tried, I could not think of a single thing I should draw. And so I just drew a line, starting bottom left and climbing in a gentle arc to top right. Hmmm, what next? Another line, running down from the first a kind of oblique angled tangent. Aaha! Let's put a large dot right there. Hey! Now we're cookin'. Before long I had constructed a "pikcha", no great shakes, which had to resemble something. So how do I name it, cos you must name all your "pikchas". Well, take a look at it and see what it resembles. Eureka!!
And so my picture, that day's creational masterpiece was entitled "The Top of an Indian Woman's Head". One could quite clearly see resemblance.
I recall another session.
After one of those "Oh that's not fair" type conversations with my Dad, desperate and convulsing with indignation, I set about the pens with the gnashing fervour of a revolutionary in the grip of a coup. I produced the most damning likeness of my father imaginable (to me), and entitled it. "Dad, My Enemy"
I showed it to my Dad, expecting my declaration of hostilities to provoke the next volley of parental unfairness which would give rise to yet further indignation. His countenance broke into a smile, then emitted genuine laughter. How deflating. Oh, how my ire had been instantly disarmed.
And you see, the world beyond my childhood changes very little.
I am presented by the cyber world, with an infinite variety of fonts, formats and fantasia.
I could write most accusingly, with fire and spite borne of life's most bitter experiences.
I could look at these blank text boxes and know that it is just for me, me, ME that all of the computerised "small pieces of Finland" have been laid out like unadulterated drifts of snow, waiting for me to piss my name into them.
And you could be my Mum and say "That's nice darling, what is it?"
You could be my Dad and quell my deepest anger with laughter, not derision, just mirth.
And where would I be then?
Well I'd be in front of the computer, just like you are now.