Friday, October 22, 2010

The *Really Good* Pastels

Fortunately for me (and the old pocketbook) Danny doesn't know about Senallier, or Rembrandt. For now, he's thrilled with his brand-new set of 50 colour Cray-Pas. Six bucks. Actually less, today was the bonus 20% off sale.

We were examining a selection of sketchbooks on the discounted table, and Danny gave a really loud, frustrated sigh. (looking at a rectangular, then a small square book) "Can't they just make a sketchbook that isn't all fiddly, and strange?"

He's right, and that's probably why they didn't sell at full price, but it was so strange to hear him articulate a preference for a certain style of sketchbook.

When I was just a bit older than Danny, I got into a bit of trouble over pens, paper and the like. First grade, I think-maybe second. Somehow, I had managed to talk my mother into letting me buy lunch at school. That was a big deal, because it was .60 (plus .6 cents for milk). Letting a child do that five days a week added up pretty quickly. At some point however, my love of brand-new notebooks, coloured pencils, and gum erasers overtook my love of apple crumble (and god knows, I do adore apple crumble) and tepid fish fingers-I started skipping my meal and spending the whole .66 cents at the school store. Amazingly, no one figured it out until the new lunch monitor made a fuss about my not having a lunch one day, and insisted on buying mine. I think phone calls were made home, and by the time they got the truth out of me...well I was carrying a paper sack with a sandwich of fake cheese on dietetic bread to school for the rest of primary school.

Does anything smell better than a new box of crayons or a pad of newsprint? The best hours of my childhood were spent sitting on uncomfortable metal stools at too-low drawing tables in a room that smelled of tempra, and sawdust, and chalk. I ruined more shirtsleeves leaning my elbows on those ancient tables peering over some smeared-up willow charcoal mess-but I loved it. Loved it. I was never very good at it, but that didn't really matter. I want Danny to have the same opportunity to work with different mediums, get messy, spend hours focused on a project-without having to miss lunch.

I also bought him a no-name spirograph set in a lovely little metal carrying case with coloured pens. That was eight dollars. I'm going to sneak it out and play with it after he goes to sleep. Then, I'm going to go smell the crayons.

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