m wood pen

freelance illustrator: have pen, will travel

red m wood coney island parachute drop w parachutes

so just goes to show things are so often not what they appear to be.

i have a super cool client who has hired me to sketch a stack of iconic new york treasures. granted, the first thing i’d be compelled to do is hop in the car, road trip east and scour these gems up close, pen in hand.

however, my summer is allowing very few breaks from the program, so the google and the multitude of photographs that live there are just going to have to be the models for my illustrations.  which, after gazing for long enough: make me want to hop in the car, road trip east, and scour these gems up close!

not sure what it is about the open road, a (real, paper) map, a box of sandwiches and some thematic tunes on the radio (read: cd player, mp3 player, whatever gadget the whiz kids have come up with next to replace the stuff i still love and cling to).  isn’t it the best?

luckily this summer holds several of those little bursts of travel into my days. nashville done, and what a hoot.  next up: to hang with my pal at the american gothic house, meet my nyc editor, and walk the mexican & german dogs while photographers snap snap away for a fabulous photo-shoot.

then comes a trek up to those fabulous twin cities, where daughter #2 dips her toes into her first college orientation weekend.  i’ve distracted my emotional self from really dealing with this truth by pretending it’s a fun vacay, even booking a cool stay at a st. paul loft via airbnb: it’s just a mini-break, right?  not the first step in a long separation…right?  right?

the summer will wind up eventually with a return trek up, accompanied by former husband, an assortment of able and willing siblings who will be instructed to haul the college freshman’s stuff up the stairs in due payment for all of the years of lugging, packing, climbing, unpacking and general youngest kid duties.  it’s only fair.

speaking of fair, again, i’m in denial.  rather than imagine depositing my little tot onto a college campus, to return home solo with nothing but an empty car come september, i’ve pretty much convinced myself that the purpose for this summers end trip is merely, fantastically, only: to attend the minnesota state fair.

this creative brain of mine never disappoints.

today i’m helping daughter #1 pack up her apartment, poised to do the musical chair kind of city thing by switching to another apartment.  that brings me back to my own twenties in the city existence where i did much the same thing.  so, yes, back to the day at hand: will wrap, once more, the gorgeous dishes tenderly picked out 3 years ago to first travel to the hudson river valley, then back to chicago, where they have been unwrapped, rewrapped, set up in lovely tablescapes, filled with nourishing and good-looking feasts, filled with strong glad coffee and crisp chilled wine.

oh the lives dishes and tableware live!

which brings me back to the parachute drop.

in all of the sketches and snapshots, i’d really thought the thing was black iron, ala the eiffel tower or any mies van der rohe form shows style structure.  but, last night, catching the penultimate climax of a zany sandra bullock-hugh grant rom-com, i, quite inexplicably, spotted the coney island parachute drop! for real!  since i was alone at the time, the only person i could exclaim this to was my son’s cat, who didn’t seem at all impressed.

but i was. because, well: it was red.  not black. not at all the way i imagined it to be. at all.

so, here we are, stepping into this next weird phase of family life where i create an insanely busy summer in order to fill every moment with this super kool kid before the…well, before the next whatever. and in my dread, and excitement, and pride, and fear, and hope, and wonder, i realize all again that life just keeps on surprising us.  no matter how we plan, assume and consider and tabulate the facts, the reality will always just do its own thing.

so, red parachute drop: thank you for the reminder.  it’s exciting to step into the next unknown, and, like a kid rushing into the colorful, other-worldly, bright lights, merry land of coney island, expect magic.

 

 

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