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Detritus (part 1)

September 7, 2008

“My Book About Me” by Dr. Seuss

We’ve been staying in Florida for a spell so I can catch my breath from the first leg of the tour – which was AWESOME btw, thanks to all who came out!

While here, I promised myself I would begin a project that has sat in the back of my mind for years – and that was to empty out a storage unit that I have had for over 20 years(!)

You read that right. You see, I created so much art in high school and college that I just couldn’t take it around with me as I moved from place to place. What I should have done was weed it and throw most of it out along the way. But, being the pack-rat that I am, I simply put it in my parent’s storage space…which then became my own storage space, which then became a holding bin for my old art and also A LOT of toys (I binged out on collecting Star Wars toys when they re-launched them in the late 90’s).

So I started clearing out some of my stuff, and found two gems: boxes full of my past life in grade school. You know the box – it has report cards in it, embarrassing school photos, perhaps a ribbon you won in some contest. What was interesting is what I’d chosen to hold onto all these years…and how perhaps these bits of detritus have set me on the course that I now travel on.

“Doodum Bird” by Dr. S and Tony D

Exhibit A: Dr. S’s My Book about Me. According to the entries, I’ve surmised I was in 2nd grade when I filled this out (about 7 years old). On page 23, I wrote I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up, however my favorite subject in school was “art”, as you can see by this rendition of the “Doodum Bird”. Where did my inspiration for G is for One Gzonk come from?

“Rabbit” by (a young) Tony D

Exhibit B: Speaking of art, I am often asked about books I loved as a kid. If this drawing in the front of my dilapidated copy of Winnie-the-Pooh doesn’t show the love, I don’t know what will. Interesting that I drew Rabbit of all the characters – I wonder if I associated with him the most? Don’t get me wrong, I ADORE Pooh, but as a kid, I always thought he was a little lazy.

Old books

Exhibit C: Here is that copy of Winnie-the-Pooh, along with The Great Brain, and a couple of other long-forgotten favorites. I’d like to think that How to Master the Video Games has done me good in life. If you can stay cool enough to zap the head of a fast-speeding centipede as it descends towards your shooter, you can handle any ridiculous deadline as it barrels closer.

“Godzilla” by (a young) Tony D

Exhibit D: The final bit of artifact from my elementary school years would be this poem, Godzilla, done in Mrs. Folsom’s 3rd grade class. Thank God she had the foresight to laminate it, keeping it perfectly preserved in groovy 1976 goodness. I am not sure why the mastodont’s face is pink – I think it was embarrassed.

Next time: Middle school junk!

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Never Abandon Imagination Tony DiTerlizzi: Never abandon imagination.

Imagination is a world of possibility that exists within each of us. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is our creative fingerprint that touches and influences the world around us. Imagination is essential to art and science; to innovation and prosperity. It gives us hope, calls us to action and leads to change.

Whether it’s fairies, dragons, robots or aliens, all of my children’s book characters are siblings born of my imagination – an imagination strengthened through years of encouragement from family, teachers and friends. While so many others abandoned it during their transition from childhood to adulthood, I fiercely held onto mine, hoping for a day when I could share it to inspire the next generation of dreamers. Innovators. World changers.

Imagination empowers us to envision and create a reality of what could be. We must hold it dear, foster it and never abandon it.