Part 2 -The Cartoonist
The emotions I went through as I drove home were intense.
I was shocked.
Of course that’s an understatement. I was sickened in the pits of my soul.
It was like losing a part of my life. How could they throw away something so personal? So dear to me?
The questions kept racing through my mind.
Did they read it?
What’s the time limit you hang onto evidence? I would have thought there was no time limit!
I blamed them, I got angry.
I blamed me, I hated that I didn’t rush to the station the second they contacted me.
All I knew was that it was gone. That was that.
Part of me always desired to write an autobiography, I guess the story of how I conquered one of my greatest fears and actually became a married man would have to be part of it, possibly one of the most significant things I’d ever done in my life….
But then, people who write autobiographies are people who have done something significant.
What had I done?
Why would people want to read about my life?
These questions didn’t matter, all I knew was that for all those years I was meant to write. Even if I never did do an autobiography, maybe someone one day would read them.
So the grieving process began. I kept writing but now it was different. How could I trust that what I was writing would actually last?
What if my house burned down?
Nothing was safe now.
If the Police who are here to protect us could so flippantly destroy my story, then how easily could someone else?
In the West we are very materialistic. We want everything to always be the same.
It’s as though we become lost in our own minds and our own self pity.
We find it hard to see that life isn’t always going to be the same as it was.
Death is devastating to us in the West….. We find it hard to see the good that can come from a bad situation.
So I tried to look at the positive. If my work could be burned… then I would make copies. How would I make copies? I would write on a computer!
In Year 11 I chose a class, basically to bludge.
In school I had no desire at all to write.
But if there’s a class I look back on now and am stoked I did it….. it was typing.
I learned to touch type.
So now my crusty laptop got a workout, my stories would be kept digitally, but I would also try to print a copy as often as I could. I also backed it up, a couple of times. Now with online storage, my life is a little safer.
Not only could digital help me keep my writing safe, I figured if anyone wanted to look at a certain day it would be a lot easier to find! Just by searching for a date in the finder panel. My kids could read the day they were born…… or any other day that meant something to me.
It was devastating losing the journal, but I kept writing. Just.
In those first few years of marriage, life was very hard for me.
I lost a job doing something that I loved, putting me through a mild depression.
Slowly my love for writing dwindled. My journalling slowed right down, sometimes I would miss several months, and try to recap what I’d been through in a binge session.
There’s something that happens to a person, when they no longer feel they have a story to tell.
For years I told stories through public speaking. A good friend would say “I love a good Greaves’ story!”
I would get up in front of a crowd, and use my own stories to inspire, and build hope. With the turn of events, the loss of my job and virtually no inspiration, I began to leave both my story telling and writing behind.
This whole time I was working in a High School. One of the ways I would try to encourage the students I spent time with was by drawing cartoons for them.
I would ask “Hey, what do you love to do?”
If they said “I love soccer.” I would draw them in a Socceroos uniform with a crowd cheering for them.
I wanted to paint a big picture of them. So they could see that I believed they were capable of big things.
I’m like this with creativity…. I go through stages of bingeing in it.
Some of the Students would come back to me years later and tell me they still have the picture I drew for them on their walls.
Now, I might add here, I never felt the desire to try and get better at my creativity. I just plugged away for years, and if I improved, good. If not…. It didn’t matter. For me creativity just flowed from me, it didn’t have to define me. I defined it.
I think this is partly to do with how encouraging my Mother was towards my crafts while growing up. If I did a poem, never a critique or a ‘You should do it this way’ it was always “Luke that is so beautiful, can I keep it?”
She would value everything I did. And said. We could talk about anything, and my opinion mattered. We could have a two way conversation.
I found as an adult, many of the older generation would try to be the person who spoke down to me, and when I spoke back expecting them to receive what I had to say, they would almost turn away, with that sense of ‘Why is this young man talking to me as though he can teach me something?’.
It took me years to realise that not everyone can have that two way conversation.
Working with teenagers, I found that many of them could teach equally as much to me as I could teach them. So, so refreshing!
Moving on, one day I was cartooning and an IT teacher sees what I’m doing and says “Hey you could colour this in Photoshop!”
My automatic reply was “No way man, way over my head all that techy stuff!”
At the time I was only just getting used to this new social networking site called Myspace, and my new favourite one that the Students still hadn’t got onto yet called Facebook…. These were hard enough getting my head around, let alone using some geeky program.
But when he had the chance, he insisted he show me how……….
To be continued
Miss Part 1? click here