Tonawanda News

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March 7, 2013

KEPPELER: Art can take you places

Tonawanda News — Somewhere in my parents’ home, it waits.

It’s pretty unassuming, really. A little green wire-bound notebook, maybe with a Girl Scouts or Brownies logo on the cover — I don’t quite remember. I live in mixed trepidation and hope that I’ll track it down someday, in whatever storage box or bin it now resides. 

I purchased it, as best I can remember, when I was 6, probably with allowance or birthday money. And for a year or so, it was my most treasured possession.

I filled it with pictures.

Heaven only knows how they’ve survived the years. They were just good ol’ No. 2 pencil on lined paper, line drawings mostly of animals and landscapes. Because I had (have) an overactive imagination, they were accompanied by stories about the animals, anthropomorphized in the way dictated by a childhood formed in part by Disney movies and my beloved “Wind in the Willows.”

Filling that little box was my masterwork. I was incredibly proud of it. Flipping through it one day, I decided: This was it. This is what I was going to be when I grew up. (A pretty big decision when you’re in the first grade.)

I was going to be an artist. 

Oh, OK, I’d be a writer too. I did like telling stories about my pictures. I would draw pictures, and then write stories about them. Or vice versa, maybe.

And I held on to that decision.

My artistic abilities never really matured past those elementary-school drawings, and eventually, I backed away from that part of the dream. The love of writing stayed. Then as I headed off the college, an adviser tactfully recommended that it might be a little easier to make a steady living as a newspaper writer instead of a novelist or children’s book author. I listened.

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