Monday, May 19, 2008

secret suburb


Last weekend I visited my family in central massachusetts and had an odd experience. After getting back from eating sushi one night with my parents, I decided to walk around my little suburb as it got dark. This is always interesting because somehow it seems creepy to be out in the suburbs when it's getting to be nighttime. It's very quiet, just a bunch of sleepy houses with their little worlds all happening next door to each other. I walked up the street (my street is called Hundreds Rd, and our house is #1...I always took a lot of pride in how confusing my address was), and at the top of the hill I noticed a little wooden fence that marked a path in between two houses. I have totally walked by this spot a thousand times growing up (this is actually the spot where me and my brother would start butt-boarding down our street before we were brave enough to take the hill standing up on our skateboards), but have never gone in. Well, after all this time in California, there's one thing I can say I have truly learned, which is to go in and go deep...sooo, I stepped the fence and walked into the woods that pad all the backyards of the houses in my neighborhood. It was so funny to me to be in the woods all of a sudden, just a few steps from the block.

After a little while walking, I saw a clearing ahead. I approached with a curious step, and I came to the end of the path. I walked out of the woods, stepped over a little wooden fence and was on the sidewalk of a street in a suburban neighborhood that I had never seen before and had never even knew existed. It was like in Mario Brothers when you go through a little tunnel, the music changes, and you come out in a parallel world. Just like that. I past from the backyard of one suburb and ended up in the backyard of another, back to back, in full suburban symmetry. I broke on through to the other side, and I made the above drawing of the secret suburb, as all the bizarro houses got sleepy and quiet.

This drawing is actually in a series of drawings that I'm making called "walking drawing." Last time I was in MA I found this amazing old scrap book at a thrift store in Worcester. It was the collection of a woman named Lorraine McGuire's final secretarial projects from her time at the Katherine Gibbs School in Boston, dated 1904. It is a time capsule and I love it. I especially love the scrapbook's paper, it's my favorite drawing paper ever, so I carefully removed and set aside all the secretary projects (addressed envelopes, sales slips, letter heads...lots of amazing type), and now I have a journal that I can bring around with me for when I go for walks and have moments to pause over and make drawing snapshots. Thanks Lorraine, I think of you all the time.
here's a few older ones:

1 comment:

mstarra said...

these are really wonderful!