“Paper is the air I breathe.”

September 25, 2013

Notable Stats

Art Regurgitation Concentration (ARC) – The amount of time you spend picking up “art” from your living space in a given day measured in square feet, divided by the square feet of your space. Anything over 10% is a problem.

Paper Recycling Balance Point (PRBP) – The ironic see-saw battle between having good recycling practices and the fact that your child who lectures you about it, creates a ridiculous amount of paper to recycle from his artistic prowess.

You never want to shoot your child down for his or her efforts in expressing artistic “genius.” Art, after all, is subjective and everyone is an artist in some form. You want to support the effort, promote the idea that art is inside of everyone. That there is no wrong answer in art.

However, that does not mean you are required to save it all.

Our son is prolific. He loves to be spontaneous and paint and slash red lines on paper like he is wielding a samurai sword. If he is without oversight, a ream of paper will be gone in 10 minutes. Apparently, he cannot draw his replica of a snowman guard all on one piece of paper. He must have the guard’s arm on one page, leg on another, then eventually 30 pages later, the guard’s pet dog, Rollo. (Rollo’s leash is a solid 10 pages later on page 48). Then five rolls of scotch tape and a page of stickers is used to fuse it all together.

Where are we located during this time of resource attrition, you ask? Fair question. We are mostly chasing him around the house. Amazingly, he can be unseen and unheard just long enough for another roll of tape to disappear. Of course, since most parenting books are geared towards having one child, no one can explain how to keep a child with artistic diarrhea from over-creating in your home. That is, when you have to tend to two other children.
So as a result of his outbursts of wrist rolling fervor, our floors get covered with paper along with the tools he uses to create such magic. By midday, we need a shovel to help rid our kitchen of paper. Sure, he needs to learn the lesson of cleaning up his own space, but even I have to sympathize with him given he would need a dump truck to get the job done and he is 12 years away from driving.

This is a time when you must reflect on your childhood. The time when you were 8 and creating art at a frenetic pace. Then in adulthood, a chill goes down your spine. You recall the offense you took when you were taking out the garbage one evening and saw your watercolor gerbil statue mysteriously sticking out of the can. Well, I am no longer offended. I now understand that they may have been doing us all a favor by tossing it. To drown in art would be an ironic way to leave this Earth. It also may have saved me the pain of thinking watercolor gerbil art is the next frontier.

In the meantime, if we can’t slow our son down, we may have to put in some sort of alarm system. Rationing paper and his tools seems to have worked a little bit, but to his credit, he works around these limitations by allowing his creative juices to embrace everything as a potential tool. No tape? Use stamps. No scissors? Use a steak knife. No paper? Just write on the wall. No one to see the finished product? Drop it in the mailbox with no stamp or address on it. It will get there anyway.

I appreciate the resourceful will of our son. Now we must channel it for the sake of the environment. He is now required to sketch out his ideas and then bounce it off a grown person before taking it into action. Blueprint before construction. It is a good idea, although it probably just means more paper.

- Doug Glanville

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