Monday, January 12, 2009

The Mashed Potato files

You hear a lot about journals these days. You can’t open a mixed media magazine without seeing them: wildly unique books with artist-designed covers where creative people record all their experiences, observations and ideas. Seems everyone is keeping one these days—well… everyone except me. I do keep a “sketchbook” which I don’t consider to be the same thing since I don’t use it to record my thoughts or other insightful musings of self-discovery. Nope. I just sketch in mine and usually with whatever writing implement I have on hand: pen, pencil, crayon, dry-erase marker, eyebrow pencil…whatever.

I’ve also been known to write down phone numbers in my sketchbook when I can’t find a piece of scrap paper. And write notes to my family like the ever profound “gone to the store—be right back”. Between the pages of my sketchbook you’ll also find grocery lists, appointment reminders, flight confirmation numbers & directions to the airport. I think there’s also a page with the brand & style number of my favorite bra---you just never know when you’ll need that information.

My sketchbook doesn’t have a fancy cover made from handmade paper or embellished fabric either--- it’s just a generic black cardboard cover that has multiple ring stains from all the glasses of iced tea that I’ve set on it (makes a great coaster). It doesn’t lie flat anymore from all the additional pages I’ve paper clipped to the inside: various napkins & post-it notes holding sketches & ideas for new projects that I’ve accumulated from time spent in assorted waiting rooms. And at present, about a third of the pages are stuck together from the time I was eating dinner in front of the tv and accidently tipped my plate over on it. Now it just smells like a hot turkey sandwich which is oddly comforting. Btw, mashed potato makes a really good paper glue if you’re ever stuck. (pardon the pun)

In retrospect, I guess even though the pages of my sketchbook don’t contain poetry or imaginative writings or very detailed water-colored drawings, they show my rough sketches and small snippets of my life portrayed in a way that is very me. Seems I always have a crumpled piece of paper sticking out of my pocket and a gravy stain on my shirt. I tend to sacrifice organization for spontaneity and my book certainly reflects that. Years from now, when I take out all my old sketchbooks and start pulling apart those stuck pages, I’m sure I will be reminded of my everyday life and smile.

Especially when I detect the faint scent of a hot turkey sandwich.


  1. Love your little ballet trio, they look so graceful:)

  2. What a wonderful description of your sketchbook.

  3. i just love your description of your sketchpad and all the little extras along the way tucked inside. however did you do the lovely little ballerinas? what i really love - the came alive jumping off the sketch pad. you made them reality. i have some that are still waiting to take a breath.

  4. I'm a bit late but, welcome to blogland! It's good to see you here and I'll look forward to following your journey. Btw, I use the pincushion I received from you in a swap at FAT all the time. I've had lots of comments from friends about it too so thank you for the enjoyment :o)

  5. this is what i'm talking about, debmck! what a beautiful piece, written and visual. amazing. very inspirational. thank you for this. so happy you are blogging it now! ;) loveya!! xoxo

  6. i am thoroughly enjoying your blog so far, debmck! you're setting the bar high - good for you! best of luck! - gretch