“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan



My sister-in-law sent me this think test. It's one of those internet things that people send you & it usually drives you crazy because you find out how little you know or how little attention you pay to things, but surprisingly I scored very high! It tests your power of observation, and I scored 19 out of 25 - I would have scored 20 except that there's a trick question.

It reminded me of a creative writing class I took back in the 9th grade. For our very first assignment, the teacher walked us all out of the classroom, marched us through the school's patio area, around the exterior, through a few halls and back, then sat us down & had us answer questions about what we'd seen. Needless to say, we hadn't really seen anything. (In our defense, this was the 9th grade & we were way more interested in checking out each other & trying to look cool.)

Later, when I was studying photography with the usually-packing-heat-but-still-loves-babies Robert, he had an "experiment" he would have the students try. At the front of the room, he'd put 2 boxes, each containing the same Tinkertoys, except that in one box the Tinkertoys were assembled into some crazy shape, and in the other they were loose. He'd then send a couple of people up to the boxes - one for each box - & have the person positioned next to the box with the assembled piece describe to the 2nd person how to assemble his/her pieces to match that assembled piece. The boxes were separated by a "screen" tall enough to keep their contents hidden from the other person. It was hilarious, but it was also very revealing about how hard it is to just describe things you see. It makes you really have to look at those things & think about them. Like drawing - drawing is all about seeing what you really see, which is hard. You have to get rid of all those preconceived notions about what you think you're seeing - any of you who have had a drawing class will know exactly what I mean.

So I decided today to give myself an assignment - to change my route to work each morning & see what I haven't been seeing. This morning it was a pink chair with sticks or poles or something "growing" from the seat - sticking into the air at least 3 or 4 feet, and you know how I have a thing for chairs. I feel a painting coming on. A not-blue one.


  1. Now you're making me want to paint your chair. Pink and with poles sticking out? Amazing.

    I really enjoyed this post. The UPHBSLB Robert sounds clever. And now we know why he packs that heat. Frustrated students might become violent while doing his tinker toy assignment.

  2. I gotta get up the nerve to walk into the yard where the chair sits (it - the yard - looks kinda scary, to be honest!)& take a photo. It's REALLY strange!


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