Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Budding Writer

I don't know whether you're going to love or hate me after this blog post, but I'm taking a risk showing you guys this and I hope you'll be gentle.

I've always enjoyed the act of creation in multiple media, whether the written word, fine art, baking, or a massively imaginative world of terrific anxiety where everything goes terribly wrong and I wind up spending hours staring at WebMD or some related resource wondering if one of my pupils is larger than the other.


I love writing this blog.  I love writing, I love sharing, and I love that many of you love it.  I'm starting to get asked questions by people I don't know about my inspiration for each weekly topic, or "have I always been a writer", things like that.  It's very flattering and humbling to receive your encouraging words and questions.  If you've wondered from whence my inspiration springs, I'll show you in this very entry.

Lucky you, because I'm moving I have found all kinds of things stuffed around this place.  I'm doing that KonMari method of tidying up and it's changing my life.  It also put me into close contact with things I completely forgot I had, such as manuals to electrical equipment I've never owned and really blurry photos of landscapes with my 8th grade hand-writing on it with profoundly written captions such as "Liquid Grace" (hint: it's a picture of a waterfall.  Brilliant.).

But then I found a treasure trove of my earliest prose.  I read each piece, mesmerized by how little I've changed in both how I write, and how I choose the topic.  It was a very enlightening experience which has led me to a very important conclusion that I feel must be immediately published in this format so that you all know me a little better.  I've tried framing this conclusive thought into a declarative sentence, but it stubbornly remains only a question.  After toiling over it, re-phrasing it, and pondering its significance in my life and how it reaches my amazing audience via this blog, I've decided to share it with you in its unpolished - but finished- glory:

Was I, at any point in life, dropped on my head?

I'll let you be the judge now, as we take a trip back in time to the first work I'm sharing with all of you: My Official Autobiography.  (Note: all captions are sic and also I was like 7 when I wrote this, so...)

"MY LIFE by; Catherine Rust.  Chapter 1  The Hospital
In 1984 I was born.  I can't quite rember every thing.
I was very big.  My mom couldn't beilve how big I was."
We open with this compelling scene.  Not only are we moved by the actual occasion of my birth, but I very artistically mention using brilliant literary devices that my memory is so good, I remembered some (but not all) of my birth.  I clearly didn't want the reader to feel separated from me by jealousy of my tremendous, congenital intellectual capacity, so I went the humble route by suggesting that, by seven years old, I'd forgotten some of the events in my first hours.  

I'd also like to point out that I illustrated this volume. I think I really captured my mother's exhaustion in her eyes.

"I looked funny when the nurse held me.  She was nice.  She gave me a bath.
then gave me to my mom.
I'll name her Catherine! Her nick names will be Cat, Kitty, and Kitten.
No Cathy! I don't think she'll like that.' said my mom Sandra Ann VanGilder.
I had thick hair!"

This is a pretty self-explanatory page. You now know all of my nicknames.  You are aware of my masterful rhetoric as I weave compelling dialogue with blunt physical descriptions.  The only questions I have my for myself involve the illustration here, including if that nurse ever learned how to hold a newborn baby.  I do approve of the very chic claw-footed bathtub I'm sure was standard issue in hospitals at the time.

"Splash! Splash! Splash!
I was having so much fun!
Then the bad part, my shot!
The nurse got it ready.
'Ouch!' said my mom.
Points to note: see how, even though I was hours old, I could sit up on my own? A sign of a genius, if you ask me.

Also, CAN WE JUST TAKE A MOMENT TO SHUDDER IN HORROR AT THE SIZE OF THE SHOT.  What in my little brain inspired me to draw a 100cc syringe attached to like what, a 2 gauge needle?  I actually remember drawing this, because I had no clue where nurses got the stuff that goes IN the shot, so I came up with the best medical contraption I could.  Note its sleek and modern design.  It's apparently also powered by electricity, unless those curly cords are just for show.

There is also another shot waiting on the far left, or maybe that's a shish kebab for later.

"My dad came.  His name is David Anothony Rust.  He went to work to tell
people the good news.  He asked for a pair of shoes that said Kristine!
He showed them to my mom.  She said, 'Dave! This is Cathereine! Not Kristine!'
'Oh man!' said my dad and went back.
The plot thickens.  I merely graze over what was a major moment of marital tension; my dad spacing out on my name.  True story.  He ordered a pair of personalized shoes for me that said "Christine", brought them to the hospital only to realize the mistake.  After further inquiry, all parties involved could not argue with evidence presented by the company who made the shoes: an order form with "Christine" written in my dad's characteristic handwriting.

At this point in the story, our hero is now sitting up on the floor and my mom is in some kind of bed that defies the laws of physics.  It was a pretty fancy hospital. Check out the hot pink sheets!

"Chapter 2  The Car
'Time to go!' said my mom.  'We don't have a car seat.'
'I'll get one at Kohls.' said my dad.  And he did."
Ah, the first product placement.  I've avoided that on my blog, because I want this to remain something I do for free and for fun.  But in my younger years, I found it necessary to subtly place my favorite stores and brands in my work.  

I'd also like to retract my notion that my parents were unprepared for my birth.  They did in fact, bring a car seat to the hospital.  The start of this chapter insinuating otherwise was merely my artistic decision to alter the facts in order to make a more compelling story: Child genius defies odds in spite of parents not remembering her name and not having the appropriate safety gear for the car.  

To any team members at Kohls: feel free to use my window display design of car seats as depicted in the above image.

'Ah! Here is one!' said my dad.
And went to the hospital.
'Time to go home Catherine' said the nurse and we got in the car.
This is where my illustrations start to change.  This always happened when I wrote AND illustrated my own work: a gradual evolution from illustration to what I can only describe as abstract art.  Notice I've only drawn my mother here, with an empty car (in a different color than the car in the last photo, which I believe was meant to show my dad also got a paint job on his way back from Kohls), and an American flag.  This is true patriotic pride, a common theme in my earliest work.  Also, it was one of the only things I felt I could draw well.

" 'Here we are!' said My dad.
'Wow!' I thought.
'Here's the krib!' said my dad. 'I got it at Kohl's as well.'
It was a small apartment with only one bedroom."
Physics laws be damned, I was living in some kind of gravity-free apartment.  In this illustration, I wanted to show my grasp of Swedish design concepts; note the complimentary colors, bold pattern and the rocking base (very, very safe I assure you) in its free-floating form by the window.

" 'ZZZZZZ' said I.
So my mom put me to sleep."
My mother at this point has worn three different color dresses in the last three consecutive drawings.  This must've been very intentional, although I'm embarrassed to admit now that the deeper meaning of this imagery is lost to me.  I have managed to keep both the crib and window dressings consistent. 

"When I was one month old, My mom had dressed me
up so pretty.  Then my dad came home.  All of a sudden
you hear this wooosh! I got gone poo all over the place."
Not only have my drawings started to decline, but now the content is questionable.   This is (sadly) a true story.  I am, however, impressed at the action scene of poo flying out of my dress.

"When I was 8 months old My mom hired a
nanny named Robin.  She is very nice."
At this point, I'm definitely losing interest in my subject.  I should've stopped for the day, rested my tired mind, and come back with fresh creativity later.  But I didn't, and I'll have to live with that.  For now, we can appreciate the very fancy couch in the background (which we didn't actually have).  I'm unsure of what program is playing on the TV.

"We did things together.  We read books,
pluzzles, and other things.
At 6:00pm, Mom would come home."
Now I really don't give a %&#*.  This is either my mom coming home from work, having lost not just her face, but her hair, hands, and legs.  She did have an important job at a very large bank, so it's possible that this drawing is not actually a lack of interest, but a commentary on the woes of the modern day workplace.  We lose ourselves in our work.  We come home as an apparition in horrendous clothing, a shell of our former selves (the former self that wore three different dresses in the span of a few minutes).

"Chapter 3 Older
Years went by.  We moved into another house.
I was three years old."
What happened in those formative years I apparently didn't feel was worth recording.  I'd already gone into enough detail about Kohls purchases and shots.  Where this tale began with great intention, it slides quickly downward into this image: me, a 3 year old, on a fancy couch with no legs.  Look at how sad I am.  Is that because I'm disappointed in myself for not fully committing to this creative project?  Am I pondering the passage of time, and how quickly it elapses?  Or is it simply that my neck is at such an impossible angle that I've internally decapitated myself, and/or signed up for years of chiropractic treatment down the road?

The second to last page of my autobiography.
Wow.  Look at this hulking man.  There is no need to end the story of my life (to date at 7 years old) with a "the end".  Because there was (and hopefully is) so much life left to live.  I made the creative decision to draw this cave man, with large muscles.  Yes, I understand the scientific inaccuracy of a tyrannosaurus rex hovering over him (but please note the sad expression).  What I'm most concerned about is whatever it was I was trying to draw by the caveman's right (our left) leg.  Also, please enjoy a list of names randomly placed in between these two characters.

The last page of my autobiography.  The clock.  The words.  Profound.

That's all for now, folks.  I've got plenty more where that came from, so stay tuned.  Also, I'm sorry.


  1. Oh my God honey! You had me in stitches with tears literally rolling down my cheeks. I love you and your humor. You were a brilliant artist and author even at age 7. :)