A Trip to Heaven on a Carpet of Newsprint

A Big Life: Encouraging Words for Those in the Entertainment Industry –

Karen and Katie on Tobogan ligher

My sis Karen and I, ages 6 & 4 on a toboggan Dad built. Photo by Sam Bennett.

When I was a little girl in Klamath Falls, Oregon, my mother used to go down to the Herald and News and get us a free remnant of blank newsprint.  My sister and I would get out our crayons and lie down on the floor to make paper dolls and comic book stories.  I was 6 and she was 4.

The newsprint came on a roll and was the color of turned cream. We hated that—we wanted white. Also, the paper was flimsy.  But there were yards of it.  Mistakes didn’t matter. We would send the roll halfway across the floor of the rec room, not even bothering to cut (too hard) or rip (too messy).  When we got bored with one picture we would move over and start another across the long narrow carpet of paper.   I remember long hours on that floor, dreamily creating masterpieces without worrying about whether anything would ever end up in a frame.

There is a story by C.S. Lewis about some people in Hell who go on a bus ride to Heaven.  One of them had been a famous artist on earth. When he arrives, he stays on the outskirts and refuses to enter.  All he wants to do is paint the light–not for its own sake, but for the notoriety the painting would bring.  The Spirit who meets him says, “No. You’re forgetting. That was not how you began. Light itself was your first love: you loved to paint only as a means of telling about light.”

SAMSUNG

An old roll of newsprint unearthed from my grandmother’s closet

When we were little, we all loved to play. Some of us grew up and decided to make professions of this playing and become painters, dancers or musicians. Those led to the quest for dignity, fame or money.  There is nothing wrong with dignity, fame or money, but they have nothing to do with sitting down and creating art.

We mustn’t forget that.

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