Toys and Snow

The children and I just got back from a snowday-fieldtrip to the toy store. The perfectly Asheville toy store. Dancing Bear Toys. An excellent establishment. High shelves stocked full of t-o-y-s. Pure frivolity at its American best as it leaves out the worst on the U.S. toy frontier.

This little store is lacking the overt violence that I feel in big-box toy aisles – or worse, big box toy stores with insultingly poor grammar as key to their names. (Yes, I sometimes am less than grammatically precise. (On manymanymany occasions…) but I don’t strive to be the object of intense toy lust or the bastion of American Childhood Consumerism.)

It is a no-brainer that toys not only reflect culture, create it in a self-sustaining symbiotic loop. What is so mysterious to me is why we are so passive in the face of such a total rip-off of the American childhood. Corporations are plastering our kids’ rooms with total pablum and we are paying them to do this!

Note that children don’t even play with these silly toys that penetrate child media culture. The toys they love – truly love – are the toys that are interesting and engaging. Toys that only do something if the child makes them do something…and not by doing some lame thing like just pushing a button.

Still though their rooms are crowded with figures and images – Made In China – and they are validated as belonging by these cheap and violent accoutrements.

Seriously, corporate toys and their marketing should be considered almost abusive…I need to write more about this. However, it is such a huge, mind-blowing issue that I need time to think about it more.

In the meantime, I have been drawing men and cats.
Cats are easy; men? Not so much. I haven’t been exactly burning up with the passion to draw lately. In fact, I am only half-awake at almost any given time. I think my brain has been trying to learn how to be asleep while “awake” – a viable autopilot for the tail-end of the neverending winter. When I don’t feel like drawing, I draw anyway. Things I need to practice on, things that are a challenge.

(The building manager saw me drawing the other day and commented that a perfect circle is hard to draw. I’ll be practicing that soon.)

I saw the snow start this morning. The first blanket of orange-glow flakes falling down onto the dry, bare street. It hasn’t stopped snowing since just before 5am. No wonder I am only half-awake.

I seem to be getting more compulsive in my early wakefulness. I don’t want to miss those hours when I am almost the only person awake. I happily fall asleep before 9:30 most nights…not remotely sad that I’m not out dancing.


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