Silly Snoke


One of the many things I like about hanging out with my two grandsons is that I get to play. We are so serious as adults that we forget how silliness contributes to our wellbeing. The physical part of play requires a certain amount of stamina (and provides good incentive for staying in shape). The mental part—imagination—keeps my mind stretching in delightful ways. The older grandson just turned four, and he loves ridiculous songs, outrageous stories, and drawings of unlikely creatures, so I get to improvise tunes and rhymes, tell stories from spontaneous cues, and draw whatever happens to be on his (or my) mind when the crayons come out (and he doesn’t care how “good” any of it is, as long as we’re having fun). This is how the snoke was born. On our last visit, we were talking about animals and their habitats. Suddenly paper and crayons were on the table, and I was drawing what he described. Our creature, the snoke, was red with yellow spots, he lived in the rain forest, climbed trees, and his name was Patrya. The result of our brainstorming was a rough sketch, but it was all I needed to get my own imagination firing away. When I came home I continued to play (having just come out of preparations for my show at Linden, a bit of the absurd was just what I needed). I wrote a poem story then decided to make drawings, and the next thing I knew I was printing a book. I completed it just in time for my grandson's birthday. His mind has moved on to other topics (the extinction of dinosaurs is a big concern at the moment), but he was enchanted by a book about his very own snoke. It won’t win any Caldecotts, but I’m thrilled to have shaken out a few cobwebs and extended my range into the territory of the snoke.