When I was a child, I used to spend my summers with my maternal grandparents in North Carolina. They lived 40 minutes outside of Raleigh-Durham, in a rural area on four acres of land. If there’s one thing I know about southern heat, it breeds all kinds of creatures that aren’t frequently seen, let alone thought about here in the North.
Without much to do, I often spent my days just wandering around outside the house chasing flies and poking at frogs and lizards. There was always a line of white stuff along the base of the house that I later found out was lime powder, something that was suppose to keep pests out of the house, more specifically, snakes, yet it was later discovered that it was also the reason why my grandmother lost her sense of smell. Apparently this power wasn’t too effective because every now and then I would hear a shrilling scream rip through the house and find my grandmother bolting for her shotgun. Her sudden fit of terror was always due to there being a snake on the back porch. Unfortunately I never actually got to see one, my grandmother was adamant about keeping me back yet somehow this slithering creature ended up being the thing that made me timid about being outside. It’s interesting how in the absence of your own experiences, another person’s fears can end up being your own.
“Chiroptera” by Q. Rumbley
In the spirit of Halloween here is the first completed drawing of my three piece art card series inspired by using art as a way to work through childhood fears induced by those scary little creatures that still give us the willies in our adult lives. “Chiroptera” is the scientific name for those little winged nocturnal creatures we call bats. I have to say after working on this I’m not that scared of them anymore. They’re actually quite adorable…well, at least the baby furry ones are. 😊
Something a little cute from my sketchbook. The look in this little creatures eyes reminds of the time when I moved to a new neighborhood, watching other kids playing from my window, wanting to go outside but was a bit shy. Inside I felt torn, one side wanting to make new friends, the other wanting to crawl back under my blankets and daydream. Luckily the following weekend I finally got the nerve and made some new friends but ’til this day a part of my still begs “Please, don’t make me go out there.”
How did I come to have a fear of bats? Well it happened one evening at dusk. I was sitting on the porch with a few friends laughing and joking around as typical teenagers do. At first no one was really paying much attention to the small winged creature flying in erratic circles above. I had only given it a glance and assumed it was a bird when a friend of mine said “Hey, is that a bat?” When I went to look at it again it disappeared over the roof and I gave it no further thought.
“That is a bat.” she proclaimed as all four us quickly turned our attention to the sky. It had reappeared and this time it was circling lower. My two other friends gradually started to move away from the porch.
“Girl, I don’t know. That thing looks like it’s trying to get closer.” she spoke in a hushed tone. She and I were still sitting on the porch while the other two were steadily backing away. All was quiet as we watched the bat flying erratically above us. Suddenly in one full swoop it dipped down to our level. We ducked and scattered like ants in a fit screams and hollering. I lost my footing trying to jump off the porch and fell into some nearby bushes. My friends took off down the street. I laid there in the bushes for a moment, watching and waiting. I could hear my friends yell “Girl, we’ll see you tomorrow.” as they made their way home. I had decided I was gonna make a run for it to get in my house. The bat had dipped a third time over the porch now. As it went high again, I strung from the bushes, this time with sure footing, hopped over the steps, on to the porch and fell through the front door. Kicking it shut I laid there on the living room floor catching my breath. My father, sitting on the couch with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other yelled “Y’all stop making all that noise!”
…I ain’t like bats ever since.
“Peacock” by Q. Rumbley
I have to say I’m glad to be done with this piece. Usually I feel this tinge of sadness when I finish a drawing but this time I’m glad and relieved. I started it in October of last year, worked on it a few weeks, shelved it for almost a year and now I’ve completed it. For a moment there I wondered if I would make it or if my interest would fade before I could finish. I don’t intend on making that a habit in my process. Next time I’m going to try to finish no matter what it takes.
I’m still working on trying to get prints of this but in the meantime I can move on to my mini art card series “Little Fears” that I mentioned a couple of posts back.