I can’t draw. I never could. Not at all. Even my stick figures appear to be afflicted by scoliosis. My earliest memory of a creative endeavor came at my father’s suggestion. I was three, maybe four, and my older brother could draw, and I was none too generous in the wake of this brotherly one-upsmanship (read: tantrum). So my dad said, “You know, boys. We could build a kite.” If I could translate my four-year-old thoughts into my forty-one-year-old language, I would say that what went through my mind was something to the tune of, “Don’t bullshit me, Pop.” But he was right, as he so often was. We collected dowels, newspaper, paper grocery bags, glue, string, ribbon, some Little Debbie treats (mandatory brain food of the 70s), and we went to work. And we folded, and we glued, and we cut, and we tied, and after several hours, we had an elaborate, fragile, beautiful box kite. Outside, on the first launch, I held the string taut and my brother flung the thing skyward. It rose. God, how it rose. It flew! And then, five seconds into the maiden flight, a sudden gust of wind ripped the thing asunder, sending little ticker-tape strips of paper flying around the neighborhood. But it didn’t matter at that point. We had made it. We had made it and it had flown.
-Bruce Machart: Author of The Wake of Forgiveness and a new book of short stories, Men in the Making
This was originally published in July, and is now being republished as a single response.