The monster

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I was really excited as this week started. I picked up some smaller trays for the extra wooden silhouettes, and it felt like my “palette” of people was together.

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I worked on some more of the backgrounds.

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And started throwing people around on them.

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My daughter and I found this great floor mat in a box with a “free” sign, and I was getting excited about starting to mix up some paint again.

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And my friends over at Pagoda Arts who do my laser cutting were back in town, and I was getting files ready to have them engrave silhouettes into panels for me. Exciting! Full speed ahead!

Then my daughter got sick.

Her sickness threw me the kind of surprise party I really hate. It goes something like: Surprise! You can’t get anything done.

Because art-wise, I have learned the hard way before, I just really can’t work when she’s in the house.

And as I’ve said a number of times over the past month or two, I had already cut my schedule down by an hour each day for this school year, a decision I’m still very happy with (and grateful to have) on the mom side of the scales but still a bit challenged by on the me/artist side. So let’s just say this particular surprise party was especially unwelcome.

Speaking of parties, it’s actually also my daughter’s birthday this weekend, and it seems she’s going to be well in time for us not to have to cancel anything, so her illness will pretty much just mean I’m more tired and annoyed than usual. How exciting for everyone.

And then I gave myself some time to watch a documentary this afternoon, and I wound up watching Amanda Knox. Do you remember this case? I remembered some of the basics, but I hadn’t realized the two defendants had been reconvicted and then re-exonerated just last year.

To be brief, the case is one of those where media frenzy (with complete lack of accountability) combines with incompetent police feeling mounting pressure to find a guilty party and lands two innocent people (Amanda Knox and her Italian boyfriend) in prison for years. In this case Italian prison.

That definitely put my couple of sick days into perspective.

I’ll leave it to you if you’re interested in watching or reading more, but I want to share something Amanda Knox said that they used to close the documentary. She obviously had a lot of years to try to come to some understanding of what happened to her and why these witch hunts happen.

I think people love monsters. And so when they get the chance, they want to see them. It’s people projecting their fears. They want the reassurance that they know who the bad people are and it’s not them…and fear makes people crazy.

This struck me as a simple and clear way to describe a phenomenon I think we all have to watch for and that is also perhaps the way we are most often tempted into becoming monsters ourselves.

Watching the way some of the Italian people reacted to this case, I felt amazed that they could be so deluded. Because when it’s made so large and so outside of our own experience, it seems unbelievable. And it’s always terrifying.

But I also think that on a smaller scale, we’re all tempted to similar thinking all the time. And in the current political climate, it feels like an especially good time to remember to be alert for this particular monster. The monster that is us, desperate to know who the bad people are.

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