How to find my story

I did it ... my first drawing. It's so bad that I can't show it, but it is a symbol for my central picture in "The Sketchbook Project". I still don't have the sketchbook itself, but I want to warm up before I'll panic in front of a white sheet of paper. There was a time in my life, when I rather stopped painting and drawing, because I decided to invest all my energy to be a writer ... Now I am living in a time having difficulties to find plots for written stories: everything seems to be too loud, too much fake, sensation, craziness. Where everything get's too fast, perhaps pictures can tell more than words? Find my Sketchbook working report now in the second menu - I want to write it in my bad English, so keep patient, please, if you find mistakes!

The emigrants' possessions were carried in suitcases. It was the only they kept from home. (Photo: LoC, rights free)

I want to tell a story about two families, better: two halves of one family. One part emigrates to the USA in the 1920s - while one brother is staying in Europe. He already had all emigration papers, but his wife suddenly said no. So sisters and brothers lived in two worlds totally different and they communicated in a language, which was mixed up more and more with English. History separated them even more.

It is not only a story about misunderstandings by language. I imagine well a story about faked memories. It happened to me myself: One day I woke up and I knew that all my childhood memories were not true. It happened, when I had do empty my parents' appartement after their death. I found photos of my family in America that I had never seen before.

So there's the story of "Gladstone". I want to give him this name of a Duck (in German he ist Gustav Gans) not only because he was the lucky member of the family, who could really live the American Dream. He was also a portraitist at the Disney studios. And he even looked a little bit like Gladstone or Gustav!

A first generation is born in America. The family worked so hard, was so poor. They couldn't show it to the rest of the family in Europe. So they sent sunday pictures ...
Already when I was a small child, Gladstone played a big role in my life. I never saw a photo of him, but he was something like the bogeyman, the black sheep of the family. My parents used him as a bad example admonishing us for a life full of "properly, orderly work". This man has been an artist, imagine, an artist! It was the worst that could happen to a man - for my mother. Artists were outside the box, non predictible - and they never knew, if they would have enough money. So I was educated never to become an artist. If I didn't want to believe in the old bogeyman, I was told the story, that everbody in this American part of the family had found his place in society. Did you ever hear anything about Gladstone after all this time? No - he vanished in California, we had no address. So it's a proof, he must have failed!

There was an old aunt, who told me another story. She had been in the USA and she knew about Gladstone. He had become a well known artist, he made his luck! Since that time Gladstone was my secret role model, my hidden dream of making arts. I never told my parents about it.

When I later found all these hidden pictures, they told me a very different story of what I had learnt in my childhood. Gladstone was the one, who made perhaps the best of his life of all the family. On one picture he is standing next to his aunt and uncle to say goodbye. There is a big new car, must be the end of 1950s. His aunt has written on this photo, how many miles he has to go to California, where he will "make his luck". Indeed, he made a wonderful work at Disney's, became rich and lived near Los Angeles until his death. And I am terribly sad, that I learnt all this, when it was too late. I will never know, which portraits were painted by him ... he was already dead.

I don't have to tell the real story about my real family. There were so many emigrants working for the American dream. Ice cream and a house were part of it.
I don't tell the real story in my Sketchbook Project. It is a sort of a fictive Gladstone. I am more interested in the way, we change and rewrite our own memories. We even invent memories to a degree, where we feel them as reality. I am interested in what changing memories makes with yourself, with other people, with a family, who can't communicate any more with one another. It is a theme for a time full of fakes ...

I want to change also the directions: from the USA to Europe, from Europe to the USA. Therefore The Sketchbook Project is double interesting for me: As my family once landed in Ellis Island, my sketchbook will land in New York. It's a dream, a sort of painting circles, which can close now, while I am living as a German emigrant in France!

1 Kommentar:

  1. When someone writes an piece of writing he/she keeps the plan of a user in his/her mind
    that how a user can know it. So that's why this paragraph is
    great. Thanks!


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