In the beginning of each new week we publish a story about the week that just passed at the LungA School. It is written from the inside and can be about anything. That’s all. This is the nineth chapter:
I am sitting beside him on a big, blue plastic barrel. I am his assistant. Actually I was supposed to walk around with a hunchback and wear grey and brown clothes, he demanded it, but I forgot all about it, and he has already mentioned it to me.
In front of us eight people sit at tables with papers and pencils in front of them.
– Why is it important to draw, I ask him loud enough for everyone to hear it.
– Because then you have something to do when you are bored, he replies and looks at me as if it is the most well known fact in the world.
– And it is also good because you can draw your own world where you can do everything you want, he adds.
I nod my head and look down at the papers in my hand.
The guy next to me lives just across the street in a blue house. He has blond hair and wears football shoes. He is a kid. A nine-year-old kid. Right know he is facilitating a one-day workshop about drawing monsters for the students of the school.
A minute ago he walked around to every table to give individual advices to the students on how to improve their monsters.
– Maybe try to draw wings and horns, he told just about everyone of them.
We have been at it for about half an hour, doing different drawing exercises, and now it seems as though he is a little bit bored.
Or maybe it is just because of the candy he has eaten until now. I bought some candy on his desire and found four bowls, so each table with students could get a bowl. But then he decided that all four bowls should stand on his table so the students had to walk to him to have a piece. That also means that the liquorice and the M&M’s are within an arm’s length of him.
Earlier in the week him and I had a meeting, where we talked about what we should do during the workshop. It was his workshop and he should decide everything about it.
He said that he wanted them to draw monsters and to make a symbol to put on their drawings instead of initials. He also wanted to have candy and music. And that was about it. The rest of the meeting he spent fifty-fifty between showing me some of his own drawings of monsters and shooting me in the face with foam rubber bullets from his toy gun.
So in fear of the workshop becoming a ten minute long sugar disaster, I sit down the day before – like a real painstaking grown-up – and prepare to make it as perfect as possible. I come up with some different drawing exercises, write them on a piece of paper and then I try to gather a bigger arsenal of arguments of why the students should listen to and learn from a nine-year-old fellow.
My first argument is: just because.
My second argument is: kids are happier than grown-ups.
My third argument is: kids think differently, because they are not ruined yet.
But I don’t really believe that will convince anyone, so I go to Google and search for Picasso quotes.
Somewhere, sometime someone told me that Picasso once said something about kids and drawing. SO I go to the search engine and write:
Picasso + quotes
Dozens of quotes from the bold painter pops up and two of them catch my interest. I write them down and feel like an artistic authority is backing up the idea.
Back in the classroom I am still looking down at those papers. I am looking for the quotes. Oh, there they are:
– “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”, I read out aloud and continue with the next one:
– “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”.
Then I look in the direction of the teacher. He is looking down at the piece of paper he is drawing on while stretching the other arm towards the bowls of candy. He gets fingers around a green M&M and starts to pull it toward his mouth.
– Have you ever heard that before, I ask him.
He looks up, shakes his head and chews the green M&M.
– Okay, I say and ask him if he can remember what we decided to do next.
He ponder for a minute while looking at the ceiling.
– Oh, is it that they can just draw freely for 15 minutes, he asks.
But it is not time to free drawing. Actually we have never talked about giving any time to draw freely. At this point I don’t realize that it is probably because he himself would like to have 15 minutes to do whatever he wants to do, so I give the students a new assignment.
The nine-year-old teacher joins the assignment and starts to draw a leprechaun with a machine gun, but suddenly he knocks over a cup of coffee that floods the leprechaun and colours it brown. When I come back with paper to clean it up he has left the table and is pulling fabric out from the shelves. He wants to make a costume for the following day’s Halloween party.
At this point I realize that he is a kid, that he is just a kid, and no matter how much I prepare, no matter how big my arsenal of arguments is, he will still just be a kid. And kids don’t really care about arguments or perfection or predetermined exercises. Especially not when they have eaten candy for one and a half hour.
– And why should they, I asked myself while looking at him.
He has fund a pair of glasses and placed them on the tip of his nose. He walks to every table, and while looking over the frame he shakes everybody’s hand and says thank you for today. Now he wants to reward the students.
We move all the tables to the side and put eight chairs in a circle. I start the music and people start to walk around the chairs. In a moment I have to stop the music and everyone else have to sit down on a chair as fast as possible, because we are one chair short.
I look at them walking with my finger on the pause button. They are all smiling while moving attentively, just waiting for the music to stop.
I have forgotten everything about the arsenal of arguments and Picasso. Right now there is no need for arguments. I not sure the students learned anything about drawing, and I don’t think it really matters. Because I do know that they had some candy and that they have smiled several times during the workshop. And that is sometimes enough.
Maybe we should all just act a bit more like children more often instead of painstaking grown-ups, I think. Just play and draw monsters with big wings and horns. So we wont get bored, but instead create a world where we can do everything.
Then I press the button, and the music stops.