Today, for our prompt of “Red Tape,” I initially thought of the actual idiom which applies to an excessive adherence to rules and formalities. Anyone who reads my posts on an even semi-regular basis knows I’m not a fan of rules, so my mind wandered elsewhere. Way back in time to the 70’s, when I was just a little kid and 8-track tapes were still around. These are those gigantic tapes that were eventually phased out of retail stores by 1982. I’ve mentioned before that my family got a new car when I very young that was ultra-modern and had a cassette player in it. When asked what I thought of the new car, I responded that I hated it! My mother asked me why and I simply said, “No more Ray Charles.” That soulful 8-track was my favorite. So, today was my opportunity to honor that moment in a sketch. Of course, the red tape on top had to be the more popular music of the time known as disco. My parents were not fans so I don’t think we actually had an 8-track like this, but I secretly loved those songs that would play on the radio. I would happily sing along with I Will Survive, though I had no idea what any of it really meant. But, I grew up rather fearless, so perhaps it affected me after all.
I loved music so much when I was a kid. It was like learning another language and I wanted to learn all I could. It’s not at all surprising that I ended up performing in musicals as I got older. Though, these days, I only sing while riding around in the car. Philippe adores music as well and this is one of the things that connected us in those early years. He would make playlists for me that I would listen to while often crying when returning home from Paris, still wondering what the hell we were doing and how this could ever possibly work out. Music made it all seem possible. Perhaps my drama background made me certain I was starring in my own movie where a happy ending was just around the corner. Yet, I have to adore that feeling as it was the very thing that got me through the toughest moments and made me actually believe the impossible might just happen. That’s a rather amazing thing that I’ve learned in my personal journey. Belief is a powerful source indeed. If you choose to believe something is possible, it really just might happen. Sure, it certainly can’t work for everything, like becoming a millionaire, but it can always work for the things that truly matter.
Those things are small or big for their size like 8-track tapes. They are the little things that bring true joy and remind us of the best bits of life. A song that touches our heart in a way we can’t quite express. There’s just a simple joy of knowing that particular bit of music and words are exactly what we are feeling in that moment. Or perhaps, that song made us feel something more powerful than we were even imagining at the time. Songs are amazing because they’re essentially poetry set to music. A wild and wonderful combination of arts that come together to make the most incredible impact on our hearts. As a young boy, I used to write and sing songs on the piano. I wasn’t amazing, but some of the songs were actually singable and all of them had a message or story. I love my past because it’s equally part of my present. I’ve not become someone new, I’ve just journeyed to another place and time. So when my little self and my current self come together, we always sing the same song. It’s a song that’s at times random and impulsive, but a perfection reflection of the creator. And, it’s also why I’ll suddenly show up to share a thought about 8-track tapes and other memories.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Cobalt Turquoise, Benzimida Orange, Leaf Green, Opus (Vivid Pink), Vermilion, Terra Cotta, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!