When it comes to breakfast cereal, our prompt for today, I immediately thought back to childhood and those sugar-filled boxes in the cereal aisle at the grocery store. I loved them more for the prize inside than I did the actual cereal itself most of the time. I would often opt for some chalky chocolaty puffs of some kind that I didn’t really care for just to get at whatever prize was waiting for me there. My mother would just roll her eyes at many of my choices, knowing that I would pay for them later when I actually had to eat the stuff. In truth, even as a kid, my favorite cereal was Corn Flakes, but it rarely ever came with a cool prize. It was just a simple basic cereal. Rather than a cartoon animal mascot, it simply had a stylized graphic of a rooster on the box. At my grandmother’s house it was the only cereal ever offered, and I used to love it most with a banana sliced on top. Looking back, I think having a simple breakfast I actually adored was the real prize inside.
Throughout life, I’ve often been attracted to fun and shiny things. Little trinkets or toys that I thought were cool so I just had to have them. Now, I have a shelf full of random crap that looks a bit like the end of the toy aisle at Target exploded onto some books. It started as a lovely well-curated little display of books and souvenirs, but rapidly expanded into a hoarder’s heyday. I’ve often thought about removing some of it so it could return to its original catalog look, but then I stop myself. The look is precisely me. A crazy mix of impulses that don’t always add up as one might expect. Perhaps it’s just a way to justify clutter, but I love seeing all the crazy little things that held my eye at one time clustered together. It’s like having a wall-sized scrapbook that you don’t even have to go through the effort of even turning a page in order to enjoy. Or, perhaps it’s because I no longer have those little cereal box trinkets that I enjoyed as a kid. Some little longing that makes me want to bring them back into my life.
But when I look closer at my little collection of stuff, I see another trend. It’s all the most impossibly simple and silly things in life. No real treasure that anyone would ever want to steal. Just little personal treasures that I’ve collected during my time here. Each one carries a meaning that I can’t always explain. A prize of some kind that I felt like I won while enjoying a moment too simple to ever be remembered entirely on its own. These little avatars provide the trigger that I need to remind myself that no matter what happens, life is just sort of wonderful and amazing. I’m about to turn a year older on Friday, and I ended up asking Philippe for no gifts at all. I know, instead, he’ll come up with something small, random and wonderful that will find its place in this menagerie of memories I collect. Another piece of ephemera that carries more meaning than anything that costs a lot of money. Like my little sketchbook and a handful of precious watercolors where I can continue to build my simple little collection each and every day. Another one shown here in just three of my favorite colors, capturing a piece of a fleeting memory, with bananas on top.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. (To Learn More About This Da Vinci Trio, click here!) Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia 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!