Thursday, January 24, 2013
"The Directions Did Not Follow" by Chloe Bee Fusco (Jan. 2013)
When I'm in the basement working on my computer Chloe likes to sit at the coffee table next to me and draw. She likes adding words to her drawings, but she can't really read, so she asks me how to spell them. One night, amongst the many drawings she made, she asked me to spell "directions" and "follow". I didn't know the context.
After she went to bed I cleaned up her mess, as usual. I like to look through her drawings and I save the ones I like. This one really stood out – the bloodshot eye, the sad faces, the title. That title! So dark and profound for a 5 year old girl. It could easily pass for a Radiohead song title. What does it mean? The drawing haunted me the whole next day at work, and I was a little concerned about the sad faces – Chloe's a happy child.
When I got home I asked her what it all meant. I had to read her the title again because she'd forgotten what it said. Her explanation was pretty convoluted, but here's the gist of it… First off, that's not an eyeball, it's a ferris wheel, and "The people are all sad because the line is REALLY long because 'they did not follow the directions'." Ohhh, now I get it! Like a typical 5 year old, who can't read or write, Chloe inverted her words when writing her sentence, totally changing the meaning.
It was a bit of a relief, but for a while there I thought she was the next Emily Dickinson or Sylvia Plath. I'm still a little uneasy over the negativity of the piece but I'm sure it's nothing. After all, did you ever see my childhood drawings? I turned out all right. Kinda.