04 October 2009

'To create ties'

“Who are you?” the little prince asked. “You’re very pretty…”

“I’m a fox.” the fox said.
“Come and play with me,” the little prince proposed. “I’m feeling so sad.”
“I can’t play with you,” the fox said. “I’m not tamed.”

In a master drawing class in the spring of 2009, I was given an assignment. Bring in a quote from a favorite book. Having moved around quite a bit, my library has dwindled to just a couple shelves, mostly filled with gardening and religious books. I thought about an inspired quote from one of the latter, but it just didn’t feel right. Nothing in the gardening section, so I went downstairs to look through the couple boxes filled with my personal stuff. At the bottom of the second box, I found my old copy of ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. Paging through the book brought back fond memories.

Then I saw it….

“I can’t play with you,” the fox said. “I’m not tamed.”

Intrigued, I kept reading.

“…Are you looking for chickens?”
“No.” said the little prince, “I’m looking for friends. What does tamed mean?”
“It’s something that’s been too often neglected. It means ‘to create ties’…”
“’To create ties’?”
“That’s right,” the fox said. “For me you’re only a little boy just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you have no need of me either. For you I’m only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, we’ll need each other. You’ll be the only boy in the world for me. I’ll be the only fox in the world for you…”

So I took that book to the class. I hadn’t found my “favorite” quote, but I had found my favorite passage. More than that, after a group discussion, I realized I had found an overarching, personal theme that has been woven into most of my images.