Funny. Most days, he presented a false face. He smiled when he wanted to frown. He laughed when he really wanted to lash out. Laughing was better accepted by others than lashing out. He folded up his words, tucking them away, hidden, like an erotic photograph that shouldn't be seen by just any ole' body.
When he was a child, words seemed to get a little brotha into trouble. Expressing his thoughts were dangerous. "Children speak when spoken to," G------ always said. Speaking the wrong words might have earned him a smack straight in the mouth. Bad words, "talkin' back", even defending your honor (yes, 5-year-old boys do have honor to defend), might have earned him not only a smack, but the knife. A six-inch wide butcher's knife, and a cutting board were the chosen tools to scare a boy into using just the right words. G------ would pull out that knife in no less than a New York minute. "Come here, boy, I'm cutting off your tongue," G------ would say, brandish her weapon like Luke Skywalker challenging the forces of evil. Now, don't misunderstand, he loved G------ then. He cherishes her memory today. She meant well. The best of intentions were behind her old school tactics. But she tamed him. Tamed that little boy when little boys don't need to be tamed. They need to be trained. Trained in love.
So, why is he so shy? they always asked. Why is he quiet? Why doesn't he express himself the way other people do? Because tame is how they wanted him to be. Tame was accectable. And since he yearned for acceptance, he succumbed. He learn to express himself though. He had to or he might burst. He expressed himself safely through art.
Now he is grown, and still has difficulty expressing himself with words. As a public figure, an illustrator of children's books, words again seem to get him in trouble. So, he's back to old business. Using art to express himself, and smiling on que when he's expected to smile. But on a separate blog, he could remain anomymous, and express himself how he dog-on pleases. He'll be pondering that further while on vacation.
Very related thought for the day: No, G------ is not Mz. Gig.