Julien is becoming more aware of the camera. When it’s just the phone camera, it’s no big deal—he’s goes about doing whatever he’s doing. But this afternoon, when I took out my good camera and took off the lens cap, he came right up to me. He then started making these funny faces, widening his eyes in a way that reminded me of an early sequence of Peanuts comic strips in which Linus declared he wanted to become a “fanatic” when he grew up—in particular, “a wild-eyed fanatic.” Somehow, with me being his dad, it’s not hard to imagine Julien’s excellence at doing the wild-eyed thing. I was, of course, impressed, but what I wanted was a more natural expression that would show a combination of enthusiasm, joy, and confidence. Finally, I got him to tone down the wild-eyed expressions to get this photograph. It’s not always easy to get him to cooperate. As his first evaluation from his new school noted, he’s often impatient and has a tendency “to reject rules.” This will serve him well later in life should he choose one of several career paths, none of which will pay well. Of course, we’re not raising either him or Maggie to think in terms of money. We’re raising them to think in terms of truth and art—and, more often than not, truth and art will break some rules along the way as part of the process of coming into being. It can take some time, but eventually they emerge, surrounded by a million broken rules and the sort of beauty that—no matter how hard the corporate goons and corporate ass kissers try—can never be expressed in numbers.
Photograph by Jose Padua