Chalk Dust…

Earlier this afternoon, as I was procrastinating as usual, I put the finishing touches on another one of my comics.  As I made the last few adjustments, the last few marks of shading, I noticed something out of place on the back of my hand.  Even though I was using a pen, I had somehow managed to blot the majority of my fingers with blotches of ink.  Laughing to myself, I thought back to the time not so long again when I first started to draw.  The pencil was my utensil of choice back then, as I would create scenes and cartoons in a little composition notebook.   Even back then, just like the case was now, I would usually end up with graphite dust all over the underside of my palms.  Dust picked up from moving back and forth across the paper.  That got me thinking of another type of dust from a far earlier memory.

When I was in 4th grade, the middle school I attended was set to be demolished in a few years.  So even though projectors and whiteboards made their way into the high school, chalkboards reigned supreme in the middle school.  One particular teacher adamantly made good use of his chalkboard in his daily activities. Even though I wasn’t lucky enough to be enrolled in his class, I always noticed that his hands were completely covered with chalk dust by the end of the day.  Even back then I knew that the symbol meant something, but my young mind at the time couldn’t even imagine how he could eat lunch with so much chalk on his hands.

Today, when I think of a teacher’s chalk covered hands, or a painter’s multicolored features, or even a mechanic’s greased fingernails, something sparks.  I see their hands and I know that they’ve the spent day creating something, building something, making something work and it shows with what’s left on their hands.  I thought to myself about all the hard work that went into the creative and inspirational pieces that those hands had created.  I made the connection while I sat in the library this afternoon: that dirty hands meant you’ve worked hard for what you’ve accomplished.  I laughed a little to myself as I stared at my own hands.  Even though my hands weren’t all that dirty, If creating and imagining for the rest of my life meant I had get my hands dirty, I couldn’t imagine anything better.

~Kurtis the Red

(The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty)

Quote from ‘Dirt Poster’ – Designed by  Roland Reiner Riangco


4 thoughts on “Chalk Dust…

  1. Pingback: the Infinite Monkey speaks: what’s left on their hands | steadily skipping stones

  2. A lot of blue collar workers come in to the store where I work every day. When I’m on register, I see A LOT of hands, and I can relate to what you’ve written so well. When I take money from what seems to be a permanently stained hand – dark, work-stained skin, deep black creases, black ringed fingernails – I can’t help but think that this is a person who works hard for their money. They work to provide food, clothing, shelter and comfort for their families. “I see their hands and I know that they’ve the spent day creating something, building something, making something work…” Indeed.

    • Thanks, I’m not much of creative writer, so your words of understanding meant I did something right. Most of my writing includes dialog between two characters or severely derailing one liners. But sometimes something just clicks like it did here. A lot of inspiration for this was drawn mostly from my father. His hands are almost never clean 😛 . Glad you liked it.

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