I am amassing a collection of adult colouring books as well as various colouring implements. Yesterday I realized I hate colouring. In fact, I have always hated colouring. Even as a kid the most fun I had with a box of crayons was the summer we went on a family road trip down to the Okanagan. This was before vehicle air conditioning and definitely before built in videos or smart phones. For entertainment we staked out territory between us three sisters in the backseat, watched the world slide by and coloured. Sometimes we took turns laying on that ledge under the back window where we could work on our tans and our colouring books. This was also before seat belts or SPF 65.
One day it got so hot that, unbeknownst to us, the crayons we had left in a cardboard Velveeta box in the back window ledge melted into a rainbow soup. The next morning as we hit the highway we discovered a hardened rectangular cube of wax and paper.
Mom replaced the crayons at the next stop, but I was mesmerized by the melted ones. I broke them off in big chunks and coloured with those instead, managing to cover the paper in record time with rainbow swirls. Lines were definitely crossed and I liked it.
So why the attraction to adult colouring books? Even as I kept buying them I couldn’t explain it. And then I saw this in a store window and it all came back to me.
I was nine years old and had gone with my mother to visit her friend in town. The friend had a daughter a couple years younger than me. While my mother visited her friend, the daughter took me to her room and showed me her DoodleArt poster. I had never seen one before and was a bit gobsmacked by the whole thing. She then told me I wasn’t allowed to colour on it because it had to be done perfectly. I didn’t argue, though I may have wondered how she was able to tell I was an “outside the lines” sort of person just by looking at me. For the rest of the visit she coloured and I watched with growing resentment and jealousy. Not wanting to do something and being told you can’t do something have very different results on the young psyche. By the end of the visit I coveted that DoodleArt poster with every inch of my being.
I diligently saved my allowance and a few weeks later we went into town and I walked into Kresge’s with my change purse loaded for DoodleArt. I hunted the aisles but to no avail. And then I saw Ranger…only he wasn’t Ranger then. When I saw him he was just a plastic brown and white horse figurine parked on a shelf, but I knew he was going home with me to meet the rest of my resin herd and that his name was Ranger.
I never did get a DoodleArt poster, but now I have five “Adult Colouring books” and finally I know why I was so attracted to them.
I wish I had bought a horse instead.