Walking Through Camelot

walking through camelot 110901

It’s still terribly hot here in the Camelot neighborhood, and forecasts of cooler temperatures and rain have been steadily warming up and drying out. September in Garland is much like August except school is in full swing, and, to the detriment of students and staff alike, on hot days like these the kids don’t go outside to run and scream for recess. It’s just too toasty.

I can report, in spite of the swelter, that I’ve made some small progress in the Camelot campaign. I’ve knocked on fifteen doors, and talked with ten neighbors. I’m working on the fourth drawing of the series. I mailed my friend Erin’s drawing over to Fort Worth a few days ago, after all the botched attempts to get close to a likeness; when she receives it I’ll post the image.

I knocked on my first door that said, “No Soliciting. Day Sleeper,” in larger-than-ordinary lettering, right there on the door. It was just after 7pm, still light outside but the lowering sun was providing enough shade that we could hop scotch from patch to patch and feel okay. I say “we”: I brought the kids along. Although I didn’t know the “No Soliciting” house was coming up, I felt less creepy and rude having them there with me. I could hear a tv inside the house as I read the warnings on my neighbor’s door, so I went ahead and rang. He was guarded as he opened the door, but the kids and their melting popsicles seemed to put him at ease.

We talked for a few minutes. He said that my request to come sometime and get a photo of him for the drawing was a bit forward of me and that he’d need to see examples of my work and think it over. And he’s right. What I intended to be a win-win for my neighbors–drawing a free picture of them–is also an imposition. Who lets a stranger, whom they’ve just met by answering the door, take a photo of them?

So, it looks like I will be stretching my timeline in this process of meeting, photographing, and drawing neighbors. When I mentioned to some friends in the neighborhood that I probably need to make a brief newsletter about my project and my intentions, they jumped on the idea and said it would be a good occasion for a block party. If someone (myself) is willing to deliver fliers to all the homes in Camelot then we can announce the party and try to ensure that everyone is invited! In fact, two of my neighbors have suggested this, so we’re going to do it, probably in late October when it’s only in the 90s. I’m happy to report that some good for the community has already come out of this project!

Next, I’ll be drafting a short newsletter, explaining my intentions to meet and draw everyone in the neighborhood and make a book about the experience, featuring images of the drawings and some prose about how it all went down. And, we’ll be planning this block party, which is now less than two months away. I’ve never been to a block party before–what fun!

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