A Desk Full of Magic and the Power of Art

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November 22, 2016 by Ray Yanek

Originally this post was simply to share some fascinating and ingenious works of street art, that the artists had managed to fuse with the natural surrounding.   Humans mixing their artistic skill with that of God’s if you wish to look at it that way.

But then I came across this piece:


By: David Zinn

A tiny mouse, leaning  out of a cozy window hidden in the curb, watering a tiny sprout of weed. Cute, right?  Yeah, but this little mouse knocked me on my ass.

Out of nowhere emotions boiled up from deep within me, emotions that for years would pop in and out when I thought about disappearing into a book or vanishing into a story I was writing.  The emotion would flash in like a basketball player through the lane, but then quickly evacuate the space before I could grasp its nature. That emotion stuck with me this time though and with it came a flood of memories.

It made me think of the desk in my first-grade classroom.  That desk had a flip top that slanted down towards the attached chair just enough so that if your pencil wasn’t in the indention at the top, it would roll down into your lap.  Little pegs were attached to the underside of the desktop that you could flip to provide a level writing surface.  You had to be careful not to knock into it to hard or you would risk pinching your fingers.

I loved that desk because I found that it had so many uses that I’m sure the manufacturer didn’t intend.  I would adjust the books and folder and pencil bags inside so that they would form little tunnel and halls.  Then I would sneak whatever action figures I was fond of at the time into my backpack and then into the desk.  For some reason I remember the DC superheroes, Batman and Aquaman specifically. Batman had a cape that was some sort of rubber, thick and attached permanently to the his shoulders, not like the flimsy plastic ones they would put on the original Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader figures and that would rip at the arm holes.

On some days, my desk became the Bat Cave with the stacked books transforming into computers or other gauges and gadgets.  On others, Aquaman’s underwater domain. Some days it was a space station, orbiting the Earth.

And I was the only one who knew the truth of what was going on inside my desk. I guarded that secret fiercely.  I never even told my friends.  Perhaps it made me feel special to believe that I was the only one who had been entrusted with the knowledge of those other worlds, that I was the only one who knew that it wasn’t really a desk, but a cover for a super-secret lair.

And I suppose this is the function of art isn’t it?  It could be high-minded and filled with universal truths and depths and layers of meaning. But sometimes, its enough when it reminds us of those times when our imaginations allowed us to be artists as well, when the Creative would poke his head out of cozy windows to water tiny weeds in the real world and make them magical.

Happy Thanksgiving!





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