Beautiful Boy

Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction
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Published: September 4, 2018
A father writes about his son's addiction.

This is such a heart wrenching book to read. From start to end, even in those pages about the very bad moments when it seems all the love should be drained out and emptied because of the hurt and frustration, David's love for his son shines through on the pages. You read a lot about addiction but people forget that the families of addicts and alcoholics go through a lot too, and I appreciate being able to read such a well-written account of what their family went through together.

The tone of the whole book sounds like a parent thinking aloud. Memories go back and forth. You get the sense that the writer is showing his favorite memories of his son, not the big moments but the small moments that show who he was and is. He also falls into cycles of putting his guilt into words and then rationalizing his actions. I can only imagine the debilitating guilt that parents of addicts feel, and how it's hard to recognize where their shortcomings as parents end and their children's personal choice begins.

The author includes a lot of useful information in understanding the insidious nature of addiction in between recollections of Nic's childhood and his cycles of recovery and relapse.

Overall, there are a few things in the  book that I don't particularly like (such as the excessive rationalization of his parenting) but if I take the book as a whole, I really like  it. It reads like a gift because I can understand how difficult it must have been to write and to share with the world. I think it's beautifully written.

I read Nic Sheff's book Tweak after I finished reading this one, where he writes about his addiction, relapses and recoveries from his point of view. I'll write a separate review for that soon.

Corn.

My husband  bought me a set of compressed charcoal sticks last Sunday. I’ve always been curious about using charcoal and I’ve tried it a few times before but I never really sat down and got into it before. It’s quite challenging but fun. I enjoyed doing this corn a lot because I learned from it. I am looking forward to learning more.

 

First Art Jam

Last Saturday, my husband and I ventured out of the South to Shangrila Mall and attend an Art Jam. It’s a gathering of people (all of whom I met online) to sit and paint together. Being on the more extremely shy end of the introvert spectrum, I rarely venture out willingly to actually meet people. I’m really glad that I did, though. Somehow, even if I only met a few of them in person (during pen meets) a couple of times, and most of them I haven’t really met in person at all until last Sunday, it felt easy to be with them. We were painting, talking, laughing, pausing once in a while to gesticulate wildly when the talk about politics and life become somewhat heated, tinkering with each other’s art supplies. It was an awesome experience. I felt none of the painful awkwardness that I usually feel when meeting new people. I was also quite fascinated with their painting styles. I wish I took more photos, but I was only able to take one when I got home. These (except the one at the farthest left) were gifts from fellow ArtJammers.

Judith’s artworks are billowy and diaphanous, capturing the fleeting quality of a moment or a subject. Like she caught what it looks like between blinks. Her brush strokes are few but decisive, controlled. Rosa’s art for the day was made of fountain pen inks and brushes, though I couldn’t tell at first. It made me wonder “Is this all just one color? How did she do it?” She was just dab-dab-dabbing on paper and out popped a verdant forest. All while feeding and caring for her 5-year old boy who came along for the art session. I swear, moms must have extra arms and eyes hidden somewhere. Fidelle’s art is vibrant and emotive. There’s a lot going on below the surface, a lot she wants to express through her art. I love how she uses strong colors to express herself. My favorite was her painting of Ophelia in the water, surrounded by reeds and grass and wildflowers. All her pieces are practically vibrating with emotions. Lorraine’s art was, as always, happiness personified. Everything she does is bright and sunny and ready to burst out to song at any moment. Lexter’s art is very reflective of his personality; multifaceted and vibrant. A burst of colors and strokes and stories. My favorite among the pieces that he showed were his portraits. These are beautiful sketches, loosely done, filled with soul. I can’t help but notice how much he has improved since the last time that we met. He practices everyday, and it really does show on his work.

I often see these people’s works on Instagram and Facebook but really, photos take something away from the actual artwork. There’s nothing quite like seeing them in person.

Overall, I really enjoyed their company and how easy it felt to just be with them. I enjoyed our conversations about art, books, politics, family, and many other things. They had curious and open minds, which I found very refreshing. I don’t always come out to meet new people,  but I’m glad that when I do, I always manage to find such interesting ones to spend time with.

Rape Culture 101

Here is my journal entry yesterday. It’s very disheartening when I come across people online and in real life who still have such a narrow understanding on victims’ rights and how society perpetuates rape culture. It’s oftentimes frustrating to talk to people whose minds and ways are set, but for the sake of working towards a safer world for my pumpkins, I try to be patient when I engage people who have such archaic beliefs about this.