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Transcending daily tasks and obligations

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Competing with seizing life’s opportunities and challenges are work, mundane daily tasks, and fatigue. Perhaps I met Andrew Wales yesterday as a reminder to keep focusing on transcending the latter hurdles in life. I met Andrew yesterday at the annual underground comics Small Press Expo at the North Bethesda Marriott on Marinelli, or perhaps I should say he found me and my boy, who is now 3 1/2-years-old, and had more of an interest in getting lunch at the bagel carryout up the street than taking this backyard visit to which many others had driven hundreds of miles.

As I scanned Andrew’s exhibit table at the show, he offered to draw my boy’s favorite superhero, which he chose as Spiderman rather than SpongeBob. He deftly magic markered a variation on the theme,which my son kept close to his side the rest of the day.

Wales has been an art teacher for over two decades. I bought the July 2009 issue of his Eclectic Comics, where he writes of visiting the classroom of a veteran art teacher, and asking him about the teacher’s drawings exhibited in his classroom. The teacher guaranteed to Wales that as an art teacher — and especially as a parent — he would no longer have time to make his own artwork: “I haven’t drawn in years.”

Wales successfully set out to prove him wrong, and encourages those interested in making art to find at least one form to enjoy their whole lives. He underlines that artmaking does not require taking away from family time; it can become a family activity.

The visual artform I have chosen — leaving aside whether my Internet work counts — is origami, which I have been doing for a decade, after being inspired to do so by a story of my friend and mentor Jun Yasuda folding origami peace cranes, and later learning of the healing power associated with the folding and presentation of peace cranes.

As an aside, and by coincidence/divine coincidence, at the exhibit table right next to Andrew’s was Sakiko Judge — whom I met at the 2007 SPX — folding and offering origami cranes. As much as I seek logical explanations in life, I experienced a compelling confluence yesterday of Andrew’s reaching out to us, his comic’s encouraging people to keep their creativity alive, and Sakiko’s acting that out with her peace cranes.

As to what this has to do with my practice of criminal defense, I have repeatedly blogged about the personal and persuasive power of finding and maintaining the child within, finding daily enchantment, and creating beyond our daily professional work. Jon Katz