I guess it all started in my living room, as I used to curiously poke around and discover my surroundings. We had a bookcase that housed a few decorative figurines, a couple of picture frames and some books, but the most special part was bottom shelf where my father’s old comics (Tex’s mainly) used to invite me to sit down and read. Of course my parents bought some comics of my own, but these were special for they had a quaint and nearly vintage quality to them.
Illustration by Tarsila Kruse
It was however in our home office that my love for books flourished. Imagine a rather large bedroom nesting a table made from two mid-century dark green filing cabinets, and a white oilcloth covered door used as the tabletop. A wide fluorescent light, pinched right at the middle, ready to use. Some pens and rulers were always lying around, as well as a corkboard with a beautiful picture of my mother as an infant. That room was both fascinating and scary. Every single wall was absolutely covered in books, from the skirting board to the ceiling, creating a unique visual texture of shelves and more shelves of books. It was my very first library.
I couldn’t help be attracted to them. My father always carried an average of three books at any given time, and I mean, ANY given time. He actually still does it. Once we were both out in our neighborhood when the newsstand man broke a big laughter – myself and my father were both walking down the street reading a book each, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you found our resemblance quite amusing. It was also this love my father has for books that nourished the love in me. Besides, if I ever wanted a book as a gift it was never refused (and we were constantly in and out of bookshops).
Soon the smell of the books enchanted me. New pages, old pages, they all had special things in them – stories, knowledge, discoveries…and even though the television was very attractive; the palpable and tangible feeling of a book has always been irreplaceable.
I frequently visited the school library, asked my friends what they were reading, and I always made sure to be participative when any book fairs in my school happened (you could bring an old book and swap for a new one!)
It’s not a mystery to realize that soon I started making my own books. A good amount of paper, some folding (stapling with luck) and pens would do – and a brilliant idea (usually something related to princesses and/or birthdays for some reason…)
Sometimes my father would bring a typewriter home and I’d use it for my own creations, but that only happened occasionally, it really gave my stories a professional look, and on those occasions I’d use very special markers to make the illustrations.
And so it began…
To learn more about Tarsila, visit her Puddlejump profile and website.