Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Pop-Up Book Theory

When I was younger, maybe about 6 years old, I had this children's Bible. It was hard cover with a yellow spine, labeled in glossy red serifs; and on the cover was a colorful illustration. There were similar illustrated scenes throughout the book, but the only one I remember now was the first one. It accompanied the first story, the very beginning of Genesis: the story of creation. And in this illustration, a giant man resembling the popular Caucasian Jesus, stood among the stars, and hovering between his hands, ever so delicately, was the Earth. His size dwarfed our little planet, which looked like a mere toy to Him. I thought about that illustration frequently. I thought about how powerful God must be. I thought about how tiny we are compared to Him. I thought about how smart He must be to have made all this, and how He must have the most nimble of fingers to make everything so beautiful, no matter how small and insignificant it was to Him.

Gradually, this scene evolved to one where the Man in space held a pop-up book, with each of the pages being part of the world. I thought about how easy it would be for Him to close it, and to take that book and put it on some bookshelf made of stars. But He never did.

I still think about that pop-up book. I'm not really sure why, and I'm not quite sure what it means. But whenever I'm brainstorming project ideas, I think of these kindergarten daydreams of mine. I can hear the pages turning, and the thick paper squeaking slightly as the next scene comes to life. For all I know, God really could be standing out there, in the middle of space, bouncing us around and shooting us through a hoop made of constellations. Or He could be standing peacefully, turning the pages, and watching us try to figure things out. Watching me, sitting in my studio, wrapped in a blanket, sipping Starbucks, and thinking about cramming my life into a very condensed pop-up book.

And what if the world was just a pop-up book? I'm sure it would be a rather dense volume. Constantly growing, in fact. And the illustrations would be entirely animated, requiring you to hold the book completely still in order for everything to freeze. And the images would be so precisely, so delicately cut, that if you exhaled too close, it would begin to fall apart. But it hasn't. And I think that says something.

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