In the Eye of the Beholder – Guest Deb C. J. Omololu

C. J. Omololu writes everything for kids from picture books to young adult novels. Sometimes writes about writing, but sometimes is just wasting time to avoid the blank laptop screen. She is the author of the upcoming young adult novel, Dirty Little Secrets.

dirty little secrets[A] disturbing appraisal of how a mother’s obsessive hoarding affects her teenage daughter in this frank novel that spans a tense 24-hour period.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Powerful and page-turning, this book would be a great choice for literature circles in grades 7 and up, particularly because it has an ending that will get readers talking in a big way. Highly recommended.”
—Kate Messner, The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z

“Loved this. A must read! A page turner!!!”
—Joelle Anthony, Restoring Harmony

We’re thrilled to have Cynthia here, and now we’ll let her tell you a bit about art.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was fortunate enough to live in Scotland and made regular trips down to London to visit friends and go to clubs – you know, the stuff you do when you’re young and don’t mind spending six hours on a train for two days of fun. One of the things I would always do with a particular friend was go to the art museum. More specifically, the Tate Modern gallery.

Let me say this up front- I don’t “get” modern art, so the Tate may not have been the best choice for me. At first, we used to go there, stand still and silent for a few moments and let the meaning of the art seep over us. At least, that’s what he thought we were doing. I secretly thought that most of it was ridiculous and had to physically suppress the urge to bring white-out to put on the tiny red dot on the big, huge white canvas that hung in one of the rooms.  On one of the trips, we found ourselves standing next to a man who had his five year old daughter on his shoulders. He was busy explaining the piece in question to her – it sticks in my memory so much that I even remember the title: British Heritage: Humpty (explicative) Dumpty. Here’s what it looked like (thanks to Google):

Humpty

He was telling her all about the suppression that comes from being English and all sorts of things like that as we listened in. After a short silence, the little girl says (picture it in an English accent and it’s even cuter): “Yes, but Daddy, it really is just silly isn’t it?” From then on, that was our catchphrase for most of the things that I didn’t “get” at the Tate – it really is just silly, isn’t it?

Fast forward (ahem) a few years, and now I do have art that I “get”. It looks like this:

Mom

and this

Birthday

and I hang it on my walls like it was the most precious Monet. Several birthdays ago, my ridiculously talented friend Sue presented me with a painting of my kids that is one of my most prized possessions.

CJ's kids

It is the thing that I would save in a fire after the family and pets were standing on the sidewalk. Not only because it looks exactly like they did at the time, but because she put so much effort into doing it as a surprise for me.

I think books are like art in this way. A truly valuable book is the one that speaks to you, regardless of what it says to anyone else. All you have to do is go to Goodreads and see that one single book can get a five star this-is-the-best-book-I’ve-ever-read, right next to a one star I-guess-they’ll-publish-anything-these-days review.  The hardest thing in the world is reading a review from someone who didn’t “get” your book – and there will always be people you didn’t reach for one reason or another. Hopefully, the ones you do reach will balance that out.

If it speaks to you, it’s art. If you love it, it’s valuable. And apparently worth a lot more if you can put a swear word in the title.

http://www.thedebutanteball.com/?p=8314In the Eye of the Beholder

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was fortunate enough to live in Scotland and made regular trips down to London to visit friends and go to clubs – you know, the stuff you do when you’re young and don’t mind spending six hours on a train for two days of fun. One of the things I would always do with a particular friend was go to the art museum. More specifically, the Tate Modern gallery.

Let me say this up front- I don’t “get” modern art, so the Tate may not have been the best choice for me. At first, we used to go there, stand still and silent for a few moments and let the meaning of the art seep over us. At least, that’s what he thought we were doing. I secretly thought that most of it was ridiculous and had to physically suppress the urge to bring white-out to put on the tiny red dot on the big, huge white canvas that hung in one of the rooms.  On one of the trips, we found ourselves standing next to a man who had his five year old daughter on his shoulders. He was busy explaining the piece in question to her – it sticks in my memory so much that I even remember the title: British Heritage: Humpty (explicative) Dumpty. Here’s what it looked like (thanks to Google):

He was telling her all about the suppression that comes from being English and all sorts of things like that as we listened in. After a short silence, the little girl says (picture it in an English accent and it’s even cuter): “Yes, but Daddy, it really is just silly isn’t it?” From then on, that was our catchphrase for most of the things that I didn’t “get” at the Tate – it really is just silly, isn’t it?

Fast forward (ahem) a few years, and now I do have art that I “get”. It looks like this:

and this:

and I hang it on my walls like it was the most precious Monet. Several birthdays ago, my ridiculously talented friend Sue presented me with a painting of my kids that is one of my most prized possessions.

It is the thing that I would save in a fire after the family and pets were standing on the sidewalk. Not only because it looks exactly like they did at the time, but because she put so much effort into doing it as a surprise for me.

I think books are like art in this way. A truly valuable book is the one that speaks to you, regardless of what it says to anyone else. All you have to do is go to Goodreads and see that one single book can get a five star this-is-the-best-book-I’ve-ever-read, right next to a one star I-guess-they’ll-publish-anything-these-days review.  The hardest thing in the world is reading a review from someone who didn’t “get” your book – and there will always be people you didn’t reach for one reason or another. Hopefully, the ones you do reach will balance that out.

If it speaks to you, it’s art. If you love it, it’s valuable. And apparently worth a lot more if you can put a swear word in the title.

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5 thoughts on “In the Eye of the Beholder – Guest Deb C. J. Omololu

  1. Wise words from a writer whose work I’m really looking forward to checking out. Your novel sounds fantastic. Best of luck with it, and thanks for joining the Ball today!

  2. That white-out line makes me laugh – and I can relate! Thanks for the words of wisdom about mixed reviews, too. It’s a good way to keep it in perspective. I really enjoyed this post, C. J.!

  3. Oh, your kids look so happy, laughing.

    I’m pretty amazed at that Humpty Dumpty thing. Seriously? Seriously?? Is that typical of the Tate?

  4. Oh, at least the Humpty-Dumpty had a story and a character in it you could follow. My nephew and I revel in our memory of going to a certain famed art museum and staring at the small picnic shed strung with a couple of Tahitian themed holiday lights. This was….art? Seriously, give me a Home Depot charge plate and I can apparently be freakin’ Van Gogh by this afternoon. The only thing that “art” gave to the world was a moment of shared mockery between an aunt and a teenage kid. He and I will definitely remember it forever, but I doubt anyone else does!

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