Who is my childhood art for?

I’ve been dragging around 20 years of diaries and old art for years, unsure of what to do with it. Every time I move (about once per year), it’s such a pain to haul all these old books around, and I wonder whether I should even get rid of them. Is there any point to keeping journals of my old self? Who is supposed to benefit from these things, if I’m sure as hell not reading them? My future biographer? LOL.

The cover of a scrapbook

For Christmas, my mom gave me another scrapbook – stuff from year 0 to about year 13 of my life. The book is falling apart, so I figured I’d maybe get a new scrapbook for it, or digitize it, or something.

But again, who is this for?

For my earliest works, I don’t really get any value out of it. I don’t remember what was going on in my mind or what that time of my life was like. It might provide mom with some nostalgia, remembering me coloring or something, but otherwise, what value does this have to the world?

A drawing of Xena and of myself on sketchbook paper, probably when I was around 10 years old.

Some art is newer and reflects what I was into at that age. I still don’t have any really vivid memories from when I was 10 years old, just tiny bits and pieces.

Maybe it’s interesting to see my influences over time and hypothesize about how it’s affected who I am as an adult.

A scribbled 3-year-old-Rachel’s drawing of Rachel, Mom, and Rose (in Mom’s tummy). Tummy-baby-Rose appears to be wearing sunglasses?

Some drawings show significant events in my life, but not many… Most of my childhood drawings are indecipherable, even to myself.

And that brings me to another question. This year, I’ve started receiving these kinds of artworks from the children now in my life (via mentoring), and it’s very sweet.

A pile of art by the kids

But I’m quickly becoming inundated with art that I feel obligated to save. And perhaps I’ll get a scrapbook and save these pieces as well. But, beyond the happy feeling the kids may get knowing that I’m saving their art for posterity, I’m not sure what the long-term purpose of saving all this is. I don’t know what the point of saving 30 years of Rachel-art and Rachel-thoughts is.

The important thing to me is that the kids are creating, and I love encouraging them to make art and new ways to do crafts. I have a lot more happy memories around the making of my art and widgets and crafts, rather than actually feeling pride in the work I’ve made.

The Barbie cafe that I helped the girls make out of boxes. (interior)
The Barbie cafe that I helped the girls make out of boxes. (exterior)

There’s not really any one little piece of art I made that is worth keeping, in my mind. My takeaway is how much I’ve learned over the years by practicing, incrementally over time. I’m not a great

But maybe I can find a use for my art. I have a lot of old art. Maybe I can make it all public domain in case anyone needs Authentic Child Drawingsfor their own works. Or maybe I can somehow readapt the artwork into a game (or YouTube video?) of my own. Either way, I can’t bring myself to just throw out everything – once it’s gone it’s gone – but maybe digitizing and backing it up is Good Enough.

(I’m still super paranoid about the collapse of society and servers no longer existing and then all I’ve ever done being gone in an instant… but I guess at that point I’d have bigger problems to worry about.)

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