You know what age I was at my dumbest and most awkward? Around fifteen. Maybe sixteen. Obsessed with wanting my hair to look like Martin Gore from Depeche Mode, and loading on more eyeliner than even Boy George would tolerate, my most creative feat was stacking Aqua Net, Extra Super Hold cans around the perimeter of my room. (Ozone layer, I am sorry.) My most productive moment was figuring out that the cloves in the spice cabinet could actually not be smoked. Or maybe they could but definitely not in the notebook paper I was using to roll them in.
I was brilliant like that.
So now I am a seasoned human being, looking at teenagers of today and cannot believe the amazing things they do. Overall, I’d say they’re much better at being in this world than I was. I am a huge fan of a teenager called Emmie. She was super special to me as a sweet infant, chubby-cheeked toddler, big kid, tween and now teen. Emmie is my niece.
Without describing the multitude of ways this girl is on an elevated creative plane, I’m just going to share a book she gave to her cousins, Smitty + Shep for Christmas. Shep + Smith have been obsessed with “Raw Guys” since Halloween. It started with a Grim Reaper figure in our neighbor’s yard. They would go visit him every morning and yell “Rah!!” at him. Because obviously that’s the language the Grim Reaper would speak. The term “Raw Guy” evolved to describe every spooky figure, including zombies, skeletons and decapitated heads hanging from tree branches down our festive Halloween block. Instead of being frightened by these figures, the boys loved with a capital L-O-V-E-D them. They would beg to go see the Raw Guys. And then Halloween ended and there were no more.
A book was given to them by cousin Emmie. It looks like this:
While I’ve done my best to photograph the pages, it doesn’t quite do the book justice. Each animal has been modified by Emmie with googly eyes, and fitted with painted-on extra jagged teeth, colorful Raw Guy approved colors in the fur, and trickles of blood here and there.
Smitty + Sheppy love their Raw Guy book. They love to make their scariest Raw Guy sounds, and pretend they are scared with big “Oh-No!” screams and giggles that build and build as the pages turn.
Beyond the obvious genius of creating this book for my boys, I am just amazed that a sixteen-year-old girl can even be bothered to hook her little cousins up with something so personal and sweet. Emmie rocks my world.
What’s more, Emmie has created a tumblr that is simple and brilliant. It is called “Just Some Doors”. With the tag line, “Really, that’s all it is.”
And really, that’s all it is. Emmie has photographed doors around Brooklyn and somehow it is compelling and beautiful enough to make me keep going back to see what she has seen. The way she has seen it. You should see it. Check it out here. (www.justsomedoors.tumblr.com)
So many things I love about this girl. But mostly it is this old and wise way she has of living in her own skin, proudly being exactly who she is. I’m not going to say it’s all rainbows and sunshine but the truth is, Emmie thrives in the rain. She is the kind of creature who can see all the beauty between the drops, and then translate that for the rest of us to see. At only sixteen, this girl is beautiful and smart, kind with a wicked sarcastic sense, and gifted beyond what’s fair.