The Fantastical World of Writing – Bill Peet (une)

During his boyhood years, Bill Peet would spend his days in the attic, drawing to his heart’s content. The attic was the perfect place to be inspired, it provided the haven and peace he sought to pour out his imagination. Drawing became his passion. He became quite a prolific artist, drawing whenever he could, finding ways to do it here and there. He was inspired by the sights and sounds of his youth and hoped someday to recreate them in drawing. He memorized every detail of the trains that came and went, the hustle and bustle of people and the smells of peanuts that vendors sold on the streets for a nickel.

During the twenties long after World War I had ended, still a boy he began peddling newspapers as a way to make money. He was a busy boy during that time. Besides, drawing and selling newspapers he always had time to hang out with the neighborhood boys and his two older brothers. Then one summer it all changed. His beloved grandmother died and the house he saw life as pleasant soon ended. The house was sold and from then on his family constantly moved. By then he was ready to enter high school, a time when many of his peers were forced to go and find jobs. For some reason, he decided to stay in school. He wasn’t a great student in junior high and wasn’t surprised that by the end of the semester he had failed in all his classes except for psychical education, but it only gave him half the credits he need to pass.

Life seemed grey and desolated, that year the market crashed in 1929. Even home wasn’t a place to be anymore with an absent father that only returned home to squander the money his mother made as a teacher, leaving them constantly poor. Bill Peet hated going home. He was able to finish high school and then continued his education into college. During this time, his drawings were a bit dark and edgy, adding demons or dragons to the background of all his drawings.

He once drew a picture of a rat in a trap, a lantern and a pair of old boots. It was one of the grimmest canvas he had ever painted. But, he wasn’t thinking that at the time. He only saw a display of life. Most artist have this dexterity to see art in life where we find it consuetude from our everyday scenes. Not Peet, he saw something else. He entered this drawing along with others in the State Fair. He won first prize in one of his pictures, while the rat picture caused controversy among the women. He was tickled by it.

to be continued…