Cross-hatched illustrations are my weak spot. That gives a special place to works of Maurice Sendak and Edward Gorey, among others.
Until one day, I stumbled upon Bear Despair by French illustrator Gaetan Dorémus,
and my list received a new name.
Bear Despair gathers and bounds some of my favourite techniques in storytelling.
Story without words – Check.
Cross-hatched illustration style – Check.
Animals – Double check!
Bear Despair makes it very clear that you must never, ever take a bear’s teddy bear. Ever.
And a few other realisations…
As we flip the pages to the bear’s sense of loss, anger and persistence, let’s also take
a journey into our own indulgence of attachment, protection and obsession.
It may not even be a thing or person.
Have you ever been so attached to a thought or a belief, that it drives you to the obsession of guarding it from any other ideas or thoughts that might challenge it?
Or worse, reject it?
Once you are done being the bear who protects and obsesses, see it all once more.
This time, as each of the other animals.
Ponder over how we treat an idea, or react to a belief we receive from someone else.
Especially if we fail to agree or see any great value to it as the one who it came from.
Must we disregard and discard it with mock, malice or mistrust?
Or could we handle it with care, and return it with respect?
We may not be entitled to understand the importance
of an idea / belief / object / person
in someone’s life.
But we are capable of kindness. It will cost us nothing.
Except, perhaps, our ego.
“It is not my place to judge any person’s beliefs,
but choose rather to celebrate their ability to believe.”
– Tom Althouse