May 1, 2022

As I reread my dream, what strikes me now is how prescient it seems: The two sets of windows I escape through could represent the two “institutional” jobs I would hold in my twenties and thirties, the first at Seven Hills School, the second at Tiburon College. The feeling of being free at last could represent my eventually becoming self-employed as an English-as-a-Second-Language tutor, which allowed me to focus more on developing my creative abilities. The horses that are animated drawings seem to foretell my destiny as an illustrator, including the very beginning of that journey—because the first expression of my love of illustration, at age four, was my fascination with a record cover of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty that featured a prince on horseback. Then, many decades later, I drew my own rider-to-the-rescue, the little fool in The Skeptical Princess below. And the music that seems to come from inside me presages all the children’s songs I would one day write.


I can’t believe it! Google actually found that record cover! And how early our predilections reveal themselves, I marvel.

When I was in preschool in New Haven, my teachers used to play this album. I was so entranced by the cover that when my family moved back to Minnesota, I asked my mom to buy the record for me—just for the illustration! Then it was lost en route to California when I was thirteen.

Wanting to compare my drawing with the image I remembered, I just did an online search—and there, amid, maybe, three hundred other Sleeping Beauty covers, was the one I remembered, the most dog-eared and beat-up of them all. (Now it occurs to me that, for all I know, this could be the very record cover that I lost all those years ago!)

Admittedly my memory of this illustration was more ethereal—with Sleeping Beauty in a gray stone tower, dressed like a princess of old. Also, I saw Prince Charming on a white charger, struggling through a dense forest of thistles. Even so, I’m as sure as I can be that this cover inspired my own drawing for Sir Little Fool and the Skeptical Princess: