Memories popping up out of nowhere. 1976, nine years old, reading The Hobbit for the first time. I get inspired to draw a picture of Bilbo and take it to show my step-father, the big Tolkein fan who lent me the book in the first place. He glances at it and points out some rather major flaws--for one thing, I've put shoes on the hobbit--and goes back to whatever it was he was doing. I go back to my room and tear the picture into little pieces and throw them away. Some time later, maybe the same year, maybe not, I'm in my dad's office, drawing again. I produce what I think is the best german shepherd profile I've yet drawn and show it to my dad. He says it looks more like a bear than a dog, takes a pencil, sketches out a properly elongated muzzle. I take the picture back and, when he's out of the room, tear it up and hide it in the bottom of the trash can.
My mom? She usually thought anything I did was golden. I wish I could remember that as easily as the unexpected criticisms.