Amanda Jolley

Reflection on pattern and abstraction of the subconscious

How Toys Become Real

I was trapped here on Monday during a surprise downpour.


Stuck for over an hour on the inner steps like the couple above, I was so thankful to have these essentials in my purse: a pocket-sized version of The Velveteen Rabbit, my handy dandy pocket Moleskine sketchbook, favorite Copic fineline pen, and small tin of Caran d’ache water soluble crayons. With only the bus line and my feet for transportation, I could not have planned better for an unannounced deluge and was thrilled I had intuitively picked up The Velveteen Rabbit at the Frist Center gift store earlier that afternoon.

So I sketched my beloved rabbit.


Read the book. Cried. Colored the rabbit and using rainwater and a tiny brush, blended the colors.

the rabbit

Then I journaled a bit, starting off with the first line of the book:

There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid.

For those of you that have not had the delight of reading this book, the premise is if a toy is loved enough, it will become real. And when its use is done, the nursery fairy can make the toy flesh and blood real. When I was a child, I believed that the dolls and stuffed animals that I loved were real as well. Here’s a story from a blog post I wrote 6 years ago:

I remember being at JCPenney and finding an aisle of Sesame Street stuffed characters. One Grover from a full row of Grovers was alive to me. We shared a spiritual bond. None of the other Grovers were alive. I brought this Grover to my mom and explained to her why I wanted to bring him home. She told me Christmas was coming. I proceeded to tell to her that if I put this Grover back, the person who bought me Grover would not know which one to pick. I may never see this Grover again! My dear mother saw the true spirit within me and bought that Grover. She knew I was not manipulating her. I didn’t get Grover until Christmas, but what a grand reunion we had.

This way of thinking has translated into how I view the sacredness of life as an adult. So when I read stories like this that my friend, Tracie Loux, shared today on facebook, I am thrilled to know that others also believe that someone that seems hopeless is worth an investment of immense love and time.

2 Comments on “How Toys Become Real”

  1. Your drawing is beautiful. It’s such a wonderful gift when one person acknowledges and understands another person; and that your mother did that for you as a child…so good, so meaningful. It’s a goal to live life slow enough to do that for the people in my life. Tennessee is one our adventure to-do list – I trust you are enjoying it!

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