Sunday, August 30, 2009

On giraffes (finally)

It’s time to explain the somewhat peculiar title of this blog.

The digression-part should not come as a surprise if you have read anything here. If you haven’t, please do so. You will get the idea quickly enough, trust me. However, the giraffe-part may demand more of an explanation.

Giraffability is, as you might have figured out (especially if you know me), a word I made up. I suppose it’s kind of self-explanatory (if not, I’d be happy to conjure up an etymology for it), but why I feel attached enough to giraffes to use it as a title of my blog might be less obvious. (Again, people who know me will know this. Consider this post a public notice to any potential readers I don’t yet know, plus an excuse to bring giraffes into the mix.)

Giraffes and I go way back. I don’t keep track, but I do suspect we’ve passed the ten-year anniversary. Sometime when I was still young and naïve (I know, that could be yesterday…) I started sketching “stick-figure” giraffes.

Eventually, I named them. As you can see from the picture, the one on the left is Flinkesen (Cleverson), while the one on the right is Vakresen (Prettyson). They live in Giraffenland, a friendly place where lots of animals get along just fine (mostly because the crocodile, Snillesen [Friendlyson], is a vegetarian).

I won’t get into details (there are details), but the point is that the giraffe-thing stuck with me. My friends and family all learned about it and consequently I’ve received gifts in the shape of giraffes for years. Pencils, rubbers, coffee mugs, stuffed plush giraffes, salad utensils, picture frames, handbags, magnets, key chains, earrings, diaries – the list goes on and on.

In addition to this, I’ve kept on sketching (sadly I never get better – only faster). I sign postcards with giraffes (sometimes without actually writing anything), I’ve signed clothes (for non-Norwegians, remind me to explain the concept of “russetid” sometime), I’ve put them on book covers, pencil cases, on post-its, in my text-books, in snow, in sand, on windows … It’s like a trademark.

Thus, my obsession for giraffes has become something people remember about me, something my friends have come to consider a part of who I am. I couldn’t not include that in my blog (though some might say I’ve gone overboard).

That should explain the title of the blog, and it should explain the fact that you cannot press "interesting", "cool" or "I hate it" as a reaction to any of my posts - the only allowed reaction to this silly nutcase is "giraffy" (this post should get plenty...)

However, as it turns out, I’m not the only one with a giraffy obsession.

Thus, to complete this post, I’d like to recommend an amazing website you all should visit and bookmark:

To collect one million hand-made giraffes from all around the world wasn’t my idea (even though I wish it had been. However, I believe initiator Ola does a much better job than I would in managing it, so I’m not weeping… In fact, he does such a great job that I have developed a something of a crush on the aforementioned Ola for the idea and development of this project. Shhh – don’t tell him!) You can find the giraffes from this post – plus many, many more – and of course read more about the project on his website. I highly recommend participating – it will only cost you a few minutes, and it feels great to be part of “the best thing on the Internet this year”.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I'll admit being drawn to giraffes, myself. I had a giraffe toy when I was a child that I rode around on all day. I'll check out the link--thanks!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Patricia Stoltey said...

I like giraffes, too. How fun!

And my maternal grandfather was a Norwegian. I guess that's two reasons I should come back and visit your blog again.

Cruella Collett said...

Elizabeth - that sounds like a wonderful toy - maybe I should try to find one for my nephew? Also, I'm glad you'll check out the link - that site always makes me smile!

Patricia - it's so interesting to me how many people actually have Norwegian relatives in this country! It seems that almost everyone I've met so far (and I'm not even in the Mid-West) either knows someone Norwegian or has distant ancestors that came from Norway. Pretty amazing for such a small country.
And I'm naturally very pleased that you intend to come back :)

Rayna M. said...

My older one's favourite toy was a giraffe for a very long time. He'd refuse to sleep unless he was hugging her (Gina was the name), and it got so bad, I nearly went and got an identical twin in case this one got lost.

He's grown out of it now, but giraffes creep into his every story.

J. M. Hunter said...

I'm so happy that I remembered that rubbers are also erasers in every other country but the U.S. . . . . otherwise, I would have had some questions for you.

Cruella Collett said...


You'd think that elementary school teachers would foresee this problem, but no.... Or maybe they do, and just have a sick sense of humour (especially considering this must have been one of the 10-20 first words I ever learned in English...)

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