I think that growing up in Viroqua, Wisconsin has really strengthened my imagination. Because when I was living there as a kid there really wasn't shit to do. It was a small, poor, rural town. The theatre closed. We had a dairy you could get a chocolate malt. Man it was dull.
My parents pushed me to get outside. "Do something" they would yell at me. "Anything!". Sometimes I would stand in the street watching ants build their homes. Pebble by pebble. For hours. Once in a while my friend Bill would stop by and watch, too. I would imagine their homes, structure, society. Their lives.
Butch Vig, my brother, used to push me in the rose bushes. Again and again. But that's a story for another time.
My imagination got the best of me once. I came in from playing outside I had my Daisy BB gun. I turned on my parents new massive console TV. Wild Wild West was on. I saw a bad guy sneaking up on James West. I raised my Daisy and fired. Got him. Right on target. The tube punctured and cracked. Oh oh. The line of reality and tv had blurred.
I was grounded for a month in my room. No TV. No radio. No phone. I only had a full set of The Encyclopedia to read. So, I read the whole thing. All 26 volumes.
My folks kept the TV for years. Every show and sporting event we watched had the BB hole and cracks looking back at me. I felt horrible.
I learned a lot reading the entire encyclopedia. It helped me in high school, college, graduate school and my business . Most importantly, for my art, I learned to learn. What has always helped me more, though, is my imagination. So even if there "ain't shit to do" it helps my curiosity, how to think, and how to dream.
I imagine things. I blow them up!
Now, Viroqua has turned into an alternative lifestyle, organic farming, natural living mecca. Lots of hipsters and hippies and Amish live there. There is a cool food cooperative, and a number of hip new restaurants and wine bars. The Driftless Cafe and The Tangled Hickory are great. And the area's hilly drift less area is as beautiful as ever. Check it out sometime and imagine what is possible.