Visual Journal Page 32: Molly Jo


I almost didn’t include this page, after all it is a story I am hesitant to share. Although a life was semi-saved that day, I did have a slight lapse in judgement. I forgot my role as teacher for a moment, and I am lucky the situation didn’t spiral out of control to the many horrible scenarios I have since come up with.

It all began with my next door neighbor at school, a nice enough gentleman who taught graphic design, who also had a small hoarding problem. Snacks, sodas, anything food related stacked his desk, lined closet walls, and attracted mice. By this point in the school year a few mice had already been trapped in the sticky traps he would continuously refresh. More than once he, or one of his students, would visit my classroom holding one such trap, with a poor, adorable, baby mouse attached to it.

My heart broke for these poor animals. Yes, they are “vermin”, if given the space and food they will reproduce, spread disease, and are unhealthy in general, but none of these things come to mind when I see such a small helpless animal facing it’s demise. I believe these previous instances fueled my lack of judgement on down the road. And I try to remind myself that it started with one of his students, but I was still the one that made the call, and this is how it went down…

My AP art class was in full swing, about thirty minutes had passed in our hour and a half long class, the second hand of the clock was slowly ticking it’s way down to 3:30. I was working on this and that when I glanced outside and a few of my students, who were supposed to be working on the cement block just outside my room, were gathered around one of his students. I poked my head outside to redirect their attention to their projects when I saw yet another poor helpless mouse stuck on a trap. His students, and mine, were attempting to carefully remove him from the trap, after all only his leg was stuck.

My animal loving side took over my level headed, I could be sued, teacher side, and I allowed them to continue. In fact, I even let it move to my room where they could carefully wash him off after he was unstuck. This may be shocking to you, I allowed my students to handle a wild mouse. But it doesn’t end there.

Once the little mouse was washed and carefully dried, he was placed in a basket, with some of my still life fabric, and a Doritos chip, they were high schoolers after all. In 15 minutes Molly Jo was saved, cleaned, fed, and officially named. I think the name did us all in. You should never name an animal you can’t keep, because the name is the bond.

We couldn’t decide what to do with Molly Jo, until one of my students volunteered to take her home, and promised up and down her parents were the type who wouldn’t care. I’m not sure what was wrong with me that day, but I actually allowed this to happen. Even now, reflecting on the situation I can’t believe I let that happen.

Thank goodness the mouse made it home, thank goodness her parents actually didn’t care. I found out the next day she didn’t take Molly Jo home in a car, like I thought, Molly Jo actually went home on the BUS with her! How did I let that happen. My student told me she released Molly Jo into the wild, where she would run happy and free. At least I participated in saving an innocent life, until the truth came out and I found out Molly Jo actually died due to the poison in the sticky substance on the sticky trap. It was all for nothing, I risked my students, and my career, for nothing.

I don’t know what humanitarian cloud came over me to allow each one of these things to happen, but someone must’ve been watching my back because no one was hurt, the mouse made it home on the bus, and the parents actually didn’t care. It was a miracle. Now, in order to justify the situation I convince myself that Molly Jo is out there running free and she was a critical part of a bonding experience in my AP class, or at least that is what I tell myself.


  • Visual Journal
  • Rubber Cement
  • Scissors
  • Magazine images
  • Pencil
  • White paper
  • Watercolors
  • Paint brush
  • Sharpie


My goal with this journal was to focus more on drawing and painting, and rely less on magazine images. It was a very good goal, I felt my images were more original in a way, because the majority of the page was made by me. However, because of that it had been awhile since I used magazine images and drawn images together, which I decided to change with this visual journal page.

I started with the background, remember it is always easier to move from the back forward. I began my hunt for sky and grass in my stack of magazines and after ripping out a few pages I decided I didn’t have the patience to fill the entire page with magazine collage, and at this point I was overusing that technique. Instead I chose to rip a few sky pieces and few ground pieces into strips and spread them out on the page. When I found an image with tall grass I decided to overlap it on top of my drawn image to help tie everything together.

Next I worked on the basket. I decided to paint an entire sheet of paper with browns and yellows, and once dry add lines with sharpie. I made sure I stayed nice and loose with the paint and the lines to keep it looking organic. I then cut the paper into strips and wove them together to create the front of the basket, wove another section to create the right side of the basket, and taped them together on the back. I used the same technique for the fabric. I painted a red plaid pattern on a sheet of paper, and cut it into large triangle shapes. I then glued them to the backside of the basket, and folded the edges over to make it look like it was sitting inside the basket.

Last but not least I painted little Molly Jo with watercolor, outlined her in sharpie to help her stand out, and nestled her in the basket. I glued everything down, and added elongated sharpie words on the left side page.


Create a page about a regret or a misstep in judgement.

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