Lucas Baird recently graduated from Vancouver Island University’s creative writing and visual arts programs. I think it’s safe to say that he’s very much missed. He was one of those students who show up with a startling well-developed voice and a mature point-of-view, both of which evolved in fascinating ways. He also has a specific and well-executed look. My suspicion is that somewhere around the age three Lucas sent someone out to purchase him his first leather jacket. He’s getting ready to do graduate work, but he was kind enough to take the time to write about one of his other signature pieces. I think this little essay demonstrates why it was a pleasure to have him in a classroom. Also, totally agree on his assessment of these glasses.
I wear a pair of prescription Guess aviator sunglasses. I started wearing glasses when I was 16—before that, my nearsightedness was undiagnosed. This was also the period of time that I decided I really liked Hunter S. Thompson and I really wanted to be a writer.
The first aviators I ever purchased were from Wal-Mart. Their lenses were squat, orange ovals, and their gold-brushed arms cut pink lines into the skin of my temples. I had to switch between them and my regular glasses. I couldn’t drive in them, but I loved what they represented—a choice of fashion that served double duty as allusion. Hunter S. Thompson’s sunglasses were synonymous with the man’s persona, in my eyes– a persona I readily tested and mined, before growing beyond. The following year, when it came time to prepare for university, I sought out my current pair of prescription sunglasses, from the Chemainus eye doctor’s. This new pair had rich, coffee coloured lenses and silver frames, and fit firmly. Importantly, they also helped me see clearly– something my previous pair could not accomplish.
Admittedly, I wear sunglasses too universally, but I enjoy covering my terrible eye-bags. I spend too much time inside, at a computer, and tinted glass veils my nosferatu quotient. They also render the sky of a sunset a more sudden and striking colour.
Self-absorption is something that worries me, with non-fiction– I don’t particularly enjoy writing about myself, without the veil of fiction. Yet, so too, I see an ugly trend of self-deprecation in the greats of non-fiction and lecturing. There’s doublethink in marshalling the courage to write about oneself, while hiding self-interest in pleading and shrugs. I’d like to do my best to avoid that, particularly with this exultation: my sunglasses make me look very cool. Very, extremely cool. You understand.
Since I bought this pair, I’ve lost and replaced a nose-pad, had their lenses pop free, in need of re-gluing, and received a degree in Creative Writing. They have scraped and bent, much as I have, but they still help me see clearly.