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Paint the Moon’s impetus is a story my parents told me when I was little and asked why the moon was broken. I had noticed the phases of the moon. I was told that my father (a former house painter) would get a very tall ladder and paint a little bit every night until it was “fixed.” This fan book, reminiscent of a paint sample book, illustrates the phases of the moon in paint scrapings on one side and family pictures of myself, my father, and my grandfather on the other. Through images, dates, and anecdotes, it creates a timeline showcasing how a narrative of work ethic and merit was passed down from generation to generation, and how privilege was glossed over as a contributing factor to our success. The book’s circular form complicates the common notion that social progress will inevitably happen as the linear timeline is shown as a never-ending cycle. Having been raised on ideals like merit I still struggle to not conflate my self-worth with productivity; even knowing that the myth of meritocracy contributes to our cultures insanely off-kilter work life balance, and worse the ability for society to write off people in need as lazy. Through this book I am questioning how these myths became so engrained in my identity and how I can navigate my future parenthood so that I do not perpetuate these ideals in my children.

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