Tuesday, April 19, 2011
“Here, take it”
“What is it?”, I said
“It's a pencil. Take it”
“What do you want me to do with it?”
“Draw on the paper in front of you, there”
“But I don’t draw. I can’t even draw a straight line”
“Then don’t draw a straight line. A straight line represents the narrowest of marking options you could ever choose. A straight line is a straight line. Every other mark is something else. Every other mark is everything else.”
“What if I don’t like what I draw?”
“You won’t be the first one to have drawn something you don’t like. The sun will still come up tomorrow.
But it also doesn’t have to be the last thing or the only thing you draw. If, by some strange circumstance, you draw a thing of stunning beauty your first time out, the same sun will come up over the same horizon each day.
Maybe someone will see your drawing and love it as much as you do. Maybe a million people will see your drawing and love it. But the sun will come up and the sun will go down and after enough times of this rising and setting, everyone who loved your drawing, including you, will forget about the drawing.
You’ll move on. You can start over. One breath doesn’t last a lifetime. One meal doesn’t last a lifetime. There’s more paper. If you don’t like what you did the first time, do something different the second time.
If you don’t like what you did the second time, do something different the third time.
If you don’t like what you did the third time, do something different the fourth time.
Draw close-to-a-straight-line or close-to-a-circle or close-to-a-square or close-to-nothing-at-all-in-particular. Put the pencil lead to the paper and move it. Move it around. Move it about. Don’t lift it up. Shift it. Slide it. Put it on its edge.
Balance your lines on the very finest point of the pencil. Don’t erase. Or erase. Wet your thumb and smudge your not-straight lines and make them not-lines.
Make a not-so-round circle and fill it up with not-so-square boxes. Make symbols and then modify them. Checks, tic-tac-toes, letters. Write non-words with imaginary letters. Stick some light in some shadows and block out some bright spots.
Nobody’s watching. But the world is waiting. Oh, it doesn’t know it is. It doesn’t suppose that way. It’s simply diminished by any lack of a single blade of grass in a meadow or a single leaf in a forest of trees or lack of a pencil drawn across a blank page. It doesn’t hold its breath. But it’s waiting nonetheless.
It’s what we do. It’s how we fill it. Pencils. Paper. Imaginations. Creations."