Clockwork Orange. And Blue. And some Green.

ImageMy neighborhood is cute. Little one-family houses with little yards all arrayed neatly along the six or so blocks of our “avenue”. My neighbors are friendly without being too. They’re definitely not New Yorkers but they don’t try to hug me either.
One evening, I tethered the hounds to the porch railing, strapped on my iPod, cracked open my colored pencil pouch, and started to draw the house across the street. Because, as George Mallory said of Everest, it was there.
As I say in the journal caption, I was listening to a dreadful story on a terrific podcast (RadioLab, actually, not TAL), and one part of my brain was listening intently to this story of a guy who corresponded with the man who raped and killed his daughter, while the other part drew every brick on my neighbor’s facade.
Now, do you remember the “Ludovico technique” in A Clockwork Orange where Alex is fed a drug that will make him nauseated by violence, strapped down and forced to watch a sadistic movie which is scored with something by Beethoven? Forever after, his beloved Ludwig Van makes him panicky and sick.

I guess my drawing/listening experience had a somewhat similar effect on me. My brain and all my senses were so wide open, so receptive, hungrily drinking in the details of my neighbor’s home while fixedly listening to this awful story. My eyes signals and ear signals somehow came together to create an utterly false experience, so now every time I walk out my front door, I feel a terrible pity for my neighbor and the ordeal he went through. Which he didn’t. Except in my journal.

They really should put a warning on this sort of story — “Listening to this broadcast while operating colored pencils and a fountain pen may cause a lingering sense of tragic empathy and melancholia.”

I’ve met the neighbor, by the way. Nice, cheerful guy and I don’t think he even has a daughter. At least not one that seems to be alive………..

11 thoughts on “Clockwork Orange. And Blue. And some Green.

  1. …this podcast is a deeply touching story and really mind-boggling (though I didn’t understood every single word) –
    anyway your new sketch looks so “peaceful” (just in this moment, I remember a song of Paul McCartney “Peace In The Neighborhood”) and yes, drawing makes very “sensitive”…

  2. Danny, this is why I only listen to “light” stories and “fluff mysteries” when I do my artwork. I discovered long ago that I cannot listen to anything heavy or deep while I work or else I have the problem. I catch up on my light reading while I work and save the heavier stuff to actually read in book form rather than audio form. :)

  3. I love your ability to be in the moment, and also to express those aware moments without fear. But.. That old NY reality of the closer and more packed together you are with others, the less you want to hug them…. will fade with time and distance… hum, I guess considering the pain you felt for your neighbor, that wasn’t his, perhaps hugging isn’t… Just pondering and wondering if you need a hug.

  4. Being an interior type, I would ask: what is THAT about? Great food for thought and some resolution or insight will present itself, which will enhance your work. (that is, in my world).

  5. beautiful Danny, you always inspire me! At the moment I am trying to figure out how to take a fountain pen out “on location” without making a mess. Any thoughts? Also specific nib thoughts? Thank you for being willing to share your process. Someone out there is listening for sure and your words and pictures are helping her to tell herself “doesn’t matter how hard you struggle, keep at it”…….

  6. Wonderful drawing and wow – this was really an interesting reaction you had…

    Quoting you:
    ……I guess my drawing/listening experience had a somewhat similar effect on me. My brain and all my senses were so wide open, so receptive, hungrily drinking in the details of my neighbor’s home while fixedly listening to this awful story. My eyes signals and ear signals somehow came together to create an utterly false experience, so now every time I walk out my front door, I feel a terrible pity for my neighbor and the ordeal he went through. Which he didn’t. Except in my journal…….”

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