The western view from my southern balcony. Drawn at the end of a hard day.
It’s about seven years since I started drawing in earnest. In the first couple of years. I went through periods of immense enthusiasm and others of frustration and despair. Eventually drawing just became a thing I did. Not a job, not a hobby, just a healthy habit … like flossing. Days, even the occasional week, went by when I didn’t draw but I always settled back into the groove,
In 1999, I started a job that consumed me. Consumed me like a boa consumes a bunny. Eventually my marriage, my parenthood, my health, my instinct for self preservation were all swallowed up like Laocoön. One of the first victims was drawing. It always seemed there were more important things to do with my time. My brain was constantly roiling with anxieties, pressures, plans, demands, ideas, schedules. So much of what I learned and chronicled in Everyday Matters was locked into a steel box and buried in the attic of my mind.
After four years, I mustered the strength to escape. And soon after, I thought of drawing again.
However, I found myself in a real Catch-22 bind. I was in the process of trying to reinvent my life, to reinforce the things that had mattered to me most in my life and also to push into new creative areas. But my fear of my own cramped and crippled state was holding me back from trying. My self-esteem was low, my faith in my own abilities depleted. At first, I was anxious to even pick up my pen. But I forced myself to try anyway. The fact that my book was coming out, a book that described a me I was afraid I wasn’t any more, embarrassed me into trying.
Much to my relief, I found that I could still draw. Sure, I was a little cramped and my ability to concentrate, observe and relax were shaky, like an invalid rising from a long bed rest. But with a week or so, I started to feel like my old self again. Within a month or so, I was moving into new territory. Today, almost two years later, I see that my growth curve is back on track.
Fear is our greatest enemy. And yet it is a product of the very mind it binds. As such, it can be beaten by will — if the will is on the side of health and development.
I am never going to abandon drawing again. And even if I don’t draw for a day, a week, a month or even a year, I know it is always there for me. I can go home again.