Drawing For The Life Of Me

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Knowing that I’d be swamped
with work today, I decided to jump-start the morning with a visit to one of my favorite sites, Everyday Matters. Even though I do not know him personally, D. Gregory hits a spot today. He encourages people to keep on drawing—every day, anywhere you can swing it.

For years I have always been a scribbler and a doodler, but the habit has a way of disappearing on me when I’m busy. In my life, that means two or so years of being “busy” with the pursuit of this and that, things that turn out to be inconsequential after time and hindsight have rendered judgment. Drawing for me is a way of encapsulating ideas, making a little visual to better capture the essence of things. When I was in advertising I was quick to do rough little sketches (they were called thumbnails then) to better explain concepts. But back then, unsure of my skills, I would leave the actual fleshing out so to speak, of these concepts to my artists.

Now though, that I have strayed into technical writing (better pay, can you imagine), I‘ve loosened up a bit—away from the pressures of a deadline-rooted job, I have finally gone back to the habit of doodling and scribbling bits and pieces here and there. In a coffee shop I’d grab a napkin and draw steam rising from mugs or an interesting pattern on the ceiling. I have Post-Its with grocery lists and various lines of poems-in-progress, or drawings of vegetables. There is a particularly lovely bunch of asparagus in my fridge that I’m aching to draw. I wrote almost all of the lines of my poem, The Crab Gatherers, on my mobile phone when inspiration struck at 3AM.

I like the seemingly secret act of doodling away, since I seldom show my drawings to anybody. But I don’t hide them either, hence this blog. Just yesterday a girl from the office passed by my cube and saw drawings of a bag and the linen-on-the-laundry-line illustration I used for my May 3 blog. She asked who did the drawings, and what were they for. I told her I did them, “just because.” She looked puzzled. Fun things don’t need a reason for being, I think.

My regret is that I haven’t kept any of my drawings—or maybe I should start rummaging in those boxes I have stored at home. Who knows what surprises and sudden turns of memory I’ll find there.
D. Gregory is right; the purpose of drawing should be to celebrate life,

“No matter how small or mundane or redundant, each drawing and little essay you write to commemorate an event or an object or a place makes it all the more special.”

I took a long rest from celebrating my life everyday. I forgot about it, and I forgot to renew sources of creativity, humor, and well, abundance. Sometimes you get stuck in the muck so long it becomes somewhat of a comfort to just stay there. Sad, but true. I want to get away from this attitude, and feed the creativity that drives me. I find that indeed, in the mundane there is not just beauty, but a tinkle or two of laughter.

Before migrating to this city I used to hang out with several friends who are accomplished artists. Over beer, while listening to them talk about their typical days spent painting, working with clay, or doing installations, I would think, how fortunate to be able to create something everyday. How stimulating to be surrounded by a profusion of different colors, textures, smells—ideas swirling merrily in the air.

I remember I used to have a little black book in which among the scribbles, doodles, random lists, phone numbers, and errands I wrote, perhaps only half-aware, Ars longa, vita brevis. Indeed, “Art is long, life is short.” One may not run out of ideas, but run out of time. Before that happens, I’d like to take in and pen down as much as I can.


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