sex, money, and miscellany: talking about what matters

getting out

In Uncategorized on September 9, 2009 at 8:21 am

…getting out of your head. My therapist (yes, I have a therapist. I think everyone who works with other people’s emotions should have a therapist, but that’s a different post) recommended yesterday that I draw. Draw a lot. Draw with no aim of getting a good picture.

Drawing is hard stuff for me. It doesn’t come easy. I have never naturally translated three dimensions into two. Words work well for me. Sculpture makes sense. Photography works. But drawing is my artistic Achilles heel. Which of course makes it perfect for getting at stuff below the surface, because let’s face it, if you’re trying to make something perfect, you’ll never find out what’s real.

So this morning I got out the crayons and the markers and the big pad of blank paper and I drew. I set aside everything my mother always said about wasting paper and crayons, and drew whatever I wanted to, and when I was done I turned the page and started again. I drew things I recognized and things that had no meaning at all. I used a lot of colors. I used a lot of ink and wax. I even did some wax resist. I drew and drew and I’m pretty sure I’m not done. I’m also pretty sure there’s some painting in me (if anything is worse than drawing it’s painting, but I get some satisfaction from the finished work, so drawing first, painting second).

I still struggled to set aside any kind of meaning-making. But there were a few of those crystalline moments when my head got completely out of the way and I was just making shapes and picking colors, and there it was, the thing I was trying to figure out, right there in the middle of the page. It was the thing that was more important than anything else, and it makes a lot of sense.

Probably would have taken weeks to get there by other means, maybe months. The mind is a nimble and clever thing. What it doesn’t want to know it will refuse to see, over and over and over again. And we are trained to work in media that somehow make sense to us, that are easy for us, that we can bend to our wills. So when you want to know what’s really in there, find something, some art, some self-expression that’s still wild, that has not been inbred until it acts stupid and falls prey to every whim and illness you can produce. Find one that misbehaves, and you will have found your key.

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