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Lessons from the sketchbook

January 12, 2011

One thing I love about keeping records of any kind is getting to look back and see a big picture view of my life. Tonight I was looking back through the big sketchbook and noticed something interesting.

Many of you know I was in a car accident about a month ago. I’m a little tired of talking about it so I won’t describe it here except to say that I shouldn’t have survived it. I expected after such an experience to have a time of taking inventory — deciding what things in my life are important and consciously deciding to focus on those things. That never happened. Instead what I found was that it had happened without thinking about it. Some things were less valuable to me overnight, while my investment in other things increased without thought.

For years I have dreamed of “being an artist” and “making art,” but the effort I spent dreaming and planning was never matched by action. It was my biggest shortcoming in art school — a sketchbook loaded with good ideas, and an empty workbench.

Today I flipped through the sketchbook and made an encouraging discovery. For months, my sketchbook pages are full of thoughts, quotes, scripture, and bits of ephemera glued in between all the words. I could flip for pages without finding a drawing, but every paragraph was full of longing to create. Then came the brief paragraph I wrote on the day I came home from ICU. On the next pages a startling shift happens. Almost every page has a drawing. There are sketches of everything from my husband to my alarm clock, and the paragraphs are full of life and beauty.

Having almost lost it all, being myself suddenly doesn’t seem like so much of a risk.

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One Response to “Lessons from the sketchbook”

  1. Megan Wingard Says:

    This is a very striking entry to me. I’m going through the same process, only it was my sister in the car, and she didn’t make it. I’ve been in a creative rut for a long time, but my little black sketchbook is suddenly like yours, filling up with drawings.


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