Random Thoughts

Drawing as the path to writing

... following the path from drawing will lead to writing

by Ed Boyd

This Friday I will take the third session of Drawing The Human Figure that I signed up for. Last term I took a Drawing Process course with Sheila Rice, both at Cambridge Center For Adult Education. Both are fascinating, soothing, exhilarating, if all this can be imagined at once. So far Iím very clumsy at the literal demands of drawing figures from live nude male and female models. Iíll be disappointed if Iím not more accomplished by the tenth and final session.

Almost in the middle of my 70th year, I must ask myself why Iím doing this? Having retired from full time work in 1995, I have discovered that empty space breedís anxiety. Finding interesting ways to ward off the grasp of unease is an active way to combat it. To say that learning to draw is ďinterestingĒ is an understatement. Deliberately putting oneself in a completely alien atmosphere is intimidatingly interesting. The pay-off is trying something totally new heads off doldrums.

Also, I knew I had read somewhere that learning to draw may inform writing. Yesterday I stumbled on where I had read that idea. A Carol Kloss memoir, FAT, was published in SURVIVING CRISIS: twenty prominent authors write about events that shaped their lives.* In the lead-in to that essay Carol Kloss says, ďThe best thing I ever did for my development as a writer was to learn to draw. Drawing training, done well, enables writers to recognize the perceptual shift that allows them to really see details and frees them from their conscious mind.Ē

So my venture into drawing has me anticipating the potential enrichment of my writing. Iím not sure how this will work or how it might appear. Maybe one day I will look up from my writing and breathlessly discover a sentence worthy of Carver, Cheever, Welty, Steinbeck, Trevor ...

*c. 1997, Edited by Lee Gutkind, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York.

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