only a few blank pages at the back,
and they will probably be all mucked up
with ink, paint, angst and ideas,
some time next week.
between the one I'm about to start
about the one I'm about to finish
make me both proud and wistful:
proud that, despite myriad days in which there is nothing to say,
something usually, amazingly, still shows up;
wistful in that once a book is put 'on the shelf
I rather miss the comics I've done.
(plus it's harder to flip back to check when I last washed the sheets).
or even particularly good.
They are just there.
And what is precious, at least to me,
is the simple usefulness
of seeing my thoughts
in the moment
Golly, is that really how I feel?
I had no idea.
Gee -- I had such a hard time learning that tune --
and now, finally, here it is under my fingers!
Or maybe not.
At least not today.
Or comics, really.
Bookbinding is the topic at hand.
though I'm not a particularly good book binder.
Adequate at best.
But truth to tell,
my limited skills suit me down to the ground.
The last thing I want
is for these diaries to feel precious
before I use them.
If they got too fancy, I might be intimidated.
Accidentally tear a piece of paper the wrong direction?
Put it in somewhere.
Head off backpacking
with a single-signature sketchbook?
Stitch it in when I get home.
in a Moleskine I got an an airport
on the way to a teaching gig
about which I had a lot of feelings,
(travel is not my thing).
For a long time, the practice
felt so fragile that I was loathe to do anything
(like use nicer paper)
that might cause me to pause,
so I stuck with the Moleskins till I had ten filled up.
Draw something, anything,
was my motto.
So what if you only have three minutes.
and for a long time I insisted that the pages
have something else already on them --
lines, or dots or squares --
as though the drawings were mere accidents.
If I spent too much time on them
I feared I'd develop expectations,
And the practice evolved
between one day
and the next,
I added color.
This might have been because there were no lines on the pages,
or because my friend Jodi had just sent me
the worlds' most adorable handmade watercolor paint set.
Whatever the reason, I didn't dare to question it,
But within a few months,
ZOUNDS! How brave.
But really, how long does it take
to trust a new habit?
about the power of Small Habits .
As a creature of habit myself
it resonated strongly, and made me so grateful
that somehow, over time,
I've managed to carve out bits of time
in which to add new things into my life.
Not all at once of course.
Indeed, NEVER all at once.
But slowly, gently, in teensy bite sized portions.
Spinning Yarn, beginning in 1982 --
at 4 AM mind you, before barn-building began for the day
(or cooking for the hunters, or haying, or whatever).
Tapestry Weaving in 1989
(an hour a day, max, while my infant slept),
Running in 1995
(again -- early morning ).
Four Selvedge Tapestry -- gosh, can't remember the year
but my kid was definitely in school for part, or most of the day.
(my son sent a Youtube link, I was intrigued,
but made sure not a soul could see me take my shoes off that first time)
Comic Diary --November 2012
Color and INK -- October 2016
Color and Ink AND Coptic Sketchbook -- August 2017
(a baby habit still -- but the thicker pages fill up fast so it looks like a lot)
Geez. 36 years and that's all I've learned?
We all learn stuff all the time--
sometimes to please other people,
sometimes to survive in the world,
sometimes to write a blog post when the program has changed,
sometimes because there will be a test
(after which one can often forget it completely).
But 36 years of choosing to learn things
that no one else gives a damn about?
That feels good.
that the things that have stuck
have involved a gentle sort of learning:
inner permission be curious--
to start small--
to keep it private --
to take whatever time it takes--
to figure out which techniques and processes suit me--
to stick with those for a while--
(what it is about that material or technique
that makes it compelling and/or pleasurable--
since they don't always go together)--
to refine skills over time as needed.
Really, if no one else gives a damn,
how you learn
is no one's business
we were asked how a gal could make time for tapestry.
I blathered on then about something or other -
but what I meant to say,
was that the only way
to make something happen
(even when it is hard
is to begin
whatever it is
in whatever way
No fanfare needed.
check out the sketchbook tab
on the archive list on the right
(or underneath this on a phone).
pps. also, Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird.