To Write or To Draw

Almost two years have passed since I published a simple word or thought through A Bohemian Girl. This does not mean that I have not written other things. Grocery Lists. Emails. Letters. Notes. Journal entries on smooth white, lined paper. Long, elaborate texts. Facebook updates. Twitter.

There are a variety of approaches to writing: creative, editorial, scientific, to name a few. And I have always enjoyed blogging – as I wrote quite frequently on my previous “A Bohemian Girl” site – but there came a time when my life started to get complicated and I, in turn, ceased to put pen to paper (or in this case, fingers to computer keyboard.) I cannot blame anyone, but myself for my lack of time spent writing; time spent contemplating life or my sense of self; chronicling my daily (or weekly) activities; or expressing my thoughts and opinions.

When I was in France in May of 2009, I spent a great deal of time journaling in a number of notebooks that I collected on my month travel around the country. It felt wonderful sitting in Parisian cafés that once served patrons such as Ernest Hemmingway, Jean Paul Satré, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Lee Miller and Kiki of Montparnasse, among other writers, artists, models, philosophers and general wanderers. In Paris – or cities with similar histories – one can get lost in the romance of the place.

There, I wrote about being away from Los Angeles; about becoming reacquainted with my European upbringing and roots; about a script that had been running through my head; about love and heartache; about the food; about the French; about my desire to return to live in Paris part-time; and about my dream of being a filmmaker.

I have always used journaling – and now blogging – as an outlet. Great writers – like the amazing Virginia Woolf, who is by far my favorite writer – have used diaries as a way of not only expressing their literary and artistic selves, but also as a way of expelling their emotional burdens. I find writing to be an amazing way to “let go” and I am always interested in looking back over time to see how life affected me. In the future, my carefully chosen words will remind me about how happy I felt about my new love, photography. Today, I can look back and see how my life changed only days after my best friend Amanda suddenly passed away.

After my trip to France, I knew that life had to change, but I did not know how. I did not know how I was going to recapture something I felt I had once lost a long time ago – a sense of self that had become foreign to me. Somehow, I must have put it out into the Universe that I knew that everything was different, but I had no idea how to manifest a 180-degree about face; however, change quickly found me.

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Below is a re-print of my August 11, 2007 blog entry entitled: “To Draw or Not To Draw.”

There is nothing like the craftsmanship of a firm, leather bound journal. You crack open the pages and you hear the crinkle as they become unstuck. Putting pen to page, you think about what you want to write. To write in such a beautiful journal – like Hemmingway and Greene – you cannot be wasteful with your words. It’s an art form in many ways. You don’t just rip out a page and start afresh. They are expensive books. They are heavy books.

When I was seventeen (when the sketch of the woman was done) I went to Rhode Island School of Design for the Pre-College Summer Program and found myself in paradise. Eight-hour studio classes drawing nude models all day and being surrounded finally by like-mined teenagers was bliss. I never wanted to go back home or to my stuffy prep school. NEVER!

Sketchbooks, journals, and notebooks. These are some of my favorite things.

When I wasn’t writing, I used to also carry a sketchbook around with me and would draw almost daily, filling the books with sketches of my classmates, of my school buildings, copying photographs and pictures in magazines. Kids used to say they didn’t understand me: “You’re in 3 varsity sports, you’re an artist and we find you reading Shakespeare in a tree!” So, I was the weird kid.

Sketch of A Woman (1996)

But those days of drawing every day in my sketchbook did end, although I have thought about taking that back up over and over again. It’s therapeutic and I think if you have a natural talent for something, you shouldn’t let it go to waste.

Virginia Woolf (1999)

But I guess when you really focus on one thing, like anything, other things get left at the wayside. Things get left behind and you have to figure out how to incorporate those things you love back into your life before you loose them forever. They’re like friends that you don’t want to loose touch with. I guess that’s one reason why art always finds a way into my stories. I have to have it around me. It’s all over my walls. I see it everyday. I read about it. I make sure it surrounds me in my life. It’s in me. I might as well make sure it comes out of me again.

One thought on “To Write or To Draw

  1. Well I thank you for writing your thoughts about “To Write or to Draw”. I am not a blogger or blog follower myself and think way too many that are out there are unnecessary. However, doing a google search for sketched image I came across this entry and read it. I am a designer who is just getting back to his arts roots with hopes to leave the design world for my real passion. After 14 years I have recently picked my sketches books back up and put a pencil in my hand, not a mechanical pencil. I find your following comment to be very true:
    “But I guess when you really focus on one thing, like anything, other things get left at the wayside. Things get left behind and you have to figure out how to incorporate those things you love back into your life before you loose them forever.”

    And I found several others comments to be my exact sentiments right now:
    “It’s therapeutic and I think if you have a natural talent for something, you shouldn’t let it go to waste.”
    “It’s in me. I might as well make sure it comes out of me again.”

    I guess I am saying thanks for your words. I find then very timely and encouraging. I hope you find the time (make the time) to do those things you love as well.

    Peace,
    ChRis

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