“A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.” -Paul Klee
This week I did something I haven’t done in a long time: I drew. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve put a pencil on paper fairly regularly in the last years. I’ve made grocery lists. I’ve written poems. I’ve filled in o’s. I’ve even, a few times, made funny faces on post it notes to put on someone’s window. But on Monday, I drew.
My friend helped me. She teaches art. I kept getting frustrated, kept getting lost, kept feeling like I was at a dead end. I like sculptures, I like words; it’s nice to be around things whose language you speak, but with a pencil, I’m a baby spitting up on myself. Sometimes my friend asked me to look at the values on my page, at the values in the shoe I was drawing. Mostly, when I asked “What do I do now,” she just said, “Keep drawing.”
I remember my dad asking me to go walk with him. I always wanted to know how far, and even if I knew how far and agreed, I wanted to get there and get back. I don’t think those were really walks. Since then, sometimes, I’ve found myself out on the beach or under the trees. I’ve found myself listening to a friend’s ideas, or watching how the ice melts, or gathering the cold in my hands. I’ve gone for a walk, not knowing where or when it ends, but following it.
I think that’s how walks work. If Klee’s to be trusted, that’s how drawings work. Just now there are puddles in the woods near my house. Just today a friend came to see me, and our conversation stepped from thought to thought. Just now there’s time and space to walk.