I was feeling angry and despondent yesterday, and I drew these two cactus plants on our back porch and immediately felt a little bit better. (Drawing is part of a cure.)
In this video, John Green talks about drawing and productivity and thinking about time and why he’s attempting to draw 170,000 circles. My friend @craghead, one of my favorite drawers, had a great response:
I love that he talks about drawing as more than representing – as a process, as discovery, as a battery recharger…. My wife says to me – “Go draw something” and then I draw a leaf or a synth or something and I fell better. Even drawing Trump helps. We are so lucky to have drawing.
There’s an essay in Zadie Smith’s Intimations called “Something To Do,” in which she thinks about why she writes. She comes around to this very simple truth: “It’s something to do.”
Of the pandemic and lockdown, Smith writes, “The rest of us have been suddenly confronted with the perennial problem of artists: time, and what to do with it… There is no great difference between novels and banana bread. They are both just something to do.”
On a recent episode of Call Your Girlfriend, however, Smith says she discovered that writing was more than a hobby — Can you imagine? Being Zadie Smith and still thinking of writing as a hobby? — it’s something she needs to do to stay alive.
I, too, am grateful to have something to do, whether it’s making a zine or drawing a cactus or writing this blog. Like Smith, I am not by my nature an activist, and so, as she puts it: “I just do the thing I can do.” The work in front of me.