Friday, October 21, 2011


My children are too young to be aware of most boundaries.  They have to be taught to watch for cars when crossing the street, to not touch things that are boiling hot, to not hit or spit or kick or generally abuse people, to eat something other than sugar, and to wait their turn and to share.  And when confronted with a coloring book, it does not even occur to them that the random lines on the page, which may or may not look like Barney or Dora or Woody, represent some sort of boundary they should respect.  They are still at the age where they scribble.  Scribble with enthusiasm and speed and absolutely no judgment.

  They actually don't even seem to care about the finished picture at all, they just love the feeling of intensely scribbling their hands back and forth, and the more colors the better.

Well, my goodness, when did I lose that ability?  To not care about the boundaries of what I'm "supposed to" do in life and especially in creating?  To blithely disregard the black lines someone else imposed on my blank page?  To not care what I ended up with, to just revel in the feeling of moving my hands without preconception, to drink in color, and luxuriate in the process of creating?  I certainly recognize the necessity and desirability to train my children to be a part of society.  But what I would like to preserve, and what I would like to recover in myself, is the complete unselfconscious joy of the scribble.  The lack of criticism, the abandon, and the satisfaction they clearly feel is so precious, and I want to protect that for them.  And I want to recapture it for myself again, and I want it for you.  So this week, scribble.  I mean literally scribble.  Take a giant piece of white paper and a box of crayons or colored pencils or paints, and just let your arm make giant unformed loops, and scribble the paper hard in one place until you rip through it, and then smear everything and allow whatever else you have an impulse to do.  Let yourself scribble and create without once caring about the finished picture.  Then tear out a small portion of it, and put it somewhere you will see it every day, as a reminder.  Then every time you see it, attempt to scribble that moment in your life too.  Ignore the expectations someone else imposes and just create that moment.  Make your life free, joyous, and full of color.  Scribble!

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