Breaking through the boring

NoBloWriMo reminds me of an exercise we did in drawing class. We were told to bring a small, simple object to class. I brought a little stuffed penguin. The girl next to me brought a seashell. The boy across from me, a disposable razor. Then the teacher told us, we could only draw that object the entire quarter. Nothing else. He said, "You're going to get so sick of looking at your object. But just-- stick with it. I think you'll be surprised by what happens." We all exchanged looks of dread.

I can't tell you how dull it was, weeks of looking at the same stupid penguin, stupid drawings of him standing up, lying down, all mind-numbingly lame. And stupid. Then one day, in desperate whimsy, I tossed out a jewel-toned pastel of the penguin lined up with nuns, drenched in stained- glass sunshine. I hate pastels, but I loved that piece. My teacher laughed when he saw it and said, "You're getting there."

Things got easier after that snap of impatient irreverence. A couple weeks later, after I finished a particularly intriguing abstract in shades of grey (actually a closeup of chubby penguin belly, beak, and flipper), he said "There. You got it. Now just keep it up." And he was right. That piece, and the ones I turned out after, were some of the best I've ever done. I still have them.

At the end of the quarter, the teacher told us the point of the exercise wasn't to get really good at drawing one object. It was to force us through the boring. Once you get past the boring, you break through into seeing your object in new ways, ways you'd never thought of if you weren't sick of it.

NaBlo had the same effect on me. I started out writing as usual, just more often.  Then got a little bored and came up with new ways to post, things I don't normally do-- photos, little short quips, even a list. And I whipped out a couple things I was really happy with, that just showed up out of nowhere. I wrote more and edited less. I traveled in directions I would not have gone, except for actively seeking new ways to write.

NotHannah was right. This was fun.

1 comment:

  1. Like, like, l-i-k-e!!!!! Isn't that the fabulous thing about anything artistic???