Ruth Ayres hosts a weekend celebration on her blog. I appreciate this invitation to reflect on the positives of my week.
1. A morning turn-around. Things started out rough around here this morning–or rather, good, then rough, then good, then rough. We managed to go around the entire amusement park within my son’s first ten minutes or so of being awake. I was limbering up (mentally and physically!) in preparation for a very difficult day of trying to help him with his feelings, when he decided to help himself by asking me to make a special breakfast for him and writing me a note about how hard it is sometimes for him to be loved and for him to trust that love but he wants to and he’s trying. He’s been so calm and happy since he wrote that note. It’s so rewarding to see him using his new tools and feeling so proud of himself because he’s choosing to do the work to heal.
2. Doodling. As part of my November experiment with creativity, I’ve been reading Lynda Barry’s books on writing, drawing, and teaching. She writes a lot about how and what we draw as children and why we stop.
I remember drawing all the time when I was a child. I constantly sketched and drew. It never occurred to me that what I was drawing wasn’t any good. Until one day it did, and I stopped drawing. I watched the same thing happen to my son over the past couple of years. Three years ago, he drew all the time. And then one day, he said his drawing wasn’t good. It was a bad drawing. And after that, he drew less and less until he finally stopped altogether.
This week, inspired by Lynda Barry, I’ve doodled.
I’ve found it surprisingly enjoyable. I tend to only put effort and energy into productive things–or into things that I think might lead to something productive. And doodling doesn’t lead to anything. There isn’t anything to do with a doodle after you’ve doodled. (Well, besides take photos of it and post it on my blog.) But there is a calming, meditative quality to doodling. I’m fully present, focusing only on where the line wants to go next.
3. Team sketchbook. I was a bit taken aback on Sunday when my son picked up my sketchbook, grabbed a pen, and started adding to my doodles. I didn’t plan to have a team sketchbook. But that’s what it has become, and it’s absolutely brilliant. He has doodled in my sketchbook nearly every day this week and commented (usually dismissively!) on the quality of my work. But watching me draw seems to give him permission to draw too. Or perhaps he’s inspired by how “bad” my drawings are and believes that his would have to be “better.” Regardless–he has drawn more in the last week than in the past year. He has finished most of my doodles. He has added several pieces of his own. Sometimes he writes me notes and I write him notes back.
5. PiBoIdMo. My husband and I are having fun with Picture Book Idea Month. We have way more than 30 ideas already because I will write basically anything down. There’s no such thing as bad brainstorming in my book: you never know when an idea that shows no promise whatsoever (“Glitter Marshmallows”) might inspire another idea that is actually pretty good. So far, “Glitter Marshmallows” hasn’t inspired anything, but I’m still holding onto hope. Even though there are several very unprepossessing ideas on our list, there are also a few that I’m eager to start working on.