MY JUNE GOALS FOR LIFE FULFILLMENT
1. Draw something every day
2. Learn about art
3. Read blogs and learn how to promote my own blog
P.S. My flash fiction piece just published at Compose Journal only takes five minutes to read!
I was going through boxes of old crap last year, and I found some surprising items. One was a pencil sketch of a house in my old neighborhood in Roanoke, Virginia. Another was a self portrait of me at thirteen, done in colored chalk. A third was a drawing of my friend Nikki, asleep on my old porch. They were all surprisingly good. Not good as in, wow, I should have gone to art school – dear God, nothing like that. But the drawings were good for someone who thinks she can’t draw at all. Turns out, I can draw. Or, at least, there was a point in time when I actually tried.
I spend a lot of time on the computer. I’m on Skype for three hours a day, tutoring ESL to Ukrainians. Then I write math curriculum for an hour or two, which is also done on the computer. And, of course, I write stories, poems, and chapters of my novel. I write blog posts and submit pieces to literary magazines. I do research, read other blogs, place holds on books at the library. All of these things are done on my computer.
So when the day is over and I want to relax, the last thing I want to do is look at a screen.
Reading, writing, math, language: these are analytic, left-brain skills. I know that the whole left-brain/right-brain thing has been exaggerated by popular culture, but still, there are certainly parts of my brain I’m not exercising, and they are the parts largely associated with the right brain: music, spacial awareness, visual imagery, intuition. When writing I sometimes I have trouble describing my characters and their surroundings because I have can’t quite picture them in my mind. I don’t have an artist’s brain.
And so, when I was thinking about hobbies I could take up that don’t involve computer screens, I thought of the visual arts. My brother, Deven Langston, and some of my best friends, like Christopher Carroll, are amazing artists. I enjoy going to galleries and museums, and I always wish I could speak more intelligently about art. I don’t intend to become an artist myself (I truly don’t have enough interest or talent for that), but I think learning about art and making some attempts at drawing would be good for me. Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, says that by simply doing a drawing every day, you can tap into the unused right side of your brain.
I think back to myself as a kid – that kid who made the surprisingly good sketches. Back then I hadn’t yet decided “this is who I am” and “this is what I’m good at.” Back then, I was still dipping into all the parts of my brain, trying to figure myself out. Sometimes I felt like drawing, so I did. I didn’t worry that I was wasting time. I didn’t worry that my drawings were no good.
I’m excited about making a drawing every day this month. I’m looking forward to closing my lap top at night, turning on some music, and putting pencil to paper. I’m looking forward to accessing a part of my brain that has been collecting cobwebs. Whether I actually end up strengthening my right brain skills, or if it’s simply a different way to relax, I have no doubt that this practice will be beneficial somehow.