Responding to Circumstance
Since I was a kid I’ve kept a journal and a sketchbook; now I am also glued to a weekly planner. It seems I have a consistent desire to keep track of and manage time. I also think that someday I may want to look back to see where I’ve come from. Kind of like how I’ve always been taught to have a sketchbook because it keeps your drawings all in one place, so you can view your progress.
Lately I’ve been experimenting with mixing my journal and sketchbook together into more of a visual journal or “observation book” (what I’m calling it for now). I like to use a 5″ x 8″ spiral bound sketchbook and any black roller pen…pencil crayons are nice too. I may include several aspects of my life in this book (besides just the usual “self analyzing”); such as, the weather, the title of the book I’m reading, a recent dream, something my son said etc.. I may just sketch something that’s in front of me, or capture a sudden idea for a painting or art class. Another thing I’ve heard of others doing, is keeping it positive and writing things that you are thankful for. I find this “observation book” much more interesting to look back on than my usual written journal.
When I was in Atlin in 1998, taking a course called “Idea and the Creative Process”, the teacher was forever telling us the importance of “responding”, his Austrian accent emphasizing the “ing”. This word often just jumps into my head for no reason: “responding”. Since then I’ve noticed that to respond to life’s opportunities and lessons you need some increased level of awareness, which also brings confidence. The more aware you are, the more you are able to respond; and the more you respond, the more aware you become.
So back to the sketchbook/journal – I think more importantly than a planner (that I noticed kids get given in school starting grade 1), is one book where you can write and draw everything you notice or are learning. This would foster the understanding that things are interconnected and encourage one to be more in the moment. I’m thinking this may be a good thing to try in my kids art classes: they are all getting “observation books” this year.
I recently read in the Globe and Mail, in an article about finding your dream job, that to be successful it was important to “make decisions on your environment, not your plan”. To me this means not blindly adhering to a pre-conceptualized idea, but with awareness, responding to the circumstances that presently surround you…perhaps an “observation book” in tow.