Drawing a Blank

Speedy's Pizza, Sylva, NC
Speedy’s Pizza, Sylva, NC

Every time I come to write, this blank page causes me to draw a blank. If I was as devoted to the practice of art as my artist friend Robert Rhodes, I would draw something (besides a blank). Another artist friend of mine tells me to just draw anything. Of course, Pamela Haddock is a prolific and great painter who encourages anyone who wants to paint. She doesn’t say to compare my art to hers, only to show up to the canvas. Any writer teaching about writing says to just sit down and write. Show up! The same is true in all art, you have to show up. When the artist, writer, musician, believer, etc. doesn’t show up, nothing can happen.

The artist Degas, said that when he was beginning his craft, his master painter talked to him about drawing lines. Always draw lines. Or in Degas’s own words:

“Make a drawing, begin it again, trace it; begin it again and trace it again.” (Edgar Degas)

We all have to start where we are. What am I here for in this place, now? If there is an art I want to pursue, what does it mean for me to show up to that art? What does it mean to show up for my vocation? My family? The goals or people that matter most to me?

While this won’t be one of my best posts, I had to start to blog again. I needed a picture and chose one that was fun. While I’m not brave enough to share my doodles, I even drew some items on a blank sheet of paper after mentioning Rhodes’ name. He inspires me because he is consistently showing up for his art AND he’s brave enough to share those drawings/paintings with us. I also found out that he writes! More inspiration. Who are the people who inspire you?

One of the reasons a blank page is so hard is that a blank page forces us to reach into the depths of our being. Sometimes there’s nothing to be said. That’s okay. Write it, paint it, pray it, and let it go. It’s the process of showing up that matters. We don’t all want to be famous and success is only a “success” when it makes you happy or fulfilled. To be faced with a blank anything causes us to feel vulnerable. That’s not a bad thing, even if it’s a scary thing. All we have to do is be brave and show up. Okay, and START.

I had no idea what I was going to write when I started this blog. I only knew that I had to be brave enough to start it with something and also have the courage to let you see that I don’t know what I’m doing. Yet, it makes me happy to write. Even if no one reads this blog, it makes me happy. Why? I didn’t just show up to this blank page. I showed up for myself.

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
― Brené Brown

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead


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