line drawing

by Kristen

I’ve been drawing the same doodle for twenty-five years. Classmates in junior high, band members in high school, colleagues in work meetings—they’ve all seen it.

It was an assignment in a fifth grade art class: create a pattern of straight lines drawn in triplicate. And I’m still practicing it on to-do lists and meeting agendas.

Each one is unique. The length and angle of the lines are never identical. The spacing varies. But the differences are a bit like the distinctions between snowflakes. No one is going to notice at a glance. They look remarkably the same.

I start with a blank space and pick a place for the first pen stroke. The rest follow. I don’t plan them. I rotate the paper and draw in the next lines that make sense. I don’t know what the finished product will look like. I draw from, not to.

Like writing.

I start with a blank space, and I pick a point from which to start—a word, a phrase, an image in my mind that I put down in words. The rest follows. The end is a mystery when I begin. I write from, not to.

Sometimes something takes shape. The next line makes sense. Other times I work myself into a corner or run up against a conundrum.

But the beauty of working with simple media—lines and words—is that the possibilities are endless. The combinations, the angles, the connections . . . I can wield my pen forever and never discover them all.

So, don’t mind me, I’m waiting to see where the pen will take me today.


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