I’ve never liked practice. Life was always better when I was just good at something. When people complimented my natural abilities and stood in awe at how amazing my talents were. All well and good until you’re in your thirties and come to expect some level of mastery by now.
My problem has been that I never narrowed my focus. I went to school and learned a lot about thinking, a lot about words and patterns and writing. And then I graduated and fell out of the habits that served me well while there. I had some babies and got a little sidetracked. But I still have the drive, the need, the creative impulse, and the memory of knowing the mechanics of self expression. But while I may have been born with certain aptitudes and have access to fragments of memories of the education, there are some technical details of skill that can only be mastered by repetition.
It’s like speaking another language. If you stop speaking it for awhile, your vocabulary shrinks.
So I pulled out my new sketchbook after the kids were in bed last night. And I put pen to paper because I needed to start somewhere.
And I absolutely abhor how that ink took shape.
Because what I had in my head and what my hand was able to do were two completely different things. Because I’m totally out of practice. And this is discouraging because I want to be proud of those pages. I want to not be embarrassed if someone picks up my book and flips through it. Which means I have to return to it. To work on it more. To not only draw because I need to exercise the muscles, but also because my hands need to learn to see again.
I feel like I’m starting over from scratch. Like I’m forgetting some crucial part of making lines. I don’t know where the book and art will take me, but I do know that I’ve got to stomp right over the part of me that wants to quit because I’m not as good at it anymore. I’ve got to take a play out of my baby’s playbook and repeat, repeat, repeat and repeat until it comes naturally again. So for now, I’m going to take a deep breath. I will enjoy the motion of the pen, the feel of the page under my fingers, and I will practice. I will look. I will see. And I will rock it!