I started to fill the last page in my sketchbook yesterday. This one will have words on it as none of the others do. The same words that title this blog. I have two new sketchbooks that should be arriving this afternoon. And I look forward to filling them and being just as surprised as I have been with each new page. Perhaps these new pages will have words on them as well as images, bits of poetry, partial quotes, and other things. I won’t know until I get there and begin.
When I realized that I had gotten to the last page, I knew that I needed to honor that actuality. And I let the sketchbook alone for a couple of days before I decided how to do that. I didn’t know how the words would go on the page, but when I heard them in my head, I knew they were the right ones. Strangely enough, I did that at a small family gathering, held in honor of Labor Day and the end of summer. Also appropriate in my mind.
I only had enough time to print the words when one person, then another, stepped over to see what I was doing. A very interesting conversation followed. How did I get started doing this? Have I now given up writing to pursue this new interest? Where do all the ideas come from? And how someone else would never be able to do that because it took way too much concentration and patience. I never got back to that final page, but have it to look forward to today. Again, very appropriate, in my mind.
The ending of one thing, often means the beginning of something else. But, it doesn’t necessarily have to be so. I have no intention of giving up my writing and it looks as though it will become another step in my pictorial journey. The two will blend and become something more than either was alone. I particularly like that idea. Expansion, rather than a choice to eliminate one or the other.
I also find it absolutely delightful that the idea occurred as I was finishing the first sketchbook and looking forward to the new ones that will be arriving. Haven’t mentioned this yet, but I was surfing the net the other day and hit on an idea for a whole different set of images for one of those new sketchbooks. It would be a series. Similar to what I’ve been doing, but different and distinct. I will have two new sketchbooks and two new roads to travel down while exploring this new place I have entered. Am definitely looking forward to both of them.
If we look at the ending of something as no more than that, all we will experience is the loss. It might be a necessary loss, but it doesn’t have to be only that. There are always lessons to be learned from every experience we encounter. Yes, even the death of a loved one who has been extremely important to our existence.
When I was much younger, I dreaded the knowledge that my father would have to one day pass away and no longer be a part of my landscape. He taught me a great deal about life and I wasn’t sure I could continue if he was not here with his gentle and loving encouragement. He died over twenty years ago, and his passing was a tremendously spiritual experience for me.
Having written about him and our relationship, I know that he continues to encourage and support me, teaching me gently as he always did. And those lessons will stand me in good stead as I face the loss of my other parent, as well as those of others I care deeply about.
Loss always has some amount of pain to accompany it. But pain can be expressed in so many ways and they don’t have to be negative or destructive. Writing through the pain, drawing its contours, giving it shape and meaning can be healing and life affirming. That is a necessary part of our growth process.
I felt sad for the gentleman who told me he could never do what I was doing in my sketchbook. He was determined to close himself off from that experience, even though he asked more, and deeper probing questions about the process than anyone else did. He simply kept shaking his head no, when I explained that mistakes were simply opportunities to go in a new and unexplored direction, mumbling about “how that would never do.”
I was very tempted to tell him of a phrase that someone had told me they had found on a t-shirt recently. One I agreed with and was tickled with enough to find out where I might get the t-shirt. “Yes, I have character flaws and I know how to use them.” But, at that point, he hit the last and final page of my sketchbook that he had been paging through. He looked at the words and said, “The End. That’s appropriate,” and went on to talk of other things.