In the midst of a personal renaissance

I write this without some invisible force holding me back.

That's what writing had been like this past year. This: "I need to be a writer because I've been a writer since eighth grade and that's what I need to be doing, but I'm not doing it. What's wrong with me?"

Nothing. The idea that I needed to sit with the same transcript over and over and over again perfecting it just lost its gleam. Sure I've written novels, and they're not as polished as they should be, but the idea of re-entering the same room over and over again, rearranging and dusting just stopped me from actually enjoying it.

I don't want to give up on the stories, but my lack of movement got me too stagnant to create. No offshoots.

Small sketches, vignettes, new characters, and practice have all the movement I desire right now.

Lately, I've been drawn (no pun) to sketching what it's front of me. I'm not the biggest fan of still life -- probably because I'm not good at it, but I feel like drawing anything in front of me that's not moving can help me with shape and dimension, and if it can look somewhat like that thing, pride swells within me, and I say to myself, "Well, look at that. It's okay that I'm not writing right now because I can kind of do this artist thing."

During spring break, the only thing I really wanted to do when I visited one of my favorite spots (Battery Park) was sit down and sketch out one of the oak trees. Their branches twist splendidly. Days before, I purchased a set of sketch pencils and I ached to to use the 6B.

The higher the B, the softer the lead, and the pencil glides like a paintbrush. Swish your palm across the drawings and all those lines smear.

And so I was able to sit and draw a favorite type of tree, but I also took my notebook and those pencils to beach to see what else I could come up with.