Thursday, December 13, 2007


Now I know, at least a little bit, why I am so resistant to drawing and painting. Once I start, I find it difficult to stop.

This morning, when I woke up at 4 a.m. which has been my chosen waking time recently, it occurred to me that, as with my yoga practice and my blog/writing practice, if I don't make time in the morning to draw, the chances of doing a daily drawing practice diminish as the day progresses. So, a complication arises. I want to do yoga, writing and drawing, but once I start drawing I don't want to stop to do writing and yoga. Actually, it's not that I don't want to do writing and yoga, it's that I need to figure out how to stop drawing in time to do writing and yoga before I enter the responsibilities of the day.

My drawing today is based on a recurring dream that was dreamed once again last night just after I first fell asleep. Ever since sometime in 1970, when my boyfriend was in Vietnam and I was living in my parents' home, I have had a recurring dream that has taken many forms over the years. In the original dream, I was startled awake by a Viet Cong who was lunging towards me, trying to kill me. It took a few seconds for me to realize that I was dreaming because the vision of someone beside my bed was so vivid. My heart was beating in that frightened way that sounds as if everyone in the house can hear it. It took some time before I was able to return to sleep. I was afraid that my boyfriend had died in Vietnam.

It was only in the first dream that the person was a Viet Cong. In the recurring dreams, the shadowy figure by my bed has taken many forms, usually as a man, but also as an unidentifiable woman, as my mother, as my father, as a quiet curious child I don't know, as a dog, as a wolf, as a fox, as a cat. Usually the figure is threatening my life, but occasionally it has not been threatening. On the occasions when the figure is not threatening, I still wonder what it is doing in my bedroom. Always there is the loud racing heartbeat. Over the years, the fear became mixed with anger at the dream appearance of someone uninvited, no matter now benign they might be.

At one time I had hoped that I would never have this dream again, believing that when I stopped having the dream it would mean that something in my psyche was healed, but gradually I came to see this dream as an unusual gift. I am struck by the fact that it occurred again on the night before I planned to start drawing again and that this time there were two people, a man and a woman.

Although the dream was of the frightening kind, when I tried to draw it a shift occurred, and it became "Before, During And After The War."

Now it's almost 7 a.m. The sun won't rise this morning until nearly 8:30. Time to do my yoga practice. Not sure how I will be able to do yoga, writing and drawing once I start my 8 a.m. classes in January, but anything is possible.

Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to draw something today!

The photo below was taken through my living room window on a cold clear morning before sunrise a few days ago.

A Lifeline Home


wood s lot.


Anonymous said...

I find that, too, Old Girl; the hesitancy to draw 'cause it may eat up too much time. For me there doesn't seem to be a formulaic solution. Sometimes I don't know 'til pencil hits paper that there's something else I truly must take care of first. But, hey, a desultory doodle is better than nothing.
"Before..." is very good, to me. Very evocative; feels like the dream you describe. Good job.
I read somewhere long ago, that the place in the brain that produces depression is very close to the part that produces creativity, so close that the two may stimulate each other(they thought that might have been Van Gogh's problem),so a disturbing dream may be a good sign for an artist...?

am said...

a. decker -- Thanks for the reminder that drawing something is better than drawing nothing. I forget that. Definitely takes the pressure off. :-)

I appreciate your thoughts about today's drawing. Have you read Van Gogh's letters to his brother, Theo? Those letters make it clear how deep a commitment a person can make to a life of drawing and painting.

Zhoen said...