Sketching my hand each day has given me a bit of routine and structure during a time when it’s easy to forget what day it is (thank goodness for the trash pickup, which is still every Thursday). Many writers and other creatives start their day by writing “morning pages” in the Julia Cameron tradition. Like writing morning pages, my daily hand sketch clears my mind while also giving me time to reflect if I’m ready to.
On one morning my thoughts were of my parents and how they must have felt when they were hauled away and incarcerated during the second world war. Fear, anxiety, helplessness, not knowing how long it would last (several years, it turned out) – it must have been unbearable. And yet bear it they did and continued on. Sketching in my perfectly comfortable, well-heated home, all my belongings easily accessible, I felt the weight of what they must have endured and realized that my troubles are insignificant by comparison. I’m grateful that they didn’t have to endure this, too.
Another day I started feeling lazy and was tempted to scribble the wrinkles and creases in my hand. Then I remembered Melanie Reim’s advice when I took her workshop a few years ago: “Make every mark meaningful.” It doesn’t take much more time to make marks that are meaningful instead of random, but to do so requires observing more closely – and that’s never a waste. I was grateful to have received and retained that lesson.