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Friday, September 2, 2011

Words and Flowers

This post is a follow up to the previous one, so please, if you are new to my blog, read "Simply Art" first. It's about Paul, the sweet old man who likes to draw flowers. Today Francis, his roommate, told me something I didn't know: When they are at home, Paul spends all his time drawing his little flowers, from morning to night.
"We use up note-books pretty quickly in our home!" she said.
That got me thinking. Paul doesn't seem to draw because he suffers from a compulsive disorder. When he picks up his pen, he's at peace with himself. He draws flowers because that makes him happy. He likes to be told how pretty they are, but he finds pleasure in the simple act of drawing them. In one word, he has a healthy relationship with his flowers, probably one of the few healthy relationships he has ever had in his troubled life. That is how any artist should relate to his art, including me. Old Paul is teaching me a lesson.

As far as painting goes, very rarely I have painted for the sake of it. I've always had a second goal in mind, such as getting good grades, learning a new technique or making money. And I've never been completely satisfied with the result. I always expected something more from myself, or something different. This attitude has prevented me from finding real joy in my work. I don't want to make the same mistakes with writing.

When I was working on my book, I felt more "whole" than I had ever felt while painting. Nevertheless, when I was finished I put my manuscript away and never wrote again until I started this blog. Why? Because I though of it as an "unproductive" activity. But then I learned that even my little stories can speak to the depth of the human soul. A friend of mine told me that she made it up with her son, to whom she hadn't talked for years, after listening to my "Witness for CL" (check the page on this blog), and that made my day. Still, when after writing the first two posts I saw that no one was leaving comments, I was tempted to stop again. Why writing if nobody is reading me? Because, I should answer, it's good for me. It helps me reflect upon things that would otherwise go unnoticed. It brings me closer to my "I" and to Christ. It gives me joy. But, if you are reading me and don't feel like leaving a comment, please click on one of the boxes below. Like Paul, I too need a little encouragement!

Maybe I find writing more fulfilling than painting also because I believe that words are at the root of everything.
"In the beginning was the Word…"
Our universe is made of words, for we couldn't describe what we see without them. Like God, we create our world through words. Yet, Paul's flowers are the product of a humble creative act performed in the sacredness of silence. I couldn't tell you about them without resorting on words; that much is true, but those flowers speak directly to my heart. I asked him to give me one of his drawings and I put it on my desk, to remind myself that beauty can be found in the smallest and simplest things, if one looks closely enough. Then I volunteered to show him how to draw a butterfly. He smiled and accepted the offer. I'll let you know how it goes.