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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Following Thomas's suggestions, I have looked at my hand a bit. Now the first thing that is obvious is that, even though I can't draw worth beans, I can easily see what mistakes I've made. In other words, I have the ability to look analytically and see what I've done wrong. The flatter hand drawn underneath the one with the prominent thumb has a ring finger thicker than the middle finger, when my hand is not like that at all. The sleeve of my shirt and sport-coat is all wrong, etc...

I could obviously practice until I got to where the errors were not so blatant. I could use a pencil and erase and re-redraw. I could study books on drawing or take lessons. A lot of this is straightforward.

It seems to me, though, that my perception that the drawing is not how I want it to be is primary. Everything else, all other efforts to improve, depend on that. It is said you can't edit your own writing, and it is true that another set of eyes might see something I don't, or correct errors invisible to my own eyes. But suppose I were an expert draughtsman: then I would also be even better at seeing and correcting what I've done wrong. An editor who is a much worse writer than I am is not likely to help me much, because I've already seen obvious things and corrected them. My first "sketch" is also going to be better with more practice.

It seems, too, that you should be able to sketch out in words what you want to say even if you know you will change them later, and that your sketching will be useful to yourself.


Thomas said...

Thanks for this. I'm drawing hands again too now. One a day.

Jonathan said...

You should post one and then post one every month for a year, to track your improvement.