AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

The relentless urge to draw and doodle and write



I woke up angry today.

It’s weird because I’m usually one of those really annoying people who wake up smiling. I’m not sure why I woke up angry either; I went to bed at a good time and don’t remember having had any aggravating dreams.

Then I got to the office and spent the morning struggling with this unrelenting desire to use a pen to make shapes. My body and my head were not mine anymore. I couldn’t concentrate on anything but the need to feel the soft tip of an artist’s pen flow gently against the harshness of porous paper. I wanted to smell the ink, feel it move through my arm into a solid surface, and watch my fingers use it to contort shapes.

Such a strongly-felt desire can be so consuming that you stop being yourself. I get such desires constantly, but usually as word-barf, quickly fixed by typing manically into a document. The urge to draw though, the urge to draw was weird. I haven’t drawn in years.

Then my desire turned into a desire for pens. I wanted a collection of pens of different diameters, all new and flowing smoothly. I wanted to sit and dot the pages until all the pens run out. I wanted Faber Castell pens. My desire for Faber Castell pens at the moment is still so overpowering that I can easily forget the massive amounts of work I have to do and go to the little art supply store behind Jordan University called Maktabet Alfunoon wal Tasmeem now, now, now.

Yet, fortunately for my sanity (and all the work I have to do), I always have a notebook and an architectural pen in my bag, a habit I developed in college.

The pen is old, though. It’s not satisfying. I also want to draw, but I don’t have anything to draw. So restless.

In the end I did scribble something I found online. But it was a horrifying experience. My hands are usually so sure, my strokes so controlled. What happened? Why are my lines wobbly? Why can’t I see the way the shapes come together clearly? How the hell did I lose control of my hands?

I know when I had that horrible realization that I lost control. It was the summer of 2011. I was feeling really bad at that point, so I thought I would draw to let things out. I’ve always spent so many hours drawing, and drawing is therapy. That night though turned out to be one of the worst in my life. I sat at home, with my canvas and my brushes, but my hands were so goddamn shaky that I couldn’t use them precisely to save my life. It was horrifying. I’ve been good with my hands since I was a little girl. My hands have always been more steady than the moon in the sky. I stared at them that night, shaking. It felt like I was a ballerina who lost her legs.

I haven’t tried to draw again since then, because the urge died.

How do urges die? Why do they come up all of a sudden, slapping you in the face?

Art Day at the Assi's
(Painting of my parents in 2010)

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4 Comments

  1. Hamza

    Is that some kind of Automatic writing?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_writing

  2. I am not sure, Hamza :) I think writing this post itself was much more automatic :)

  3. Joseph

    I have the desire to draw non stop especially on my hands. Any doodle that comes to mind or pattern it is the strangest. I have always had this.

  4. Celia

    I feel the urge to draw at the most random of times, such a strong urge it seems like a necissity and that if I don’t for fill this urge something bad will happen. It often occurs right when I need to go to bed, I will feel myself becoming restless yet I won’t finish untill I’m nearly passing out, easily spending hours just thinking about what to draw. It’s the same for writing, I start writing the start of a similar story to the last then I get about 4 pages in and completely lose the need or just generally inspiration. I’ts the way I’ve been since I moved into my current house and I can’t for the life of me work out how it even started. NOTE: I won’t respond to any reply emails.

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