That time we should have taken my niece at her word.
This past Christmas my niece did a lot of drawing. And she destroyed. Every. Single. One.
At our final dinner together before we all went home to our regular lives, she was drawing and destroying still more pictures. I can’t remember if I or one of my sisters asked her why she was scribbling out not just what she had just drawn, but also the entire piece of paper on which it had been drawn.
“To make more space,” she replied.
A follow-up comment was made about how her method actually used even more paper. Her mother, yet another of my sisters, snapped back “Maybe she’s exploring the ephemeral nature of her art. Don’t force your standards on my kid, man.”
Naturally, we all laughed and just let her do her thing. Whatever that is.
But I keep thinking of her scribbles as a way of making space. I think of all The things I’ve written out and then very systematically scribbled out after re-writing it the way it needed to be, or else because I decided there was nowhere for it to go with me.
First a series of horizontal strikes through, then vertical lines, then diagonal slashing, and finally diagonal slashing running perpendicular to the previous diagonal slashing. A way of scribbling “neatly” while freeing up the context of a giving page in a notebook or journal.
Sometimes you have to destroy a thing to move on from it. It’s the ephemeral nature of things that we need to make space for what’s to come.
In our thoughts. In our words. In our deeds.
Also published on Medium.