Come and Do Drawings With Me

-a dispatch from the grief process

One of the things I am doing on my own is drawing. It’s not something I’ve done often and I certainly don’t do it well. I was writing a little bit about it on Facebook, so I’ll write more here also.

Went to the bookstore the other evening after going to buy some more tea. I bought one book, The errors of young tjaz, by Florjan Lipus an Austrian writer. (Dalkey Archive Press–my current favorite publisher).

I also bought a sketchbook of sorts. I have kept saying I want to draw more because I can’t draw at all. Give me an empty screen or paper and I can fill it with words, in the tiniest of fonts, as well as squeeze some more in between the lines and in all the margins, but a blank paper with the intention to draw remains blank. I can’t think of what to do with it. So I bought this helpful sketchbook. It contains pages with labels on them telling you what to draw on the page. Some pages allow you to draw several things. I really need this kind of direction at present to get the drawing going.

This is the picture from Amazon.

So I’ve done some of the drawings inside. With some of them I have to put words just because words seem to fit there. On some of them I didn’t like the topics so I made up my own. For example I didn’t care to do “presidential pets” not only because I have no idea about such things but it bugs me that it’s a topic at all. So I replaced “presidential pets” with “giant babies”. So that one’s going to be fun whenever I get to it.

Yesterday I ran into an article about Franz Kafka’s drawings. They are quite interesting. He was very reluctant to let anyone see them. The article describes his viewpoint.

In his book Conversations with Kafka, Gustav Janouch describes what happened when he came upon Kafka in mid-doodle: the writer immediately ripped the drawing into little pieces rather than have it be seen by anyone. After this happened a couple times, Kafka relented and let him see his work. Janouch was astonished. “You really didn’t need to hide them from me,” he complained. “They’re perfectly harmless sketches.”

Kafka slowly wagged his head to and fro – ‘Oh no! They are not as harmless as they look. These drawing are the remains of an old, deep-rooted passion. That’s why I tried to hide them from you…. It’s not on the paper. The passion is in me. I always wanted to be able to draw. I wanted to see, and to hold fast to what was seen. That was my passion.”

~excerpt from Open Culture, The Art of Franz Kafka: Drawings from 1907-1917

That statement resonates with me as I’ve also always had some wish to be able use more than words to express some things. But I draw about as well as I sing. Let’s just say you do not ever want me in a karaoke event.

There was a video also in that article which featured some of the Kafka drawings. It’s very short and quite interesting.


Certainly any drawings I’m making are not as sublime as those of Kafka.

They might be more along the lines of the work of Simon and his friends.