Can You Draw a Straight Line?


“Oh, for crying out loud,” she stared at the yawning abyss before her, an insolently blank sheet of paper, smugly hinting at the arrogance of her even thinking she could draw anything worth looking at, wondering herself if she wasn’t really the artist she thought she was or if all of this daily sturm und drang was worth the scrawl she managed to coax from her charcoals.

Even though we know that there was once a time when we cheerfully drew with crayons and wrote stories dotted with stickers, our adult instinct hisses, “You, an artist? You can’t even draw a straight line.”

This is not an instinct I share. I happen to agree with it – I know I can’t draw a straight line.  And what good is a world full of straight lines, anyway?

For it’s not the skill of drawing perfect lines that challenges me. It is the intent.

The think behind the ink.

Here is where my instinct for a steady hand, sure strokes and precision kicks in. I would rather commit a single line, the smudge of a shadow or crosshatching that needs to draw the eye in, the foreground suggested by a mark or two, powered by a strong reason, to create something that becomes so much more than the sum of its unruled parts.

The trick is, the starting point for creating anything can, of course, be straight lines if you choose, but it could be the result of seeing a lack of actors of color in a movie, feeling overlooked or slightly invisible in certain rooms, or perhaps wondering if the only reason you exist depends on what other people think.

Once every four years, everyone can pick up a pen to express themselves and create something.

Everyone can draw a straight line.  Today, do so with intent.

Start by checking a box.


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