Monthly Archives: January 2012

Many Scattered Sketchbooks

I began sketching again this morning, which forced me to recall just how terrible I am at it.

My feet are so awful I have condensed them down to the point of two lines, like a highway that ends in a stalactite.

My hands are globules that morph into utilitarian objects of blunt force.

My faces are bulged craters for eye sockets.

I began to draw a penis and realized I had never drawn one before. What kind of a schoolboy was I???

There are sketchbooks buried throughout my house like little treasures to be found. Each contains a maximum of ten pages before I gave up on whatever project was “exciting” at the time. Some even have fanciful titles that betray the grandeur of which I had hoped to obtain with a few magic strokes. Some are jammed with additional sheets of paper to make them seem more full. Some contain burned pages, because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Some have cutouts that reveal other things that I was going to draw, but instead just reveal the next blank page. And one is a copy of a religious text half destroyed by my hand, an unfinished masterpiece that is now a nice place for a hideaway key.

Installation by Damien Hirst

This one is called “deadbook.” I won’t dwell on the title because it’s not brilliant. It features two completed pages. One drawing and one short poem. Upon close inspection you can see the frayed binding where several pages have already been torn out — bad starts. The back is jammed with an odd assortment of clippings: a short story I wrote in college; a photocopy of seemingly random passages from If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!; a scrap of paper containing an interview with Francis Bacon (in answer to the question “Is death an obsession with you?” he responds, “Yes, terrible. Once when I was 15 or 16 years old I saw a dog peeing and I realised at that moment that I was going to die”); a sheet torn from another journal containing tiny, illegible, handwritten notes; lyrics to the Shins song, “Those to Come” (some of my favorite lyrics ever written, “myriad lives like blades of grass / yet to be realized, bow as they pass”); and a cutout featuring a photograph of an installation by Damien Hirst, entitled, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living — the image is a giant shark encased in some sort of glass prison.

I’ve now begun a third page. The faces are ridiculous unborn fetuses. The feet are shit.

But I like it.