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I turned 65 on December 28th. Yes, I know, shocking, isn’t it?

The good news is that I made it here. The other good news is that I feel about 30 physically, and about 20 mentally as I am in the photo. So you see, I’m still immature in both areas!

I received wonderful best wishes from friends and Internet acquaintances. I loved the kisses, hugs and a variety of pats on the back from friends and family. And I got some swell gifts as well. One of my favorites came from my son, Graham.

Graham is particularly gifted at finding the right gift, something that gets to the heart of the recipient. I appreciate his insight and thoughtfulness, the time he gives to me. This year’s gift is something I would never have thought to buy myself, but is exactly what I need: A Sketch Book!

But not just any old sketch book, this is a daily sketch book, a sketch-a-day dairy if you will.

It’s call The Daily Sketch Journal. Here’s a picture of it and a my sketch of it, too.

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Do you see the differences between the photo and my sketch? You’ll probably have to click the images to display them large enough to see them properly.

And don’t be too quick to answer my question about the differences between the photo and the sketch. And don’t be rude. I’m not referring to my drawing talent (I have none).

Instead, I want to draw your attention (pun intended) to the difference between Reality and Perception…the photograph of the sketch book and my sketch of it.

I sketched the book without looking at it, purposely removing it from sight. So my sketch is a memory, or rather an internal reflection of what I perceived.

Here are the few differences that stand out for me between the real thing and my perception of it.

  1. I’ve printed the word Sketch instead of writing it in cursive as the title of the journal actually is.
  2. The coffee cup is empty in the photograph I took, but I made it full and steaming in my sketch of it.
  3. The most significant change to me, is the different time on the clock on the cover in my sketch.

The journals’s time is 8:00, presumably the beginning of a generic day for a sketch. Hence, “daily” sketch journal.

However, the time on my clock is 6:00. I drew this time without giving any thought to it whatsoever. Hmmm.

In reflection, I see that these three differences in my sketch have transformed the sketch journal that Graham gave to me into My Sketch Journal. It now has a title printed in my own hand, a full cup of coffee at the ready, and the time set to my preferred time to sketch…the end of the day, 6 p.m., just before dinner. Very cool!

What the sketch-a-day journal helps me do is to sift the elements of my day down to a central image of the day’s activities, both physical and emotional. I sit quietly for a moment or two as the day quiets down and let the details of the day drift through my mind until a central thought/feeling/experience/event surfaces in the form of an image. It’s that image that I then sketch in my journal.

This activity lets me increase my reflective cognition. What I mean by that fancy term is that my sketch helps me see what I perceive about my day rather than simply recapitulating a random moment via a photograph.

Once I’m done with the sketch, which takes less than 15 minutes, I hold it at arms length and it acts as a mirror, reflecting back to me a central feeling or moment of importance for the thought/feeling/experience/event from the day that surfaced in my brain.

This sketching technique I use, and the importance I’m assigning to it, occurred to me the moment I opened the book when Graham gave it to me at our brunch last week at Gloria’s, an El Salvadorian restaurant. I also knew at that moment what my first sketch would be for the day. I waited, however, until the end of the day to see if some other, more significant thought/feeling/experience/event would supplant it.

Nothing came to me. So I sharpened my pencils at 6:00, opened My Sketch Journal to the first page and drew this:

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Yes, it’s a sketch of my brunch at Gloria’s Salvadorian Restaurant. I ordered and drew the Pollo Ranchero…thinly sliced chicken breast in a slightly spicy/slightly vinegary ranchero sauce packed with red and green peppers. Damn good at the time, and damn good today when I turn to page one of my journal and reflect upon it anew and remember the warmth of that brunch with Graham and my wife, Nettie.

What makes this gift so perfect for me with my word-obssessed brain is that the sketch provides a moment of rest from all the chatter in my head while still allowing me to discover in meaning in my life one pencil stroke at a time

Thanks so much, Graham, for thinking of me and finding the perfect gift!

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to Sketches In My Head

  1. Carol says:

    What a Wonderful gift Graham has given you! A gift to express yourself through a new medium. A new perspective! I can’t wait to see what comes to you in the coming year. Happy, Happy Birthday!!!

  2. Gail says:

    Belated Happy Birthday Frank! I’ve been a tad busy with my own “reflective cognition”, which is my only justification for not seeing the FB reminder that your earthday was approachibg. You’re beautiful, and so is your writing. I wish you nothing but all the wonderful you want for yourself, this year and always. Much love to you and the family… Happy Daily Sketching!

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