A few weeks ago a strange stillness settled over my whole internal landscape. Everything in my head became very quiet. The hush soaked all the way into my bones; I felt…still. Like I had coasted to a stop.
My little guiding voice whispered to me that a chapter was closing, and something new was coming.
“Wonderful,” I thought with a sort of muted relief. “What is it, what’s coming?”
But the little guiding voice had no further comment on the matter. The hush remained, and I waited quietly for…something new.
My church, like probably all churches, has its share of dramas and melodramas. For the most part I’m able to remain uninvolved in them, because I have no personal ambitions in the going-on there. I come, I sing with the worship team, I listen to Pastor Bill’s wonderful sermons, I say hello to friends, and then I go home. I help with other projects if I am asked to. A ladder-climber I am not.
Even so, it was only a matter of time before other folks decided to drag me into their own melodrama. I declined to engage in the conflict; I figured all I had to do was go about my business and let events run their course, and eventually things would resolve themselves and settle back down. It was that sort of drama. But their efforts, combined with certain other frustrating issues, began to have a toxic effect on the morale of my entire worship team. The quality of our music suffered badly. The practice meetings went from being a time of joyful fellowship to something that…wasn’t. One of our drummers left the group. At one point I was tempted to leave myself, but I know a Learning Experience when I see one and I didn’t want to walk away in mid-lesson. And then in the midst of all this that quiet stillness settled over me, and the little voice said that change was coming, and I waited in silence to see what it would look like.
About a week later I felt a nudge: “It’s time to get back to your artwork.”
This wasn’t what I’d expected. That whole “art” part of my brain still seemed to be soundly sleeping, and I felt absolutely no desire to draw or paint anything. I tried to sketch a few things, but there was no stirring of inspiration or even basic competence there.
Over the following week two things happened: the church situation escalated to mildly ridiculous levels, and the internal nudging about the artwork got more insistent. I handled the church stuff with as much grace as I am capable of, and I started thinking about how I would put my artistic talents to use if the ability and desire did return to me. I remembered that almost a year ago an old friend had suggested I buy a Wacom drawing tablet for Elizabeth, so she could create digital artwork directly on my computer instead of using up reams of paper for her comic books. I had agreed that the tablets looked really cool, lamented that they were out of my budget range, and promptly forgotten all about the idea, until now. Now I started thinking about the ways a person could put digital artwork to practical use, and maybe even generate a modest income.
And then one day last week I sat down at my dining-room table and began to draw. A human figure, and then a deer: the images flowed effortlessly from my pencil to the paper, elegant and lifelike and fairly resonating with artistic potential. I could FEEL the little doors clicking open again in my head. That very night I hopped online and ordered a Wacom Intuos3 Tablet.
Meanwhile the church situation reached such a crescendo that Pastor Bill, who generally prefers to let his flock sort these issues out amongst themselves, saw that the time had come for him to step in. He spoke to the worship team as a group, and then (I assume) spoke to each of us separately over the next few days. The Pastor commands great respect and love in our fellowship, and once he made his feelings known the turmoil ceased almost immediately. (It helped that the original primary source of frustration had been more or less resolved while all the rest of the drama was going on.) The following Sunday he delivered a sermon that reminded me all over again why this church and this Pastor mean so much to me.
My Wacom tablet arrived yesterday. Actually it arrived about an hour before I had to leave for worship practice — talk about a temptation to skip practice last night! Yerg! Anyway, after I got back home I installed all the drivers and software and whatnot and then eagerly sat down to create my first fully-digital masterpiece.
Yeah. About that? Art programs have apparently become very complicated in the past few years. There’s a steep learning curve here…it may take me weeks just to master all the doohickies and whangdoodles. And that’s not even counting the basic disorientation of drawing on one surface and seeing the results on another.
But! I am having a blast playing with my new toy, and I’m pretty confident that in a month or so I’ll be producing some actual artwork.
And I gotta say, it’s really good to be back.