I pick up a stick and hit it against a metal pole. CLANG. I then scratch something in the dirt–a mark, nothing intelligible. I hit the stick against something else: thud. I keep walking, thinking of the power the first humans must have felt when they learned they could create something, a sound, a mark that was not there before. I feel the same energy and I don’t want to stop: click, click, click, thud, clang, and I write my name in the dirt. I am loving the feeling of making something new, something my own. Whether on the beach in the sand, or on the rock cluttered trail on the hike up to the Mesa at Ghost ranch, I can’t resist drawing in the dirt. Drumming, dancing, writing, drawing–Clark and I reflect on these ancient human practises as we walk around the lake, sweating in the thick summer morning heat. We talk of the power we feel again, having participated in another full moon drum circle last night .

The power of drum, dance, mark-making became the focus of an idea Clark presented as we neared Lamar Bridge. He proposed a collaboration between drummers, visual artists and dancers which would be simple, powerful and organic. Specifically, he envisions putting up a large screen/canvas at one of the full moon drum circles, behind and around which dancers dance, casting their shadows, moving to the full throttle rhythm of the drummers while visual artists make marks–drawing, painting, calligraphy–on the screen. The experience would be improvisational, the mark-makers responding to the moving shadows on the screen as well as the drummers’ beat or vise versa.

To connect drumming, dance and writing and drawing in a moving, flowing event, would be most powerful and interesting, and the idea is compelling enough for us to make a plan to try it out soon.

Meanwhile, I will keep the idea alive in my class I am teaching in Red Deer, Alberta next week: The Joy of Calligraphy. I plan to invite participants to explore rhythm and writing–finding a beat, syncopation (altering the beat). We will have the opportunity to experience the thrill of mark-making, of making interesting lines with alternative writing tools, exploring writing kiniesthetically (I don’t know how to spell this word!) as movement as well as breath, and as an expression of who we are.

I take up my stick and put it in the sumi on my table in the studio. There is no fear of the blank paper before me because I know the joy, the excitement of what happens next, when I put stick to page. The mark will be original; it will express the breath I take and the movement of my body. It may be followed by more marks, or stand alone. I may like it or not. It won’t matter because in this simple act, I will experience the thrill of something ancient and intrinsically human: I have the power to create.

1 Comment

  1. Powerful …. your spirit and your vision….its wonderful.


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