Life, sketchbook

A life’s achievement

life

[Soo: Do you think I’ll ever achieve anything in my life?

Anteater: Hmm. Why don’t you? Why doesn’t everybody?]

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sketchbook

No expectations

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[Anteater: She doesn’t remember me when she’s happy – but it doesn’t matter. I’m happy loving her with no expectations.
Soo: Aww…I’ve just been working hard, that’s all.]

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sketchbook

Monday with the anteater

Most of you know that the anteater suddenly landed up in my sketchbook way back in 2009. I like to think that he is the representation of all my absent friends, and for me, drawing a conversation with him is like getting a hug!

Here’s one from a Monday:

zen

[Anteater: What are you up to?

Soo: I’m being exasperated.

Anteater: Aha. I’m being zen.]

His smugness kills me. And here’s another one (drawn for you, pacificleo!)

waiting

[Soo: I’m waiting for you to talk to me…

Anteater: Hmmm…?]

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art, Books, drawing, Life, sketchbook

From Sojourns in the parallel world

A year or so ago, I used to have a morning ritual of waking up and reading some poetry with coffee. Once in a while I would read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and during that time, I also read White by Kenya Hara. (It’s such a meditative, beautiful book, and it was rather a spiritual and other worldly experience for me.)

One of those mornings, I read this poem by Denise Levertov. Though it’s about immersing our human consciousness in the natural world, to me the last few lines evoked how we continue to voluntarily lose ourselves in the virtual world.

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“No one discovers

just where we’ve been, when we’re caught up again

–but we have changed, a little.”

From the sketchbook called Finding Soo • August 2016.

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art, drawing, Life, parenthood, sketchbook

Chasing a medium

Back in 2015, I faced a serious identity crisis. Most women sail through these transitional times like swans, I however was more sinking than swimming. Eventually I found a sense of self but it took almost a year.

In those days, I felt cramped by my earlier visual language, and struggled to evolve my usual ink lines into something else.

Friends recommended all sorts of media, but I just couldn’t break out of line.

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I explored drawing with brushes, ink and pastels but the cloud wouldn’t budge.

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The only benefit after all that, was the brown boy was happy.

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gutotales, Life, parenthood, sketchbook

Life after

I went back to work when Orin was four months. Still breastfeeding, still feeding at night, and going to work during the day. So many working mothers go through the same thing, but it’s so exhausting! Every day of Orin’s first year I used to give myself a private award for staying human.

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Though the brown boy was an completely engaged parent, and we had a day time nanny for Orin, there were times when I needed a little break.

Life after -1

“Hmmph,” says the anteater. “An afternoon of babysitting needs an afternoon of therapy.”

“There goes my potential babysitter,” I think.

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Life, sketchbook, travels

Holiday journal, 2

Like I said, poor Orin had to fall ill within two days of the holiday. Just the usual viral fever. When he was sleeping, I was drawing, reading and moping for the lost holiday.

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Here are some sketchnotes I made while listening to this On Being podcast with Maira Kalman and feeling thankful for small pleasures.

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“To be under a tree with Maira Kalman and her talk on angst and ritual: bliss.”

Brief moments of watching the sea. Nature is such a miracle.

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After Joan Didion, I re-read The Emigrants by WG Sebald. Ever since I discovered them on Rukminee’s bookshelf, I re-read one every year.

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“The seasons and the years came and went…and day by day, hour by hour, with every beat of the pulse one lost more and more of one’s qualities and became less comprehensible to oneself, increasingly abstract.”

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Extended solitude makes me write more: “Drawing is easy and lets me construct my own alternate version of reality. Because doesn’t everyone do that, only I do it in visuals. Sebald apparently started writing his beautiful immersive transporting prose where stories blur the lines between fact and fictions, events and the recounting of them, and the memories of events, because he wasn’t satisfied with academic historical writing or with current biographical prose. Drawing is easy; because like Maira Kalman says,

“Writing is too serious and angst-ridden.”

Like life.

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“Seeing, Hearing, Listening

When we see someone often we only see what we want to see, and what we think should be there. The eye joins the cognitive dots and sends the visual to the brain (??)

But drawing gives us a chance to really look at something, explore it with our eyes, see without bias.

It’s a bit like active listening, being open and then responding. Why do I enjoy drawing from memory? It is after all a reconstruction.”

And did I mention how much I love reading Sebald? His gothic prose saves me from my own melancholy every single time.

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“It seems to me then as if all the moments of our life occupy the same space, as if future events already existed, and were only waiting for us to find our way to them at last.”

So ironic in the context of this holiday.

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