I’ve recently taken to drawing during readings. I find it helps me stay alert and remember the key moments of the story. The drawings don’t have to be good, I just have to do them.
Drawing on the iPad has been freeing, it creates less mess, the smooth texture of stylus on glass is less distracting pencil or pen and there’s a sense of infinite canvas within a constrained ratio. I don’t feel like I’m wasting paper if I do a bad drawing or get bored and want to move on. I just make the layer I was drawing on invisible and create a fresh new layer to draw on.
Sometimes I find pleasing juxtapositions between the layers and merge me after the reading, making a new work that is the synthesis of several authors and stories.
During dinner on Saturday night I spent about half an hour trying to write a poem about the Tick, in response to a spontaneous challenge (dinner was full of superhero poetry). The Tick is such a profound entity that I ended up creating a visual poem. It was fun to generate a series of icons that tried to express some of the Tick’s square chinned surrealism. It’s possible that drawing might turn up somewhere, but it might not.
My favorite doodle of the convention was drawn during Jo Walton’s guest of honor speech.
I love Jo’s elliptical talks of synthesis. Caring about characters, tools and tricks and not tricks, because who wants to manipulate the reader, what an effective manipulation!
Her talks are a process and a conversation that illuminate complimentary and contradictory facets of this wonderful world of writing.