I don’t want to lose my taste for doing. At one time, America was considered a production-based society. We did things. Made things. Today we have transitioned into a consumer-based society. We now buy things instead of making things. Shopping has become sport.
As a boy, if I complained about being bored from nothing to do, I was given a job to cure my boredom. I’ve heard you can sometimes die of the cure. However, sometimes, the cure works.
I drew to entertain myself. It was obvious to my parents what I was doing, and it worked for everybody, so I was given paper. A special treat was the white chipboard insert inside new shirts. I made my childhood masterpieces on those. In church, where boredom was greatest, I was given the stubby pencil from the back of the pew in front of me and I drew on the church bulletin with the Broadman hymnal underneath. In our small town, there wasn’t much to announce so there was a good bit of white paper to fill. It occupied me. So much so, I would hurry to finish my drawing when I heard the preacher say, “and in closing...”. That was the signal I needed to wrap it up because I knew I only had five- or ten-minutes left.
I did all the things a kid of my time did: treehouses, bicycles, learning guitar, wild inventions. Making things. Coming up with things to do.
In school, some teachers considered my drawing a waste of time. I was taught to respect them, so I was conflicted. I still drew. I did get to shine once or twice a year — being the kid who drew the turkey on the blackboard at Thanksgiving and snow scenes during Christmas. But overall, the consensus was the doing of anything else was preferred over the doing of nothing by drawing. Although, there were notable exceptions who encouraged it. It wasn’t most people, but most people can be wrong about so many things. It’s hard to know what nothing is. There is a great deal of nothing that is really an unnoticed something. Conversely, you can dress up nothing in the clothes of something, but it’s still nothing. It just looks like something. One of my favorite definitions of art is making something from nothing.
It is important to do. It will make you tired. It could be no one else sees it, but you. You may doubt what you are doing or even why you are doing, but if that voice inside you keeps pestering you to do, you might need to listen to it.
It is never too late to do.