Not Thinking about Composition

May 10, 2009

090509CRhospital Left: An 88-year-old ear, that's how it started. Sitting next to CR in his hospital room, this was the only view I had. (Staedtler Pigment liner on Moleskine softbound pamphlet notebook paper.)

CR had a biopsy on Friday, but Saturday when I showed up just to be around while he recovered it was obvious he needed to go back to the hospital, so that's where we went. Dick wasn't reachable (maybe now he'll start carrying a cell phone), so I left messages everywhere and just started to take notes in my little Moleskine softcovered (red cardboard covers) booklet that's 3.5 x 5.5. (I always carry one of these around in case I have to write something down and rip it out to give to someone. I don't tear pages out of my journal.)

We are a family of note takers. We keep logs of everything, especially when it comes to health matters. I wanted Dick to know everything they had done for his dad when he arrived. 

But after a couple of hours of high activity we hit a quiet spell where CR drifted off to sleep. There were no notes to take, except blood pressure updates (I write everything down). My eye was level with CR's ear and ears are mighty interesting, especially when they have 88 years of wrinkles. Since I can never get CR to sit still in normal times I took advantage to study his ear. And then time kept passing and I kept adding other things. Originally I'd written notes about things I wasn't going to draw and then I started to draw them anyway. I wish I hadn't run out of page—but my mind can fill in the rest of the nose.

It's obvious I wasn't thinking about composition at all, just trying to take my mind off other things. Drawing works phenomenally well for that, and I recommend it.

CR had to stay overnight in the hospital and they still aren't sure what is causing the symptoms he has. They've narrowed it down and we're hoping he can return home tomorrow.

  1. Reply

    I hope he feels better soon. It’s rough when the elderly get sick. I always worry. Drawing sounds like the perfect distraction. It’s always amazing to me where one can find a subject to draw. I probably would have sat there worrying about my father-in-law. I’m sure you were worried but it seems like drawing his ear eased the burden. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Reply

    this is lovely, roz.

  3. Reply

    Such fine writing. Something tells me in an emergency I wouldn’t be at all upset to wake up and find you sketching my ear 🙂

    • Roz
    • May 10, 2009

    You know what’s really freaky Ricë? Dick is going to look exactly like that when he’s 88!

    • Roz
    • May 10, 2009

    Robin, well thank you for the kind thought and for the laugh. Actually I’m not bad in an emergency (be prepared Girl Scout and former house leader in school; two continents of preparedness).

    But I had to laugh. I got such a flash vision of myself going about sketching folks. If it could be proved to calm down people I’d like to have a job like that!

    • Roz
    • May 10, 2009

    Jon, they are going to do many more tests and it may be that they never know exactly what went on but they will rule out the major stuff. Dick felt quite upbeat when he got back this evening to his mom’s where I was “sitting” with her.

    The nice thing about drawing in tense situations like this is that it keeps me focused and in the present moment. And we can only act from the present moment, so that’s a good thing.

    If for some reason I’m without my journal than I’ll find some scrap of paper to sketch on.

    • Carolyn
    • May 13, 2009

    Nice ear, and what a nice way to be present with a loved one in the hospital. I’d wish I’d done that when my dad was in and out of ICU while he was still alive. I did bring my sketching stuff, but used it to sketch in public areas when I went out to stretch or grab a bite. Never did sketch my dad…and wish I had. Thanks Roz for sharing your kindness with us through your blog.

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