It’s a near-complete circle, unfinished at the bottom where the shape begins and ends, as though painted in one swift, smooth brushstroke, left barely disconnected by the painter without any second thought. I’ve seen it a lot over the past year, as I’ve consistently thought about projects still unfinished, not quite realized.
Last night I was thinking about sketching. The first drawing, the rough outline for what’s to come. The more I think about it, the more I learn to appreciate it; and the more I realize that conception, for better or worse, has always appealed to me more than completion.
That end result has always been less exciting to me, which I guess is ironic. Here I am pursuing something and yet—maybe subconsciously—I’m not even in a big hurry to get it. Maybe it’s a weakness, but it’s one that I embrace.
There’s nothing like that initial moment where something comes right out from my head and onto the page. The sketch is raw, still in motion and only just being born. It’s breathing and you can feel the pulse, as Jude likes to say.
Meanwhile when something is complete, it’s complete. Done. It’ll be hung up on a wall, put on record, published in a printing house and maybe admired and talked about for ages to come, or it might be forgotten no sooner than it arrived, but either way it’s finished.
It might take on a life of it’s own after you and that’s a beautiful thing, but even so, it’s a life that’s separate from you. The sense of finality isn’t always comfortable, but probably necessary.
There are only a few things that ever seem to remain constant in my life, anyway. Like the people I’m lucky to call friends and family, and certain fundamental understandings of life and the universe.
In my beginning is my end…
In my end is my beginning
-T.S. Eliot, “Four Quartets”
A friend once told me the only thing consistent in life is change. The sketch, at best, reflects that fundamental truth. It’s still in flux, still being made. It’s future unknown.
Open to possibility.