Why she writes and why we draw

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Last week in ISHE we were reading a text called ‘Why I Write’ by Joan Didion. It is a very creative and picturesque text that immerses us into the author’s mind. Through her imagery and description we can see how her mind works and how her inspiration and thoughts are triggered. She is very focused on looking at things. Not thinking, not analysing. Just. Looking. One of my favourite quotes from the text is ‘I would try to contemplate the Hegelian dialectic and would find myself concentrating instead on a flowering pear tree outside my window and the particular way the petals fell on my floor.’ That sounds exactly like me. She also says ‘my attention was always on the periphery’. She focuses on small things, details that no one else thinks about or takes the time to look at. She is an observer. She looks for ‘the shimmer’ in things : ‘Look hard enough, and you can’t miss the shimmer. It’s there’.

Based off of that text we had to create illustrations and what our group did was focus on little details of the text that stood out for us, little sentences that caught our attention and formed images in our minds that we wanted to capture. Much like the philosophy of the author herself, it’s all about what shimmers. We drew her stealing the words ‘Why I Write’, we did the schizophrenic patient’s drawing of the cat, the bevatron and even the Greyhound bus (which I am still not sure if it is meant for greyhounds or if it is just called that).

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