I can’t draw.
I’m hoping my next blog entry will be about the Inetbib 2013, but last time it took me four months to get my blog about the Inetbib 2010 in Zurich finished, and right now I’m fairly overwhelmed from the impressions of the Inetbib 2013. The short version is that this again was the best Inetbib ever, but I have to collect my thoughts better.
In the meantime, reflecting on my deep, dark secret (due to advanced age, I hardly have any secrets any more – if something needs to be kept secret, I just don’t do it or don’t say it), it’s quite simple: I can’t draw. Really. My fine motor skills are such that my fingers are not capable of reproducing on paper the beautiful pictures I see in my mind’s eye.
Said skills have been able to operate a manual typewriter (yes, I am that old!), an electric typewriter and a computer keyboard with mouse, but that’s it. I can’t draw a straight line; I can’t draw a smooth, curved line. My fingers simply don’t ever create a copy of what my brain sees. Oh, and not surprisingly, I also have atrocious handwriting as my fingers won’t write smooth, rounded letters.
I’m not complaining. There are worse inadequacies. But I do get seriously annoyed at the illogical and thoughtless ideologies of people who can draw. A frequent such idiocy goes something like this: “Everyone can draw and/or kids love to draw.” No, this is patently and obviously untrue. I can’t be that unique. If I can’t draw, then there have to be others like me. And what I can’t do, I sure as hell won’t enjoy being forced to do.
Even as a very young child, I could see the difference between my jerky, uneven, desperate scribblings and the beautifully realistic creations of my classmates. Children aren’t fools and don’t appreciate being lied to or having their intelligence insulted (when well-meaning adults assure them that their misshapen grotesqueries are pretty or nice). That’s truly just adding insult to injury. Bad enough we can’t draw; it’s even worse to be automatically considered stupid.
I remember when I was creating some exercises for a 8th to 9th grade level workbook for English instruction in Germany and my editors suggested that I write a story in English and the assignment for the students would be for them to draw a picture that fit the story. I exploded and asked how the hell drawing a pretty picture would improve any kid’s command of written or spoken English. The answer was that they wanted to motivate students, and that “all kids love to draw”.
At this point I realized that the pernicious ideology of all kids loving to draw wasn’t restricted to elementary school teachers in the U.S., but was in fact a truly unfortunate planet-wide phenomenon.
So, beating the drum for those of us with poor fine motor skills again: We can’t draw and never will be able to draw and therefore hate to be forced to draw. Although we are a minority, we are everywhere. So, take us at our word (even if we are of pre-school age), and leave us (insert your favorite obscene expletive) alone!
You see, this rant does have a happy ending – all due to technology. If you can operate a computer keyboard and mouse, today you can create beautiful artwork – thanks to the hard work of thousands of programmers who have produced the magical programs for manipulating pictures and photos. Your computer can help you do what your fingers can’t You start out with pictures available for public use and make them into what you see in your mind’s eye. The universe is the limit.
What a wonderful time to be alive! Pass the word on to any kid still struggling to draw something that just won’t let itself be drawn.