Thursday, 4 August 2011

In Praise of Boredom

A few weeks ago I had the bus ride from hell. What normally would have been a one hour commute took two hours... and the bus had no bathrooms. I had enough to read to entertain me for the first hour, but after that I became bored and this turned out to be a good thing. With my grey Tombow marker I held the tip just above the surface of the page of my sketchbook and recorded the bumpy ride. I was fully present, fully in tune with each pothole and lane change, and the last hour flew by.

Lately I've been thinking about the benefits of boredom. Long bus rides, riding my exercise bike, sitting in church, and long waiting room visits are boring, but important. While I'm stuck sitting still, my mind wanders, ideas form, connections are made. On a good day I have my V7 Hi-Tecpoint pen and a sketchbook to jot it all down or to draw. I confess that the only way I can listen in church is if I have pen and paper in hand and my mindfully mindless drawings are often the starting point of new designs. In his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King writes about the importance of boredom to pull him through a rough spot in the writing. Illustrator and Wunderkind Mike Perry credits the boredom of growing up around Kansas City for influencing his work. In Drawn In, he says "the biggest effect it had on me was that I was pretty bored, so I made my own excitement, which equaled a lot of work (Rothman, 151)." As a former country kid, I can relate. In the right hands, boredom can be a good thing.


finger thumb said...

I can relate. Knitting or embroidery is my drawing, and I politely asked all my university professors if they would mind me knitting during their classes. It keeps me present (and awake in hot stuffy rooms) and I listen waaaaay better. If only I could find a way to knit in church. My mind does wander otherwise...
And I LOVE how you 'recorded' the trip. So brilliant.

Karen said...

I know women who knit during church congregational meetings but not during the services. You could be a trend-setter and try it one Sunday!