All My Attention


Every drawing tells a story. It doesn’t matter whether it is abstract or representational, detailed or dashed off, unfinished or complete…it speaks of life in that moment, what was going on either in the artist’s physical world or in their feelings and thoughts. More often than not, it encompasses both.


I often feel like Irene, in the Princess and the Goblin, whose been given a near invisible thread to take with her into the world outside the castle and to follow where it leads so that she might be led back home. Life has a way of calling me out of my comfort zones regularly, which in turn creates a storm of thoughts and feelings that are not easily sorted out. The very best way I have to quiet the storm and be led through it (even good storms such as a wedding!) is to follow the lines of whatever is around me, pinning them down on paper as I can, catching them by the tail, and following them home.


Bringing the full weight of all my attention to particular moments is what drawing affords me. Even knitting doesn’t quite rival this focus of mind and quieting of jumpy thoughts. I can still ruminate to beat the band whilst knitting and crocheting. (Unless of course I’m learning a new stitch pattern or following a chart, but even that is not the same.)


I look back through this Moleskin and I can see so much that has happened in the past few months. Though there are no actual wedding drawings, I see and remember little moments leading up to it and beyond…that thread that reminds me I have a rope, a life-line, leading me in and through life’s big events as well as small ones.


I finally got around to reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic several weeks ago. The one thing that has stuck with me is a phrase she mentioned once or twice. “So here’s the part where I…” She recounts that after so many years of living this creative life, she now recognizes the patterns of her emotional and mental landscape that are repeated time and time again. This SO resonated with me! “So here’s the part where I get so busy I can hardly think straight let alone feel focused in my art.” “So here’s the part where I’m humming along with creative juices flowing daily.” “So here’s the part where I haven’t been able to create much and now that I can, I’m so backlogged with ideas I’m flailing around making anything and everything that comes to mind.” etc. etc.


It is helpful in the midst of it all, to realize these patterns and that a thread runs through all of it, leading me out to a wide open space where I will regain a sense of harmony and direction in what I want to make. Drawing leads me through. Drawing makes all the jumpy thoughts and questions bed down for a time, allowing a sense of calm to flood back in.


I’ll keep following the line. I feel it already bringing me through the overgrown brush, the frenzied forest of life, and I know it will lead me out into that spacious place which may not be home yet, but a place to hang my hat for a time.


I sincerely hope that you too can follow a line today, pin it to paper, catch it by the tail and hang on for dear life, bringing the full weight of all your attention to small moments.  In so doing, your sketchbook will be a full, beautiful and rich account of the journey.

8 thoughts on “All My Attention

  1. Teresa says:

    So good. So good. I have had an overly busy-buzzy brain. My calming life “line” has been found, not with pen or pencil but with glass and grout lines. I never looked at it this way, but what you’ve written rings so true. ❤️

    • Jennifer Edwards says:

      Hi Teresa! It can get to be rather loud and noisy in there can’t it? Drives me crazy. When I saw that Jack and your dog were visiting you in your studio the other day, I was so glad to see that perhaps you have had some create time! Perhaps when school is back in session, we can catch up on all our creative ventures! Thank you for commenting here! So good to hear from you!

  2. Michele says:

    This is such a beautiful post! The Princess and the Goblin is such a favorite of mine — you can imagine how your thoughts about the threads in life resonated with me. Thanks so much!

  3. Cheryl Wright says:

    I hear you with this, “Drawing makes all the jumpy thoughts and questions bed down for a time, allowing a sense of calm to flood back in.” It resonates with the deepest part of my spirit.

    The thoughts you shared today encourages me in my own life and creative struggles, and inspires me to push through my storms, my dark and cloudy moments, with my own God-given line in hand, to ensure steady feet on my sometimes rocky journey and to help me find my way home.

    I pray that God continues to bestow these blessed insights upon you and that you will continue to share them with us. Thank you Jennifer and God bless.

  4. Da says:

    Thank you muse
    For moments vicerally true
    Walking sitting Ingesting
    The mapping of
    Terrified Dogs reacting to Cannons booming
    New life strutting in old places
    Absorbing Reflecting His creation
    Teaching the Joy of it all

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