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Sometimes things go the way they’re supposed to go. When I pay attention, sometimes, I can see the good things that tend to elude my depressive soul. I got a present.

My friend Elizabeth made me the coolest pen thing ever. I had admired the one she made for my friend Opal, who happens to be Elizabeth’s kid. It’s purple and blue and orange and green swirly fabric on the outside and a purple and orange and red kind of leafy pattern fabric on the inside. There are slots for pens and the whole thing closes with a purple satin ribbon that sticks together with Velcro. Even better: it came with gel pens in lots of colors!

I am, as Thacher Hurd and John Cassidy term it, “Artistically Undiscovered.” Doesn’t that sound much better than “totally untalented but enthusiastic?”

The confluence happened because of Lewis and Clark. Have I mentioned that I’m also prone to obsessions? As previously mentioned, I’m reading their journals. Thomas Jefferson made the comment that Lewis was the perfect person to send because he knew so much about the flora and fauna around him at home that he would recognize what was new in his environment and not waste a bunch of time on stuff already known.

To deal with the aforementioned depressive soul, I walk. It is particularly nice to walk when it is sunny, as it has been these past few days. I took Lewis’s mindset with me. I realized that I don’t know the names of very many plants. Also, that there are not a lot of animals readily apparent in my environment, except dogs. I don’t automatically notice the kind of dirt a place has, whether it is flat or sloped, what other kinds of geographical features present themselves.

I pointed one walk toward the beach and on the way back I got a little sketchbook to go with my cool pens. Lewis and Clark drew pictures, albeit mostly maps, of what they’d seen. (Oddly, they didn’t feel the need to preserve their original field journals, only the leather-bound copies they made upon their return.) So I am drawing pictures of things I see in my explorations.

Not only does this help me get in the explorer way of thinking, but it also pushes me to do something I am bad at doing. I have a pathological fear of failure and of looking stupid. This tends to block my creative processes. By working with my fear in making pictures, I hope to improve my courage in things more important to me.

And I’m having fun.

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jan_can_too
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