Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Doodles in the Margin

I remember when I was a kid in school.  As I would be taking notes in class, my mind would wander and my pen would follow.  I would continue to write what the teacher/professor was saying ("important" or not), but I would also doodle in the margins of my paper. 

By definition  doodling is drawing something without thinking.  The doodle isn't a sketch, it's random and unplanned.  I believe doodles are the expression of what's inside a person, free-flowing on paper.  Some people can sit down at a piano and play beautiful melodies without sheet music, others (like my husband) write elaborate stories.  Artists doodle.  Now, let me be clear...I have never been an artist.  My doodles were the result of a restless hand.  If a teacher/professor spoke fast regarding a topic I had interest in, I would feverishly write every word.  If there were pauses, or extraneous discussion, as usually happened in class, my pen would find clear space that was not meant for substance, and fill it up.

I never really understood why notebook paper had that red line down the side.  It seemed like wasted space to me.  It served no purpose at all.  If I was running low on paper, and had a lot of notes to take, I would ignore that red boundary altogether.  It was difficult only when the paper was in a binder.  Even then, with some creativity the available space around the holes could be utilized efficiently.  I'll bet I saved a forest of tress with my paper frugality!  :D

Many years ago a doctor told me my life didn't have margin.  My time was completely full, there was no room to breathe.  I was working full time, going to school full time, I was in the Army National Guard in Officer Candidate School, I had just gotten married, we had a dog and an apartment and I was trying to get straight As to raise my GPA enough to graduate Cum Laude.

I also had terrible stomach issues the doctor told me were caused by this lack of margin.  (I believe now they were caused by dairy, but that's another story!)

Now, if you know me, you are thinking not much has changed.  The list of activities is different, but my life is filled to the max-no empty margin for me. 

I have been wondering lately if I'm doodling in the margin, or if my whole page is just full.  When I stop to think about all that I have going on in my life, there is nothing really random about what I do.  My life is as thought out as I can make it.  I just use every available space.  Sometimes, unfortunately (like right now) there is NO available space.  My margin really is overrunning.  When I look at my proverbial paper, trying to put one more note in somewhere, there just is no room.  And I don't have the option to get more paper!!

As I have been writing I have been trying to decide if margin is necessary.  I still can't say I understand what that red line is for.  That space BEGS to be filled.  With something.  But maybe that space should be filled with doodle.  Maybe it would be good to allow some room for free-flowing, non-thought-provoking, randomness.

Then again, if doodles are an expression of who we are, is it really random?

Until next time...

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