In one of my last figure-drawing classes, I try to draw the model with my students. I’m used to easily switching into the tunnel vision necessary to draw, but the lever is faulty this day. Other responsibilities keep intruding into my consciousness. Like that I should be walking around the room, saying something useful to students who paid good money to be here.

I didn’t start out the drawing with any grand ambitions, but a divided mind is no way to work. I pin it to the classroom wall and leave it there a week.

When I come back, it looks no better, but I spray it with fixative, roll it up and take it home. The collage thing has made me believe practically any piece of crap might be salvaged, reused, made to sing some way.

I cut it into pieces and glue several back together. It’s instantly a thousand times better. I leave the figure out. She’ll be part of something else in the future, maybe.

The piles of past I’ve gathered don’t weigh on me the way they sometimes used to. Now, every shitty drawing, homework assignment, embarrassing school photo, or neglected bill holds the potential of rebirth. Ripping pieces give off sparks. Maybe only I can see them. If I work at it awhile, maybe a few others will notice as well.