A little Context–I am not only a columnist but also a municipal reporter–hence the Council comments:
In my ongoing effort to prove my intelligence (a loser’s game if there ever was one) I picked up a book called “The Doodle Revolution” in the sale bin at Chapters. Written by Sunni Brown, the book cover urges me to “Unlock the Power to Think Differently.” Okay, I will settle for different even if intelligence was my initial motivation, as I am a doodler of the highest degree. I love to doodle—in fact it is the saving factor when I attend council meetings—which are generally quite scintillating, but on occasion a discussion about drains or sewers goes on a little bit longer than its newsworthiness for the paper.
The inside cover of the book names Einstein, JFK, Edison, Marie Curie, and Henry Ford as inveterate doodlers and claims “that these powerhouse minds knew instinctively that doodling is deep thinking in disguise….” I have to say that when applied to my doodling the “deep thinking” is in total, complete and absolute disguise—but I do not mind the company I join—Einstein and Marie Curie are no small potatoes. It is odd that I would put myself in their category as I find myself entering a room and wondering what it was that I wanted.
I blame it on “doorway syndrome”. According to a researcher from the University of Notre Dame on the website LiveScience “Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away….Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized.” The article was written by Natalie Wolchoter, who says that architects may consider doorway placement when planning rooms in a building. Open concept anyone?
Back to the Original Topic with no discernable segue:
I doodle because I cannot draw. But according to this book I can draw, I just think I can’t. Words and numbers seemingly have gotten in my way. Brown calls doodling “visual language” and that we are “genetically capable of—generating visual language.” Suffice to say that visual language or literacy is a bit like *Pictionary, a drawing word guessing game, that I am guessing was invented by a doodler. (I have no verification for this other than the fact that it makes perfect sense to me.)
The author says that “to doodle” is NOT to dawdle, to dillydally, to monkey around, to make meaningless marks, to do something of little value, substance or consequence. Nor is it to do nothing. She defines doodling as making “spontaneous marks to help yourself think.” So if you ever catch me at an event doodling when I should be making notes, now you know that I am merely ‘helping myself think’. Doodling is “engaging in deep and necessary information processing.”
Doodling is also, according to Brown, “the arch nemesis of doing nothing.” So doodling makes me a superhero of sorts. I am the enemy of doing nothing, which in this world of super achievers is a good thing. I have never been referred to as a super achiever, so I think I will take a minute and bask in my superheroiness. (yes, I made that word up)
So what can doodling do for you once you have taken off your cape and mask? Apparently it provides you with The Three P’s: Power, Performance, and Pleasure. It extends your mind; helps you with information retention and recall; and not only gives you increased insight and elevated creativity– it makes you more efficient, focused, and relaxed.
Who knew that the 3D boxes I draw, the flowers built pedal upon pedal, the never-ending vines and leaves, the occasional stick figure, and funny faces I spend my time doodling make me smarter, more creative, and relaxed?
Brown is interested in starting a Doodling Revolution and changing the meaning of “art”.
While I am not totally convinced I do believe in one of her “self-evident truths”: “That doodling lives outside of elite realms of high art and design and is a form of expression free and accessible to all.”
I shall now don my cape and mask, and with magic wand in hand, continue to doodle to my heart’s content. And maybe, just maybe, creativity will rear its lovely head….
*1985 game invented by Robert Angel with graphic design by Gary Everson.