James Thurber’s Idling


To release some of his jumpy energy and his mind’s ceaseless inventorying and inquisitiveness, Thurber drew. It was as habitual as his smoking. Writing-rewriting, as he often called it- required discipline, focus, research, an amped-up armature of full brain power that included memory, grammar, word and sentence sounds, a dialing in of the humorous of and the heartfelt, the meandering and the meaningful. But drawings? He considered his to be fluid, spontaneous, unhindered, and with rarely a need for erasure, revision, or polish. His daughter Rosemary remembers her father saying that he could even whistle while he drew.

A Mile and a Half of Lines: The Art of James Thurber, by Michael J. Rosen

If you’re looking for some artistic inspiration, or need to smile, pick up A Mile and a Half of Lines. After skimming through five or ten pages you’ll be feening to pick up a pencil and draw.

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