“A few years ago, after decades of vigorously producing books in various genres, I lost all desire to write. My first creative passion was drawing and when silence took over, I began filling up notebooks and drawing pads with line drawings. In college when I learned how to line draw it was with a fountain pen and India ink. Today, it’s with a fine point Sharpie. The method is freehand and there are no initial studies or sketches. The composition is whatever manifests on the blank page.
These drawings served as a meditative activity which sometimes took up entire days. In the long run, line drawings became a way of healing heartache. Many of the drawings were of nature. Trees of Life proliferated, birds, flowers, sea animals, and human figures. Early on, however, there were hybrid creatures too. ‘The monsters in my head,’ I once described them.
Two or three years went by until one New Year’s Eve, I quietly resolved to resume my lifelong commitment to writing. I would start by returning to poetry. A couple of years later, I’m grateful to have a new collection of poems debut this fall with a few of the drawings included. It seems to be that while writing today is largely viewed as a ‘craft,’ a skill one with certain ambition may develop, we don’t recognize the nascent place of writing poetry and fiction—the imagination. When words to describe what I was experiencing eluded me, images expressed some of my interior life. At present, I am working on fiction again. I’m still drawing.”
—Ana Castillo, author of My Book of the Dead (High Road Books, 2021)