While messing around with Day 15’s three tangles–Yincut, Locar, and Verdigogh–I got an idea that would also include the three patterns from Day 14–Dyon, Chainging, and Keeko. It’s not a Zentangle, nor Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA); but I think I am through with the whole concept of a meditative art. Instead, I am simply going to learn as many patterns as I can and concentrate on putting them together into a doodle art form. 

So, while doodling away with just pencil (nice, impermanent, erasable pencil), I started to think about the whole idea of permanence and impermanence. Working in pencil, and with the idea that I was merely experimenting (that I could change any or all marks before putting ink to drawing), thinking about impermanence came almost naturally. This, of course, made me wonder if I were meditating; which made me question yesterday’s rant about whether or not Zentangle could indeed be meditative–for me, anyway. I decided that, for me, the idea of permanence in learning a new art form should be considered with the word learning in mind. The process of learning should allow experimentation, erasure, and change. In learning, one does not go back to the beginning to learn more; rather, previously learned knowledge and tasks are built upon to learn a new level of knowing or a more complex task. So why beat myself up when I have a good Zentangle idea but need a lot more time to learn or master a new pattern (and practice like crazy with a pattern, once I know what it looks like) to complete it? 

As you can see, there have already been some erasures. The entire piece is done in pencil–deliberately today, not because I forgot to switch to pen. Am I finished with it? No. But once I have the rest of the drawing constructed, then I will attempt to trace over in ink. With my history regarding tracing, some areas of the patterns will morph into something new and permanent, whether intended or not. I don’t like the idea that the erasures will show and that the paper’s texture will be changed where the erasures occurred. But the learning process is where I should allow myself to make mistakes and to analyze and correct those areas in which I lack skill.

The idea that the drawing can be reproduced at some future date, after the patterns have been truly mastered and there is a greater feeling and understanding for the art of tangling as a whole, is itself reassuring. A later work will be permanent. Today’s work can be considered impermanent even after application of the indelible ink that grants it permanence. 

The same goes for writing. What I write in a blog is impermanent, even though it never disappears from cyberspace. A post has a feeling of impermanence, even if it has been edited and “published.” Some writers I follow are writing and posting chapters of a book each day or so. I often wonder if the later book or ebook will be exactly what appeared in the blog, or if the blog is a testing ground with some idea of change involved. When I write or participate in a writing challenge, I never have the idea that what I put out there is anything more than practice–an exercise or experiment in writing that isn’t final and permanent in intent. It’s just fun. I have no more expectation that my writing will make me a writer, any more than I think that posting artistic endeavors makes me an artist. It’s just fun to do and to participate. And I might learn something new, even at my age. 

It’s a learning thing.

Draw on! Write on! Have fun!


About DrEMiller

Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT). Home: Sint Maarten. K-12 teacher for 13 years (Special Education for 10 years); Post-secondary educator since 2002; Education consulting since 1995. When teaching, held teaching certificates in K-12 special education, reading specialist; and secondary social studies. Doctorate: Educational Psychology Programmer/analyst for 10 years, including project management and training of corporate execs.
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2 Responses to Impermanence

  1. Adam says:

    Hi. It’s just fun! What a healthy attitude towards creativity. Reminds me of Buddhist idea of non-attachment. Really enjoyed reading this post.

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