After an interview, the man with whom I had been talking said, “That tape is worth a million.”
“Why?” I joked. “You think you’ll be famous someday?”
“No, it’s because it’s been a long time since I’ve opened up like this to anyone.”
Something about this process does open people up, myself included. Even I find myself saying things that I normally wouldn’t share with other people.
I am not sure why, but perhaps it has some thing to do with the drawing process—the undivided attention I give to the resident, or the finished drawing which may show them a window into themselves. Or perhaps it is the unfiltered answers I give to their questions while I draw—unfiltered because I am too deeply tuned into my drawing to watch what I say. And sometimes I don’t react at all to some pretty troubling things they tell me. And even that, I think, at times can be a blessing for them.
I think there are times in anyone’s life when they would like to be able to talk about a serious matter without facing a big emotional outpouring of shock or support from the listener. Sometimes people just need someone to be there, to listen, but not to react.