The magic of letting go

'Just pull out my drawings and throw them away.'

A friend of mine, who is moving back to Spain, handed me an armful of half-empty sketchbooks.

'I can't do that!' I said, aghast.

'Why not?' she shrugged. 'I held onto them for so long, but really they are just old energy weighing me down. It's time to let them go.'

I leafed through her books, and looked over drawings, sketches, notes. Little paintings here and there in watercolour or acrylic. Pictures torn from magazines and glued in, scattered with glitter and stickers. So much love and time had gone into these pages.

But maybe it's the 'doing' that counts more than the 'done'. When I was younger, I was ruthless with my work, tossing out drawings or painting over pieces on canvas without a second thought. These days I have begun to hoard – I have portfolios crammed with old and often second-rate work. Several drawerfuls of old sketchbooks that don't necessarily shine with innovation and invention.

I thought about how theatre is an art-form you can't hold onto – once the performance is done, it can only live on in memory. And for me, that's part of what makes it special. It's all in the 'doing'.

I think the time has come to clear out some of those portfolios, and make space for fresh new energy.


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