And then it’s the 9th February 2016 and I’m at a loose end in Truro one late afternoon, in that strange time in between arriving some where new and settling in to the groove and geography of the place. I’m wandering, as I usually do when I arrive in a strange town, up alley, down street. Stare in windows, map the town in my head, pick out likely places to eat and drink. Down one of those streets I found an Oxfam bookshop. I duck into the shop, half to warm up from the chill outside and half to browse the books and CDs and records that I know will be inside. I knew I’d hit gold when I found Dire Straits ‘On Every Street’, their last album, on CD, for just a couple of quid. Moving round the shop I also picked up a paperback of James Joyce’s ‘Dubliners’. I’d heard it was a classic and looked forward to a good read. Although I did discover a couple of weeks later that it wasn’t an entirely accurate depiction of modern day Dublin life. Oh no, the streets may be the same, the cabs may now be self-powered rather than horse drawn and the tram may have returned to the city but sure as sure can be, nobody wears hats anymore!
I spent some time browsing the old 19th century and early 20th century books they had on display before finding myself at the Art section, and that pull, that tweak, that twinge was still there. I still wanted to draw. My eyes fell upon a pair of hardback books on the shelf – ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ by Betty Edwards. Intrigued I pulled one of the copies off the shelf and started leafing through, absolutely fascinating reading – she agreed with Oliver James. or I should say Oliver James agreed with her as this book was over 25 years old and was a revision of her 1979 original version. Anyone can draw. That was the claim laid down in this book and there were ‘before’ and ‘after’ examples to ‘prove’ it.
How could I not be persuaded by these examples? Those ‘before’ images were light years in advance of mine, and the ‘after’ images, some just a few days or weeks after the former had been drawn, seemed to me to be almost miraculous advancements. So I added this £2.49 book to my pile of charity shop bargains and headed to the pub.