No Erasers

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser. John W. Gardner

With no eraser everything counts. Whatever one puts on the page has to stay there. Of course we know this is true in life – whatever happened in our lives happened. And all of those happenings stay with us. We could have a deep philosophical discussion about whether we chose those happenings or whether they are caused by someone else or whether they are random, but they are there and we need to live our lives with them. Our goal in living is to craft those happenings into the best life that we can. How do we do that?

We can choose at least some of what we put on the paper. Do we want firm, bold, dark lines? Do we want whisper soft shadings? Do we want lots and lots of dots that create a detailed design? Do we want wild broad strokes or carefully controlled lines? Do we want abstract representations of what we see or photo-like renderings? Do we want different techniques for different aspects of our lives? With some life experience and helpful guidance under our belts we can begin to choose the right approach for whatever presents itself. We can create differing moods and different effects by our choices.

We cannot choose to remove some of our lines; we have no eraser. If it is on the paper it stays there. What do we do with the things we would rather not have had on our page? We can put a dark circle around it and blacken it heavily so that the original can’t be deciphered. Often that only serves to make us aware of its presence more and to be reminded of its ugliness. We can choose to treat it like some of the tattoo or scar coverups. With skill on our part and perhaps with the help of others we can alter those lines and shapes by adding to them and writing over them and create something new and lovely in the place of what we did not like. We could tear off that part of the page and throw it in the trash. That choice might well leave us un-whole. We can recognize the blip we don’t like or did not want and decide what is needed to balance it out to make it an integral part of our picture. Then we can do the work to add those components to our page to create that balance.

How we choose to deal with those blips (our imperfections, tragedies, challenges) along with our styles of drawing (exuberant, calm, joyful, reticent) will create the page that is our life. All of us want to have a beautiful life. Thankfully each of us has a different idea of beauty. Picasso, Wyeth, Monet, Munch, Dali, and VanGogh all created beauty and it all looks different. We are more diverse that they are.

What a gorgeous gallery we create. And not an eraser in sight.


  1. Sue


  2. Pat Holley

    Without a life eraser…

    So, I made this blob, and it is ugly…it interrupts my life…an ink blot right in the middle of the thing…
    My choice is to add to it… Add circles and curlycues and feathers and stars… Color and shapes, ribbon and thread..and keep embellishing until it becomes a whole picture. Go till fills the whole room! Even more mistakes will add to and give a unique quality that belongs only to you, …your lines may be bold with color, or soft and gentle…it is you, and you only. Surround it with love..and you have a quilt!
    And, sometimes it is hard work to figure out how to make the best of the blobs…but, in the end, they are the backbone of the quilt…they are a starting point, even if it is the middle of the making of the quilt …it is what gets us moving, thinking. It is experience! Everything begins in chaos, so they say..but it moves toward perfection…it is what makes ‘us’. So, i think those blobs are important, because it changes us for the better…it is motivating…challenging…frustrating, and rewarding..and you will have something tangible to keep you warm and safe the rest of your life…

    And a bonus —it is beautiful!

    Bonus #2. Not everyone needs to know how much spit goes into a quilt to keep it straight, and blend in the blobs…no eraser needed…

    Such as life…


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