History teaches

I am taking an essay writing class for the next 10 weeks. So I may from time to time post either entire essays or excerpts from essays that I write. Here is the first excerpt:

It should have been a clue that my favorite part of studying for the MCAT was not the sense of purpose, but my emerging artistic impulse. I bought a pad, a charcoal and a sturdy eraser and, books pushed to the side, worked tirelessly on portraits of Katherine Hepburn and Billie Holiday, copying from black-and-white postcards I’d bought at the bookstore. I had never thought of myself as artistic. My childhood attempt at drawing ended with ridicule. I learned that errors were prohibitively costly, their risks unacceptable. But now on weekends, in the solitude of my apartment, my eye was drawn to the geometry of light and dark, the secret symmetries of the faces, their interplay of subtly contradictory emotions. Both portraits captured luminosity, courage to be seen. The charcoal in my fingers was moving on the page like a planchette on a ouija board. I would draw until the last vestiges of daylight were swallowed by darkness, and then I’d study a little.



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