A picture is worth a thousand words

Most of us doodle or scribble little sketches at some time in our life, but we seldom retain those momentary imagery efforts. Since time immemorial there have been hieroglyphics and carvings in caves and rock faces and painted face masks and tattoos to adorn the human body.

The urge to create graphically has been witnessed, recorded and cherished (mostly) throughout history. Even now the desire to decorate/desecrate walls and buildings with graffiti is a fact of life we are obliged to tolerate. A pleasing exception, I have to concede, is some of the bold postscript – amateur signatures and drawings on railroad containers – which make the passage of a 100-car convoy a tolerable, if not enjoyable, delay.

My recent venture into artistic endeavours came in the form of the simple pencil sketches that serve as the opening teaser for each chapter of The Frolicking Physio. These illustrations came about quite accidentally. I found myself doodling as I tried to recall details and memories of the distant past, in a time when the photographic record of places and happenings were precious few.

Trying to recreate in my writing some degree of accuracy of tiny details, I found that “painting a picture” (rough diagrams and squiggles on paper) helped bring back snippets of those far off times.

Musing over a faint memory – my visit to the Recruiting Sergeant’s cramped office in 1957 – I distinctly recalled a photo of the Queen and a Union Jack flag on the wall, a burning cigarette in the ashtray, and medals above that veteran’s left pocket on his battledress tunic. Once these trigger items were identified, other details were easy to conjure up and even embellish marginally.

The Recruiting Officer

Thus a thumbnail sketch as a prelude to each chapter became what I hoped would be a worthwhile addition to my writings.

Feedback from those who have read The Frolicking Physio has been very pleasing and has prompted me to a new venture that I hope will come to fruition in the foreseeable future. Many of my new readers have commented, “Oh, I remember reading your first book, (The Clockwatcher) but I loaned it to someone and never got it back.”

Now out of print, I’m considering a plan to do an updated edition of that 1988 creation, including a 20-page postscript and a pencil sketch lead-in to each chapter. I shudder to think that those pictures might make the subsequent thousand-words redundant!

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