I'm lucky that I don't deal with a real fear of flying. My lower-grade discomfort squirms with antsy legs and flat air and the inescapable truth that I must sit with myself for hours on end.* But the unique confinement of an airplane has granted me permission to be unproductive when little else could. This was a safe space, full of vapid magazines, endless podcasts, and the most legitimate excuse I could find to avoid the drearies of being responsible.
Recently though, something has changed. I've found drawing again, and suddenly a day of traveling sails by.
In the past few years, a growing need to have my art legitimized by the world became inversely proportional to the amount of time I spent creating. The self-imposed pressure to be Great kicked drawing right into my gaggle of "shoulds" and right out of the de-pressurized main cabin of economy class. Luckily, art knows its place in my life, and yesterday I spent a good deal of my seven hours in the air with pen in hand.
The easy metaphor for this small triumph would be that I was a plane, soaring through the cloudy turbulence of life and mind to reach my final destination. Really though, this was much more about being grounded. True, I didn't like most of my drawings and spent hours chasing one character to completion. I wasn't accomplishing great feats of genius, but I was moving forward. Like my surroundings, this caused me some mild discomfort. But I got where I was going, and that, I think, counts for quite a lot.
* I realize these complaints are petty at best. The brilliant Louis CK captures this fact perfectly.
I must note the visual inspiration I recently garnered from the notebooks of Mattias Adolfsson. I can't say enough about this staggeringly prolific illustrator, and I encourage you to delve into his work whenever you need a reminder of where pen and ink can take you.