Their mouths hang open gently, their eyes flick back and forth, and their pencils move slowly across the page.
Earlier that day, their teacher and I discussed how unfocused and distracting this group of students can be, but right now, I am witnessing these boys in the zone. Stephen Nachmanovitch, author of Free Play, might say that they were “disappearing” into the work. By disappearing, Nachmanovitch explains, “Mind and sense are arrested for a moment, fully in the experience. Nothing else exists. (…) Attention and intention fuse.”1 They are so immersed in their work that I am inspired to draw them, and I become similarly absorbed.
Later, in the next class, a student sees my sketch. She asks me about it and when I explain the moment to her, she says, “Yeaaaah, well good thing you drew it because that’s something you’re probably not gonna see again.”
1 Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art (New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 1990), 51.