From Chapter One of Why Drawing Naked Women Is Good For The Soul:
I drew. She read. I occasionally praised her concentration. She talked about philosophy and I talked about anything that came into my head. And then I told her the story, over coffee, of the various times that led to my taking up drawing. She listened intently.
‘Drawing was good for your soul.’
‘I am a devote ex catholic. I lost all that soul stuff.’
‘A soul can be as broad as you wish it. Or as narrow as you wish it. It is all the unresolved things about your life that do not fit into your brain or your heart.’
She came back to the mobile home I had rented on the campsite and took a shower. She was tall and good-bodied, with good breasts. And she got me thinking about how I was rescued by drawing. And all the other parts of me were tacked on to that central thing: drawing. And drawing naked women in particular.
‘I could not tell you how many naked women I have drawn. Hundreds. Hundreds.’
‘You must write about it.’
A few weeks afterward she wrote to me from Paris; now back at the university she wrote: ‘Capture those stories you told me on the beach. I think I will never rise above that short time. When the sand and the wind, and the rain and the sun inspired us to work together.’
I wrote back and said that she was a tonic. That I had gone to France to the campsite to get away from the pressures of life, just to draw. And she had made all of this possible. And that now she was enshrined in many drawings and I would send her some. And she must come to London and be drawn again.
From Why Drawing Naked Women Is Good For The Soul, by John Bird.