An Imaginary Conversation
From Doodle & The Zentangle® Process

Elizabeth Benham CZT  Over the last year, EB has read many discussions postulating Doodling and the Zentangle process as being at odds. In EB’s imagination this is what she thinks the Zentnagle process and Doodling might say if they could get a word in edge-wise. Elizabeth felt compelled to finally write out her thoughts on this topic when she read that a CZT is, “sick of the word Doodle,” because EB loves the word & deeds of, “Doodle,” as much as she loves the words & deeds of, “the Zentangle process.”

 Doodle-ing and the Zentangle® Process Are Friends-- Not Enemies

 Please do not make me, the Zentangle process and me, Doodle-ing enemies. It is a bit of a convoluted knot, and we think it needs to be un-Not-ed.

There is no war between us. We each wish humans would not belittle either one of us, especially in relation to each other. We thank Margret Bremmer, CZT for her efforts to set folks straight and recommend that those who “take sides,” read her article in which she respectfully describes how we differ, and notes we are both valuable.

 Unfortunately, I, Doodle-ing have a long history of prejudice against me, and many humans have absorbed those tenants from their teachers, parents, and other members of human society.

 Those humans who love me and have had a painful history of having their Doodles seen in the eyes of prejudice take offense at the disdain of those who make truly uninformed, de-valuing remarks such as, “Stop Doodle-ing & pay attention!” “It’s nothing, it’s just a Doodle,” “Doodling is a waste of time” etc.

 Many similarly prejudiced critics have applied that same disdain to me, the Zentangle process, i.e. “It’s just Doodle-ing, anybody can do that.” “It’s just Doodle-ing—I’ve been doing that all my life; I’m not paying anyone to teach me that‼” That may be where some of the perceived antagonism between us arose... Well, that and what appears to be others taking advantage of my creators’ hard work by mimicking my name and missing the boat on my process—and of course the other folks who think my creators have hijacked Doodle. The former two though, go back—no matter which “side” the warrior takes—to a prejudice against my friend, Doodle-ing (sigh). A lot of people would not be offended for me, if they did not think Doodle is inferior to me.

 It appears that many humans who love me, Doodle, and who have had prejudice applied to their renditions of me, have misunderstood the efforts people-who-love-Tangle have made to differentiate the Zentangle process from me. They seem to be only able to hear the well-intentioned Tanglers attempts as more of the same prejudice against me and themselves. In some cases, though, where some Tanglers do hold belittling Doodle prejudices, Doodlers are accurate in sensing more belittlement.

 So, we both want to appeal to those particular Tanglers to please re-examine their opinions for prejudice against Doodle-ing, and broaden their concept of Doodle-ing beyond their own experiences of it---and know others’ experience of Doodle-ing-- as they are Doodle-ing-- may be completely different from their own.

And to Doodlers, we ask that you please note: Many, many Tanglers LOVE Doodle-ing as well as Tangling, and sometimes it is because- for some individuals, some of the time--many of Doodle-ing’s benefits are similar, if not the same as Tangling.  We have many things in common, so please know that makes us friends who are on the same side.

 To those Tanglers who may feel obliged to defend me, Zentangle, against the disdain you feel aimed at me when I am compared to Doodle-ing, and who have felt a need to prove that I am more valuable than my friend, Doodle--I ask you not to buy into the misleading paradigm that one of us has to be more valuable than the other. We do not and are not.

 We would also like to point out that just because something is considered either simpler or more complicated, has delineated steps or has no steps, does not infer or determine its value. What gives it value is what it brings to each individual. Both of us bring Marvel-ous things to you humans, so please do not disparage either of us, or create a false dichotomy between us. Instead, why not stick up for BOTH of us, as Margret Bremmer CZT3 has done in this excerpt from her article, "The Art of Zentangle Drawing"?

"A zentangle can look deceptively like doodling, but doodling it is not.
Doodling is something you do with your hands while your thoughts are elsewhere, and can be very useful in some circumstances.
On the other hand, this art form is very focused. Your attention is on the pen, the paper, the flow of the ink, the patterns, the drawing; each stroke is drawn consciously and deliberately. "

I would add to Margret’s description that Doodle-ing, like me, Zentangle, is also something that can result in beautiful and unexpected, even inspiring images. Many tanglers (& other humans) save the Doodles they are especially fond of and some people use their Doodles as the basis for future artistic designs, and even  new Zentangle patterns (see 60 Minutes: ). On the other hand, many Doodlers have found their practice of the Zentangle process has enriched their Doodle-ing and Doodled images.

 Recent research reports Doodling seems to put our brains in a state  in which we can absorb and retain new information at higher rates. We both think that is probably another attribute we share. So, our punchline is : We have many things in common and we are simultaneously different in many ways, which, like many good relationships, is why we are such good friends—not the enemies some folks think we must be.

 We also ask you to consider:  It is possible that a creator’s frustration with repeated misrepresentation of the Mindfulness process and artform they have painstakingly and lovingly created is NOT the same as disdain for the thing it is being misrepresented as. Rather, it might be frustration, and incredulousness toward the prejudice & preconceptions that misrepresent the creation into which they have poured their souls. It might simply be wanting the NEW creation to be seen, experienced, understood and valued as ITSELF.

In closing, we respectfully request:  When someone is disparaging of either of us, please stick up for both of us by pointing out how great we both are; how we are similar, how we are different, and equally valuable. Tell those people, “Sometimes you want a pear and sometimes you want to learn how to make peach cobbler→one you can just pick up and eat, the other has steps you learn to follow. Both are wonderful fruit desserts and both can nourish human beings‼”

 Cheers to all from both of us!


© Elizabeth Benham CZT 5/3/2014
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