I rode the #41 bus today, a highway route. The speed of the bus makes it bumpier than a normal route, but I only noticed this because I was sketching on my iPad. As we headed North on I-5, it was wiggly lines or nothing. So I imagined a dead tree and continued.

The situation reminded of something that Dan Snow, a master dry stone mason, wrote about incorporating accidents into design. He writes beautifully on the subject of masonry because he’s so in tune with the role that time and nature play in his work and he has a philosopher’s touch. I’m finishing two of his books right now, and this is from Listening to Stone:

As I wandered around the [Anasazi] ruins, their striking forms and intriguing spaces caused me to ponder a notion. If it could be said that accident played a strong role in their creation, then accidents must be a very good designer. I could do worse than to adopt accident as my mentor. And while I may not be able to design by accident, as happens in long-established, built environments, perhaps I could create accident by design; purposefully creating the space and opportunity for accident to happen. In a way, I could make pieces of work that grew organically within the parameter of a narrow time frame.

If I need another organic, squiggly line, it’s simple: I’ll catch the #41 and take out a pen.