Thursday, October 24, 2013

Doodling as Currency of the Heart

Doodling as Currency of the Heart
James Garamella - Dyslexic Jazz Doodler

James Garamella and some of his doodles.

The Dyslexic Jazz Doodler shifted his platform from personal doodling to public art. Two pieces of James Garamella's art were on display at the Pequot Library Art Show last weekend. When one piece sold Jim donated the proceeds of the sale to the library.

His doodles, his generosity and his passion for children intrigued me and  captured my imagination. I am interested in the reasons why people give their time and themselves away. Jim's reasons come right out of his childhood experiences in school. 

Jim said, "By fourth grade I was banished to the coat closet, asleep or doodling." It was clear learning was hard for him. His learning style was not the same as the other kids in class. Jim was lost in the school system. Dyslexia and learning styles hadn't yet been defined and there was no help for him.

He found self expression in doodling which has now become his art form. Doodling also became his  personal shorthand. 

After being expelled from two Bridgeport High Schools, Jim went on to develop a successful career as a builder in the city of Bridgeport. He was once invited to speak at a school Professional Day. He expected to speak to a group of seventh and eighth graders but much to his surprise he was assigned to a fourth grade class.   He wasn't sure what to say to them so he asked for a storybook and began to read.  When he finished the story he described his struggle to learn to read. He asked if anyone in the room was struggling with reading and asked for a show of hands. Four little boys sitting at one table looked at each other, shrugged and raised their hands.

Jim spoke directly to those four boys and told them to ask for help when they needed it. He told them not be embarrassed because learning to read is that important.

His passion now is to encourage kids who learn differently. This Saturday he will offer an art experience for children at the Weston Library. He will tell his story and encourage all who come to draw or doodle and then he will frame their creations.

Jim's offering at the library is an example of  what I call spending currency of the heart.

After our interview, he  gave me a gift of this angel print and said "The angel's message is everything will be all right." Be an angel and bring a child to the art event at the Weston Library on Saturday October 26, 2013 at 10AM. All materials and instruction are provided by James Garamella.

 Jim's website is

Rosemary Williams launched Currency of the Heart to inspire readers to “pay it forward” from the heart’s most precious currency. We’d love to hear from you! To share your story or to request permission to republish this blog post, please email 

© 2013 Rosemary Williams