Development of the Teratoheart

Artwork, Taos Writing Retreat Issue

Development of the Teratoheart

This was drawn using markers and a ballpoint pen during an oncology lecture. The “teratoheart” is a pseudofictional intellectualization of a teratoma, which is a tumor famous for containing strange tissues such as teeth and hair. This particular teratoma contains doodle monsters. The word teratoma derives from the greek “teras,” or “monster.” The quote at the top of the drawing, “teach us what we need to be doctors,” was from a medical school classmate attending the same lecture. The sentiment of students just interested in learning what they “need” to know was a common theme in medical school, a sentiment that I rebelled against with the full brunt of my youthful spirit. The sketchbook response to my classmate’s question was “you need to know nothing, but learn everything,” a sort of one-two punch: first dismissing the illusion of knowledge and then demanding a seemingly impossible but secretly liberating perspective of limitless learning.

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