She sits with knife in hand
and pigments in a wooden box at her feet,
mixing a viridescent shade to layer onto lovingly stretched canvas.
The canvas depicts tranquility, calm.
Impasto renditions of what her life is not.
Surprised by the sharp resurgent pain
she takes an even sharper breath and leans forward to layer in the greens,
pleased with what she sees.
Lamenting her sore ribs,
she thinks of Phillip.
He doesn’t understand her art,
her drive to create
something that will last longer than either of them.
Finally deciding, she removes the ring from her hand, drops it, and
presses it down with her foot. To cover it, conceal it,
“Do you think we should try?”
“If we risk it, we might lose everything.”
“But if we don’t… we lose the opportunity.
“If we lose everything, we can probably rebuild, if we lose this chance – we never get it back.”
07 December 2014
Yesterday’s adventure with the Book Bandits.
The prompts were:
- Wading in through the bubbles
- It’s all about the silence
- Melinda was a poet
Melinda was a poet who wrote nothing down. She was amazing and publishers competed to print her books of blank pages.
Melinda felt strongly that art should be interpreted not by the artist but by the readers. She tried her hand at acting but there was already an abundance of mimes. She experimented with film but no one wanted silent movies anymore. That medium had already been exhausted. Music had seemed promising but ultimately didn’t work either, because the radio stations didn’t like to broadcast silence… But books!
Well, books were the thing for Melinda. She first self published her silent novel but it was too large for a debut piece. Nine-hundred forty-seven pages of hard bound blank sheets necessitated a big investment from the reader, especially for work by an unknown author. At least that was what her marketing senses told her. She decided that she should print a collection of her poetry. She interspersed her verse with a few short stories, to serve as variety and published one hundred and seventeen blank pages. She allowed her friends to talk her into an ecru cover on that one and the critics loved it.
People would purchase her silent book and use their own pens, pencils, crayons, charcoal, pastels or paints to interpret what she hadn’t written down or put on the pages herself. The book immediately screamed to number seven on the New York Times Bestseller List and Melinda quickly brought out another volume of just verse. One hundred and fifty pages, college ruled and spiral bound. It sold millions of copies the very first day and reprints are still flying off the shelves.
Melinda doesn’t write silent poetry anymore. She lives off the royalties generated from the works she didn’t write in the first place. Reprinting the short volumes keeps her well paid and Random House is rumored to be discussing a re-release of her debut novel. Some believe that readers will now be willing to make that initial investment. Melinda is, after all, now well known. Oprah has hinted that she is willing to endorse it which is a guarantee of success.
Melinda is a poet – A poet who writes silence.
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper.
Red smoke conceals truth.
I gather allies.
Grandpa was filled with wisdom, words to live by. He passed out advice like it was nearing its expiration date. He once told me, “Never admit to being intelligent or having a driving license.” I’ve been trying for years to figure out what that meant, or what predicated him to verbalize it but I’ve remembered it all these years. It stuck with me and I have, in turn, passed it on to my daughters and my grandson. I felt somewhat duty-bound to do so, somewhat compelled to make them ponder the meaning of this advice in the same manner as I have .
Sometimes Grandpa would use an event as a life-lesson moment to teach my sister and I something important. One event that clearly illustrates this proclivity was the time my cousin, my sister and I stole cigarettes and “chawin’ tabacky” from my dad and grandpa, respectively. I was about eight years old. My sister and my cousin would therefore have been ten, or so. We went out behind the barn and commenced to experiment. As we hung around smoking and chawin’ and generally acting cool and sophisticated we watched the local wildlife. There was a frog sitting on the ground near a growth of tall grass. I was thinking of catching the frog and chasing my sister with it, but before I could act on this idea a snake struck and snatched the frog into his mouth. My cousin screamed and my grandfather came running around the corner of the barn with garden tools in hand. We watched as the lump, which was the frog made its way down the body of the snake and my grandpa pinned the snake’s head down with a pitchfork. Grandpa then used a shovel to cut the snake in half right in front of the frog-lump. The frog slid out of the bisected snake and hopped away.
Grandpa looked at us kids and said, “Let this be a lesson to you kids. The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.” Now, I understand what the lesson means. I understand very well, but I’m still a bit unsure of how to relate it to the snake and the frog.
Grandpa was a story teller. Often his words of wisdom would precede a story or sometimes, like a modern day Aesop he would summarize his story with a moral, more often than not though he would simply announce some great truth.
I leave you with some of the more colorful ones that I remember.
Never discuss religion or politics with anyone you want to remain friends with.
Never play cards with a man called ‘Doc’.
Never sleep with a woman who has more problems than you do.
Only you can decide if you want something more than you fear it.