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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Meadow

They were both in total agreement. Neither of them knew just how long they had been in the forest, but they knew it had been a long time. There wasn’t any time to waste either, as they had been approaching this clearing for hours and the forest had turned into a very dark and dangerous place to be. Even Notso knew they had to move fast. He whimpered and circled nervously at the edge of the forest before the clearing. They could see the meadow that lay before them clearly now. It was beautiful! The bright green, tall grass was waving gently in the wind and the sky was a deep blue without a cloud in sight. Lucky knew though that what they saw now wasn’t what was really beyond the forest edge. He has no idea what to expect, but if he didn’t move fast, he was liable to be snake food.

“Come on, Notso!” he called and took a running leap out of the forest.

As he crossed the line, just as he expected, everything changed! The meadow wasn’t a meadow at all. It was a desert! Lucky landed from his leap right into a cactus.

“Ouch! Owww! That was stupid! Why did I jump right over the line? Owww!!” cried Lucky as he began picking thorns out of his hands and arms.

Notso, being a bit more cautious, walked slowly over the line and over to Lucky. He started licking Lucky’s hands and whimpering.

“Did you see what happened, Notso? Did you see what that cactus did to me? Stupid cactus!”

Notso gave an exuberant bark in agreement and then growled at the cactus.

“Come on, Notso, let’s see if we can find any clues around here.”

The desert was almost totally bare, aside from a few scattered cacti and rocks. Other than that, it was sand, as fas as the eye could see…

– Written by Mr. T on December 18, 2011

Van Gogh

“Hello, Mr. Van Gogh,” I greeted the familiar artists when he walked into my father’s store.

The red-bearded man nodded and replied a gruff hello as he ambled past me toward the rolls of blank canvas at the back of the room.

Such a strange man he was, I thought to myself. My father said all true artists were like that, wholly lost in their craft and unable to adapt to the normal social interactions many of us would expect because the artist’s mind was enraptured with the image of life that played in his head.

“They see things differently than us,” Father once explained. “And the only way they’re able to communicate that to us is through paint, chalk, acting, or song.”

I admired men such as Van Gogh, who was fully emerged in his art, only willing to take a break from his vision when he needed new brushes or paint or sometimes food. Every so often, I caught him seated with Paul Gauguin or Emile Bernard at a cafe two streets over from our store. There they sat, fully consumed in their heated discussions about artists’ influences and the rigid techniques they preferred to abandon for their own forms of self-expression.

The artist’s life seemed enchanting, but I could ever be one, I should think I’d dress and appear nicer than the cold, disheveled man who occasionally ambled into the store to “borrow” canvas from my father.

“The plight of a true artist is not always rewarded with money,” Father acknowledged. “You must remember that there are more starving artists than well-fed fat ones. The absence of food and materials feeds their imaginations and helps them to create their truly magnificent art.”

Then he made me promise not to tell Mother, who felt no sympathy for men who couldn’t pay. She doesn’t understand the artist’s way, my father cautioned me, but his secret was hidden for only so long because I heard her shouting about “lost inventory” and my father’s weak character.

“You’d give away the whole store if you could!” she squealed. “Until that man’s art pays for our store, he is not getting one more inch of canvas from us, do you hear me?”

Father had nodded to calm her, promising no more freebies to artists or beggars alike, and yet as I stocked the shelf with spools of thread, Mr. Van Gogh shuffled past me, hugging a bundle under his coat.

I glanced at my father, who winked and smiled, a sheepish look on his content face when he gave a little wave and called out, “Thank you for your business, Mr. Van Gogh. We hope you have a wonderful day!”

– Written by Miss A on December 18, 2011

Evergreen

"Evergreen," written by Miss A on December 15, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Christmas, there was a fight in my house over how we’d decorate the tree, an evergreen we’d purchased from a pop-up store in a grocery store parking lot during the weekend after Thanksgiving. I loved watching my father untie the twine binding the branches toward the trunk and seeing them bounce and stretch into the air like birds about to take flight.

The rich pine needle smell would waft through the formal living room, where the tree was centered for all who came to our front door to see. Which made me proud on the years we decorated it the way I liked it. Probably the only instance in my entire life where I agreed with my mother: Christmas trees should be strung with white lights, crimson red bows, gold and silver balls, and red or white ornaments. The key was the white lights, which shone like stars among the pine needles and sturdy branches. I wanted them to sparkle and dance around the tree every year.

But my dad and little sister preferred those tacky colored lights that seemed more fitting for trailer homes or college dorms, not luscious green evergreen trees which shaded red, green, and gold-wrapped boxes filled with toys – and the occasional sweater or underwear (always my mother’s idea of a gift for anyone, including my seven-year-old friends).

On every Sunday after Thanksgiving, the shouting would ensue over white lights or color lights, always ending with my dad throwing his hands in the air, exclaiming “Do what you want! I don’t care,” and retreating to the den to watch golf and football. In my mind, if he wasn’t going to fight for the red, green, orange, blue, and pink lights, then white they should be – but my mother, in one of her rare moments of guilt or charity, would cave in and pathetically ask my dad to help her with stringing his rainbow lights on the top of our tree. And while my little sister bounced gleefully around the ornament boxes, there I would stand, sulking over a perfect tree ruined by pink and orange hues that were not meant for Christmas, and make a mental note of who won the fight that weekend so that I would have the grounds to win the next round of arguments when they started again the following year.

– Written by Miss A on December 15, 2011

a Pen

A pen travels across the page, swirling and looping, skipping and then stopping suddenly to exclaim, “Oh my! I believe I’ve forgotten what to write next!”

I freeze, surprised my common ink pen has spoken words, real words. Has the constant lack of sleep penetrated that far into my psyche that I now hear Mickey Mouse voices coming from my pen? At least they don’t sound like Donald Duck. I never liked him too much, anyway.

“Aw shucks! You’re not crazy!” the pen interrupts my thoughts to say. “I like to be creative, too, you know. Your writing is just as much mine as it is yours, but gosh darn it, I’ve drawn a blank – er, I mean, I haven’t drawn a thing, really, since I can’t think of what to ink next.”

He stares at the half-finished page of my (our?) notebook and sighs.

“Sometimes, it comes so easy…but other days, it feels like wet cement is being dumped in my head, and there’s simply no room for another thought or word.”

I nod sympathetically. Oh wow, am I commiserating with my pen? I might be nuttier than I previously thought!

“You’re not nutty!” the pen interjects. “Maybe tired and overwhelmed sometimes, but not insane, demented, stupid, or anything that is incapable of expressing a coherent thought. You’re obviously aware I’m having a conversation with you, which in itself proves you’re self-aware.”

Maybe too self-aware, if I can talk to pens, but that is a thought to resolve at another time. How can I help this pen get back on its feet and play across the crisp, white page like it used to do?

“Have you got any coffee?” the Mickey Mouse voice asks. “Sometimes that helps. Or maybe if you take me for a walk or run? I’m an excellent cleaner, too – scrubbing bathtubs might get my juices flowing again.”

Those all sound like distractions, if you ask me. I scratch my head for a moment and think about what works for me when the words have escaped my cluttered head and sought refuge in their impish games of hide-and-seek.

I’ve got it! I have an idea to jolt your brain, er, whatever helps you think and write. What if I simply move you across the page, this way and that? Perhaps I can help you along. We could draw a line together, or a circle, even a square! Or a star? Do you like stars?

And as I explain my idea, I lift the pen and rapidly cross him across the page, helping him ink long black lines and short curly-Qs, stars and flowers, pictures of words that are easy to draw.

Then suddenly the stem of a flower evolves into the root of a word, and before my eyes, I watch in wonder as my pen feels inspired to write again!

– Written by Miss A on December 13, 2011

Red

Red is passion. Anger. Love. And how all three are intertwined in a virulent circle of infinite feeling, emotion. Red forces me to stop. Pay attention. Fear. Tap my fingers on the steering wheel and wait. Red yells NO! Tells me I can’t go further than the borders it has pre-defined. Red holds me hostage, then seals my lips with a kiss. Pumps the blood through my veins and trickles down my skin when I knick my knee with the double-bladed razor. Red blossoms into a dozen petals, propped seductively atop a green, thorny stem. It is red that warms my heart…and ignites fire in my eyes. 

Red. A simple, three-letter word with enormous powers to move people, worlds, attention. Bring about change. Dominate. Demand loyalty. Red is regal, long, velvet trains lined with the softest white fur. Red is the carpet which famous people walk when they’re trying to sell their latest film, song, creative love. Red holds court, captures and enraptures. Flashes a hint of skin between translucent silk of the brightest crimson. 

Tell me where the red wine flows, pours freely from the plumpest grapes of Spain, France, Italy. Red courses through their rivers, the sweetest alcohol mixed with the patriot’s blood. Roars with joy and spirit. 

Red is defiant. Rebellious. Courageous. Willing to fight for the balance we all deserve in our lives. The balance of love, honor, respect, equality. Red motivates us to go on. Breathes life into the dullest moments and the coldest rooms…

– Written by Miss A on December 3, 2011

a Moon

Big and round, a luminescent ball of white glowing bright in the clear, black sky. Hanging in the infinite universe above us so high. And how far can it see into the expansive galaxy, of which I have a more limited view? Can the moon talk to Saturn’s moons as they waltz around their planets…well, how do you do this fine evening? Why, I’m very well, thank you, and how are you? Good, thanks, simply enjoying the fine views of my brilliantly lit planet. Sometimes I wonder if they can even see me anymore with all those invasive street lights and tall, office buildings blocking out the sky. I’m not sure they even want my beautiful night anymore. Most of them can’t even see the stars. Such a shame.

It is a shame, says Saturn’s moon. Who wouldn’t want a view of these infinite spaces, dotted with diamonds that glitter and twinkle like so? Seems like such a waste, if they can’t appreciate the beauty all around us out here. Well, perhaps they will appreciate your glow again – when their iridescent lights blow out and they have nothing but you and the stars to light their way.

But there is me, on earth, standing outside and exclaiming how full the moon looks tonight, even against the glare of city lights and sweeping car beams. How grand it is, perched in the sky, watching quietly over the world as it darkens and tires after a long day with the sun. The moon is my symbol of rest and serenity. It is my moment when I stop and appreciate the eternal universe that is blocked by the radiant sun until it departs my city for the day. The moon is my respite. How many times do I exclaim how full it looks on a given night, or how the sliver of a crescent moon hangs so delicately in the night sky? I can not say the same for the sun, who shines the same every day, never leaving me to wonder what side of itself it will reveal at high noon.

I see you, moon. I notice your grand beauty. I envy your ability to see farther than my limited view. You have the big picture, when all I can see appears so small.

– Written by Miss A on November 26, 2011. Serendipitously, this entry was written six hours before Miss A viewed Rene Magritte’s Le Seize Septembre and Le Page Blanche for the first time at a museum in Brussels, Belgium.