The idea of taking five words and creating a post with them [was] floating the internet.
My words, from Wendy Miller of All In a Day's Thought, were contentment, water, childhood, grasp, and art. I wanted to create fiction with them, and I hope you'll enjoy this vignette I wrote.
*** originally posted October of 2009 ***
People ask about my inspiration. Much like the attention of artist-hungry women, I’ve come to expect the question. What inspires you? And I have to steel myself before every show, bite the inside of my lip before I answer.
Of course, they pick up on the water theme woven throughout; it’s plain in every painting. But they assume it’s all borne of contentment, a man’s life spent on the lake. And they want to hear tell of creation spurred by deep, happy memory.
They’re right. That’s part of it, because I grew up at the water’s edge, and in its depths. It defined my childhood, my activity, the cool, smooth personality friends have long insisted is mine. It explains the fluid peace of my outer world. Fuels my art, too.
But what they don’t see, what I ensure is impossible for my audience to grasp, is the loss each piece represents. They’d never guess my work isn’t just from memory; it’s also in memoriam.
My brother’s initials are forever tucked away, whether carved into the fluff of a cloud, hidden beneath a boat stern, along the bushy tail of a treed squirrel. And in the twists and twirls of current, in the blue wisps of slight wave, I again and again feel the emotion of the day he died on the water we both loved.
Sometimes it’s too much. Other times, not enough. And I can’t stop, either way, because I’m driven. It is what inspires me.
It's what I can’t tell them, those people who ask.
**My latest humor post is up at An Army of Ermas.