Friday, October 29, 2010

5 Words into Fiction (repost)

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.


Jackee said...

Oh, Janna! That is so beautifully said. I'm so sorry for your loss.

I recently heard JK Rowling say that her mom's death was the hardest thing she ever had to face, but if she had not died, there would be no Harry Potter. Out of her loss sprung her inspiration and sensitivity to write that story as it needed to be written.


Wendy Paine Miller said...

I remember this. You know what's cool? You wrote this a year ago. I love how I've come to know you more even in this last year.

~ Wendy

Angie Muresan said...

Powerful writing, Janna. And not a wasted word. It reminds me of Anita Shreve's. Did I tell you that she's one of my favorites?

Carrie Wilson Link said...


Erin MacPherson said...

What a beautiful post. So well written!

Anonymous said...

I remember this from last year! Loved it then and love it now. I love your writing style, it's so.... curl-up-in-a-chair-with-hot-chocolate-and-read-for-hours.

Is that a style? It's awesome.

Karen said...

I remembered this. What a clever idea. I think I did that too. But, hey, that's been a I think I did. :P

Karen Lange said...

It's amazing what can come out of 5 words. It is stirring; thank you for sharing it again.

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

What a very sensitive piece.
Sorry for your loss.

Tena Russ said...

I haven't even begun to approach the loss of my brother. Your post is wonderful. I especially love what you say about not just from memory but in memoriam.

Author Jessica Nelson said...

Wow, this is so good! I can't remember if I read it before or not but you did an amazing job!

Kathryn Magendie said...

Was coming to read and then Norah Kathryn came over - tehee - she's trying to get my attention, so now I have to hurry and comment and say I'll be back later! :-D

Patti Lacy said...

Janna, you are such a marvelous writer. May GOD use your loss to passionate your writing (yes, a new verb) and help other heal.

Miss you, girl.

Jill Kemerer said...

This breaks my heart. I'm so sorry, Janna. I can't even imagine.

Unspoken said...

Very believable piece of fiction!

septembermom said...

Beautifully written. Very powerful and moving. Thank you Janna.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Thanks everyone! I take it as the biggest compliment that some of you took this to be a real-life occurance. ;)