Paint


I was going to tell you about the perfect summer evening. Of the cerulean sky. And how I feel dead honest when I write cerulean, entitled to that word because I was a painter, and if I had my tubes right here, cerulean would be the one I would choose. Maybe now you’ll think of Bob Ross and van dyke brown or titanium white, fan brushes, happy little trees.

The summer after college I worked a two-week stint for a small but renowned oil paint maker in upstate New York. Archival quality paint, the stuff they use for restoration work at the Met. The paint a young painter does not need but thinks she needs. I labeled tubes and they paid me in paint. It was boring and bucolic. Twenty years later, I still have some tubes with the life squeezed out of them, congealed linseed oil sealing the tops shut forever.

I was going to tell you about the perfect summer evening. Geese flying against the cerulean sky. My view from the library window. I was going to tell you how I should be walking the beach with my husband and daughter. Instead I’m here, pulling Adrienne Rich off the shelf, and then Kay Ryan, only because she’s right next to Adrienne Rich and the cover art of her book is Joshua trees in silhouette. A deadline looming, and I’m reading poetry.

I never meant to tell you about the paint. The way turpentine smells like drunk youth and dreams.

The way this writing project feels like an excavation of self. Like so many hours of nothing but dust, for the rare days I hit bone.

(Post 223 of 365)

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14 thoughts on “Paint”

  1. Gorgeous writing here. Cerulean is a magical work & there is a children’s book, isn’t there, about a boy searching for that color that he’s seen somewhere and can’t remember where?

    Thank you for returning me to Rich. Years ago she invaded thoughts on my blog too. And I have to keep remembering:

    “the sea is another story
    the sea is not a question of power
    I have to learn alone
    to turn my body without force
    in the deep element.”

    and

    “the thing I came for:
    the wreck and not the story of the wreck
    the thing itself and not the myth”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I must hunt down that children’s book! The subject of which has my mind swirling with different ideas. These quotes from the Rich’s Diving Into the Wreck–YES!! Thank you for the power and beauty of these words.

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      1. Thanks for asking about the novel, Sarah. I can’t seem to get the beginning to work. After putting it aside for a couple of weeks, instead of yet another attempt to “fix” it, I’m going to go wide and look at the question of why I’m having such trouble telling the beginning of this story…

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              1. Good for you, Megan! I’ve been filling up notebooks again too. More free-flow; the writing comes differently. I think about that Dinty W. Moore quote, try writing by hand because “your fingers are connected to your arm, the veins to the heart.”

                Liked by 2 people

        1. Cynthia, the more I write, the more I’m mystified by how a novel comes together. I know this is often asked, but do you suspect the beginning starts further in? I like this idea of “going wide” and exploring why you’re having trouble telling it. I’m so curious about what you’ll discover!

          Liked by 1 person

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