A Beautiful Coin Flip

She had a weakness for writers. Maybe it was the brooding nature, the way that a sitting silence could fill volumes. Maybe it was the self-assured smirk that so often sat below haunted eyes. Maybe it was because she was never so good with words.

Her creativity was one of warmth, one that filled the lungs with flowered fields and the kind of sky with lazy clouds, cornflower and cut through by an occasional feathered journeyer. Her art was one where the heart beat by the sounds of a sonata, one with eyes that could look lovingly at the sun.

She filled finite spaces with frameless things, pieces unbound by logic and thrumming with a life felt far beneath the surfaces; the Marianas Trench of empathy and compassion. Her life, the artist’s life, was one in broad strokes and tight feelings, messy in practice and pure in completion.

There was something about writers, though, she thought as she stared over a mug of hot chocolate, through the whips and whorls of steam stretching free from it, through a window pane polka-dotted with drops of water. Something about the way they could take the ambient light of a rainy day – that light that was somehow both the warm gray of rabbit fur and the faded light blue of acid-washed jeans – and translate it into reflective comfort. The way they captured the pit-patter along the roof while muffled cars splashed past in the street while she sat curled up against the armrest of her couch and the cushion quietly relaxed for her.

She had a gift, but writers had a gift. It was easy for her to lose track of hours in bed, bath or beyond amidst the pages of a novel. It could be fantastic, with fire sprites and warrior women; it could be something futuristic, with strange worlds, clone companions and oceans of crystal; or it could even be something so simple as sudden, sensational love between two people meeting at the right place at the right time.

As she moved from that portal looking out at a drab day to a porcelain basin full of water (hot, to match her chocolate) and lavender scented bubbles, she brought along a dog-eared paperback she could practically quote.

A rainy day. A bath to soak in. A writer’s soul bound within a laminate cover. It  was something she was left to think about and to feel; she was never so good with words, after all.

…..

He had a thing for artists. Maybe it was the unbridled passion, the way each movement made was filled with purpose. Maybe it was the determined line their mouths made, set under eyes filled with lightning and focus. Maybe it was because he was never so good with visuals.

His creativity was one of specifics: a particular metaphor, a precise description, an aesthetic arrangement. It rattled around his mind like a Scrabble bag in a Yahtzee cup, like walking through a sandstorm while trying to picture the oasis. It pounded in his head like a timpani and roiled in his blood, a serpent stepped upon. His art was one that – when it worked – was Pandora’s box of emotion, flooding history and emotion over a barren page, twenty-six symbols tossed together to create an intangible picture, phantom lives, and ghostly worlds.

He filled blank space with puzzle, one in which linear parts formed a whole picture. He bled on paper with memories and anguish and love and what potion brewed from it was something altogether different, echoed by the familiar. His craft was stark honesty, a nude model dressed in the garments of a foreigner. It wept behind bulletproof glass.

There was something about artists, though, he thought as he looked through the glass in his hand, through the swirling amber whiskey that tasted like the dirty hands and knees of his childhood and gifted the deep stars of winter what told him a man’s life is equal parts the least important (to the universe) and the most important (to himself and the human race, a largely selfish and stressed creation but one that exists and feels and loves right there when you think about it) thing to be.

Something about the way they could capture the chips in the edge of his desk to show it has age and character, a piece of furniture with development, one kept from sentiment and usefulness, one built to hold love in its splinters. Something about how they could capture  the bags under his eyes and see every story there in vague detail, every worry line that told five years in the showing, every askew paper that demonstrated the most recent interests as he tore through his notes to find a project that currently spoke to his mind.

He had a gift, but artists had a gift. It was a gift that put a hundred thousand words and stories upon stories into one sight. It spoke of time and love and feelings, good feelings and bad feelings but true feelings. It was something he could  view fleetingly that would haunt him for days. A picture’s worth a thousand words until the one comes that takes them all.

As he moved from that desk, cluttered with things to read and things to do, away from the gun most people called a pen and a page that showed no mercy, he took to bed with him the last beautiful picture he saw. One painted with affection and care, and he pictured the gentle, no, tempestuous, no, dedicated (all of the above) hands that spun gold silk out of air. He went to bed, pillow grasping lightly at the contours of his busy skull, visualizing the artist poised to make a brighter future.

A bursting workshop. A mattress to cradle him. An artist’s soul drifting through the after-image clinging to the frame of the inspired. It was something he was left to think about and to feel; he was never very good with visuals, after all.

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