The Painter and the Squid

Posted: 27 July, 2011 in Daily Droppings, Other
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Once upon a time there was a beautiful young girl who painted pictures of exploding orchids.

She lived in just a plain old town with plain old people on a plain old street and everything there was plain and old.  She felt as if she were the only young person in the whole world.  She had to escape. So one day this marvelous creature picked up her canvasses and eggs and paints and brushes of Chinese buffalo hair and packed it all into the trunk of her plain old white car and left everything she knew behind.

-I must find somewhere new, she thought -somewhere exciting and young and filled with people who inspire me.

So she drove for a long time, searching for this magical place only stopping for gas and coffee and apple pie and occasionally to pee. This went on and on.

She drove and she drove and she drove.  She drove north and south and east and west.  She drove in circles and figure eights and butterflies.  She followed the sun and the moon and the stars, but she never found her city, her place of art and beauty.  All she found was more of the same, more road, more diners, and most of all more plain old people.  She drove to one sea and then to another then across a great desert and then to a great river and then to another sea and finally to the end of the world and when she got there she sat upon the great rocks that clearly mark where the world ends and the oceans of nothingness begins and she cried.

-I didn’t find anything! she said -I spent my whole life searching for the right place, the right city where I could be surrounded by art, surrounded by people who inspire me and sure then I could have truly made something beautiful, but now I am old.  I have come to the end of my life and the world and I’ve become what I always hated most.  I am just a plain old woman.

Just then, a squid came up out of the waters and spoke to her (at the end of the world giant speaking creatures are abound).

-But you have, he told her.

She didn’t understand so he grabbed her with one of his mighty tentacles and lifted her high above the world so she could see it all at once.

What the girl didn’t know was that her paints were not well sealed and leaked out of the tiny holes in her trunk.  As she drove the paints were dragged across the whole world. Enwrapped by the squid limb, at an impossible altitude, she stared down at the most beautiful painting she hand ever seen.  It was a portrait of her life.

It started where she was born, in that plain old town, but that was just a smudge, a small dot, almost indistinguishable unless you were looking for it.

There were broad strokes and thin ones. There were bright colours, exploding crimsons and cobalts bursting across the world of her canvass and there were swaths of darkness, deep mournfull patches of indigo, sinking into sunsets of purple and on into charcoal and pitch.  There were sharp places, parts where jagged lines and angles seemed to shove her eyes painfully away and there were places of nothing but soft curves, where you could swim in the fluidity of the brush strokes.

The piece was bold, but filled with almost unobservable subtleties.  There were layers, places she had clearly visited over and over again as if trying to paint over a mistake.

The painting was all these things. An inconceivably complex composition, which seemed to be a work woven together by its own contradictions.

The girl beheld all this in the arms of the great world-sized squid and she wept for reasons she did not understand. The squid lowered her back down to the rocks and she told him,

-I think I will stay here. I want to spend the rest of eternity on these rocks looking out over this great thing I have done, for it will surely take at least that long to appreciate it for all its beauty.

-I’m sorry, said the squid, -But that cannot be.  I must take you away, for there are other painters who must come after you and you must leave because there are still other world to paint, with brushes and techniques and colours that you could not begin to dream of in your old world.

With that the squid picked her up and carried her away from the rocks, away from her canvass, and out across the waves at the end of the world


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