It is a truth universally acknowledged, as Jane A. might have said, that creative productivity is a hell of a lot easier to discuss than attain. (To wit, here I am, sitting here kvetching rather than laying out a palette.) The longer I (we) postpone the “deeply and unglamorous task” of pushing something original out, the more daunting becomes the prospect. Yes, it is wildly busy here for reasons beyond our control (a family health crisis), but what do I do when I have ten minutes?? I read. Ah, yes.
Sometimes (often) (usually) (always) text draws me and I read whatever is put in front of me. And life can reward me beyond expectation. This is James Agate on July 30, 1942:
Introducing “Miss Zelfredo, the world-famous snake-charmer’, the ringmaster said: ‘It is with great regret that I have to announce one of the great tragedies of the Ring. Doreen Zelfredo’s python, which had been with her for six years, died on Friday at Knowle. I am sure the audience will join with me in sympathy for Doreen, and in the wish that she may soon find a new pal. If ever woman loved a snake Doreen did. Miss Zelfredo will now enter the ring and perform her act without her snake.”
Now you either find this hilarious or you don’t. I do and my explosive belly-laugh probably surprised the neighbourhood. Life being synchronous, the next day I saw a bit on The Marvellous Mrs. Maizel which was a variation on the same gag. A sad-sack performer arrives on stage and announces that his long-time partner is dead and that he is heart-broken. Reaching into his bag he pulls out a ventriloquist’s dummy and lays it across a stool so that the head and the legs droop, commenting: “He committed suicide,” Then, having dispensed with the challenge of ventriloquism, he does “their” act, filling in his own patter with what the dummy would have said, had he lived.
And now I will tell you what my newest painting looks like….