Oil Pastel on Paper
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2011.
This week I am offering up a very short work of fiction. It is one of the pieces I prepared recently in light of a local competition which allowed only 250 words and six of them dictated to the writers as compulsory. I hope you enjoy it.
From the Mud
You pressed your finger to a live barnacle, watching it clench under the pressure. You mastered childhood delights as you mastered painting, an explorer of life and light. I loved you though you terrified me. It is true that a wondrous mind armed with an ocean of knowledge suffers ebb tides of confusion, depression and madness. There were times when your demons, released from the harbour of your salty seas, lay exposed, grappling and gasping, drowning in oxygen on your dishevelled shores.
Shortly after your paintings were featured at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the stimuli and attention overloaded your sensory processors. Your psyche misaligned and your thoughts became a jumble. The loss and the gain, like inhaling and exhaling broken glass, left you derelict and remote.
When last I saw you, in the institution, you were painting again, great canvasses, four feet by six. To the eye of the unacquainted, these paintings appeared mud black and flat but, as I sat with you, guided by your eyes staring into the work, the clarity of the image arose through the texture of the paint. I saw the layers of life held within, an excavation of your ocean floor, exposed, for all to see should they care to look. It is only chaos when we don't understand.
-Gillian Cornwall, October 6, 2013.
Vancouver, December 2010.
c. Gillian Cornwall