Sketches – 72

So — why are we at this school, again?

Oh, that’s right, I haven’t told you.
I am going to be artist-in-residence here
Starting next fall

Well, that sounds cool.
What does it entail?

I will teach two classes a week,
Produce a number of commissioned works,
And give a speech at graduation

That sounds like fun.
What kind of time commitment are we talking about?

Oh, it’s pretty serious.
Looks like 25-30 hours per week, minimum.
But I thought it would be energizing
Being around younger people.

Have you thought about how
You’d prepare to teach?

Oh, yes.
I’ve been dreaming about it.
Standing in front of a blank blackboard
Saying, “here are all my ideas”.

Yeah. I think not.
You have ideas that have their own ideas.
What are the courses called?

“Finding Your Own Voice” and
“History of Underground Art”


In my day, courses had names like
“Neo-Impressionist Techniques” and
“Advanced Aesthetics”

Those sound like great courses
For you to be teaching

Yeah, but —

But what?

It took me years to find my own voice.
How to I help people find theirs?

How, indeed.
What do you think?

I don’t know.
By learning about Underground Art?

I’m understanding the blank blackboard
More and more.
Well, you’ve got some time
To figure it out.
I’m really proud of you, you know

It’s going to be weird to be
In front of college kids who
Think of me as “old”

Oh, I figured
All the college guys would hit on you.
And a decent percentage of
The girls

Oh, please.

So… why are we here tonight?

Oh, I wanted you here
For contract talk.
The offer seemed mostly fine, but
I’d feel better if you looked at it, too

Got it.
Just out of curiosity,
What exactly is ‘Underground Art’?

Oh, it’s like Underground Math, only…

Underground Math.
Now there’s a course I’d take

Of course you would

Sketches – 71

Guess who’s got all her Christmas shopping done?
This girl!

Well, bully for you.
I’ve almost… started…

Wow, you put the “pro”
In procrastination.
Why so behind?

I’m not sure.
You can be hard to buy for.

I like everything that’s
Absolutely, precisely what I want.
What’s hard about that?

Meeting that level of precision
Hasn’t always been my best thing

Do you need ideas?

Yes. In every aspect of life,
Come to think of it

Well, I’ve never been to Sweden or Norway.

Nor Jupiter, while we’re enumerating places

Fiddlesticks. Norway and Sweden are way closer than Jupiter.

What about Finland?
We could go for the Scandinavian trifecta…

Good idea. Throw in Denmark while you’re at it.

Just… throw it in. The entire country.

See? You’re good at gift ideas already.

Anything else you want?
Maybe something closer to home?

Nah, trips are fine, I’m
A simple girl, at heart.

Who loves cold places, apparently

Well, it is Christmas…

What Is Love to You?

And what is love to you?

She said:

I see the picture in my head —
Of two that hold together so
That years won’t find them letting go —

Whatever all that life might bring,
They to each other justly cling;
This is the picture that I see –
And this is what love is, to me.

He said:

The world’s not made like that:
Your such a naive flower:
Relationships all fall apart,
They all come down to power.

She said:

There is a truth that’s told,
That what cannot be bought’s not sold:
That selfishness will never know
That love exists. And, even so

I will not compromise on this.
I have a heart, it’s mine to give;
And so, in search of love I’ll go:
It’s how I choose to live

He wandered off to someone else
She wasn’t sad to see him leave:
While two stood not too far away
In whom she did
And he did not

Sketches – 70

I love to see you laugh

I think I have a stupid laugh


I sound like a donkey.
And I snort.
It’s embarrassing

I love your voice.

I notice you didn’t say, “laugh”

I love the sound of your laugh, seriously.

You don’t get tired of it?

It’s when you’ve stopped laughing
That I’ll really worry

You don’t laugh very much.

No. I know I don’t.
Not much surprises me, I guess

That’s why I enjoy the challenge.
Getting you to laugh takes effort.
I like that

Well, your weird that way

Don’t guys enjoy the challenge?
You know, in dating?

It depends. Many do.
I’m just not wired that way

You went after me hard enough

Yeah, well.
I was rather smitten.

I bet we could drive
A long way in any direction
And not find another guy
Who’d use the word “smitten”

I was taken with you?
Infatuated? Afflicted?

Somehow, that last one
Sounds ominous.
Like I was a disease

Crushing on you?
Just fricking gone?

As opposed to now, when —

Oh, I’m still fricking gone
Where you’re concerned.
And a little bit afflicted

I’m about to afflict you,
If you don’t watch out

(To read other episodes in this series, click here. – Owen)

Reroutes (2)

She spoke to me of fall, and said,
“That year, we took a trip to see
The leaves first turning.
We were to start a family,
And I was burning
With readiness, and fearfulness,
And all else in-between,
And every night we talked of wonders
That day seen.

I never dreamed that any trip
Could be so good.
The night’s were full, and intimate.
Ray understood
And shared, I think, the fears I had.
The glorious fall weather
Was like a curtain over us,
We two, together.”

They have three children, now, the youngest
Just turned ten.
I asked her if they ever talked
Of going back again —

“Oh, no,” said she, “the memory’s great,
But I think time has shown
When anything’s that perfect, I should
Just leave it


A Donut Shop Encounter

[overheard in line]

… so… you like the Butternut?

Yes, they’re very good.

Then I’ll take one of those, too.

Anything else, sir?

Yes. Your employee discount.

[Laughs] Sure. Why not. Anything else?

Yes. Your number.

Umm… I have a boyfriend.

Really? Ever given HIM your employee discount?

Nice one. That’ll be four seventy-three.

[Turning to me] Can I help you?

I think I’ll try the Butternut as well. You handled that really well, by the way.

Yeah, well… his wife is waiting for him out in the car, I figured she’d appreciate it.

Or wouldn’t, as the case may be.


Asides – 1

The men I meet don’t even try

What do you mean?

They don’t even try to see “me”.
They just want things.
It’s all, like, a big game

Doesn’t sound like a very fun game

It’s not.
I’m lonely.
Is it me?
Am I doing something wrong?

You? No.
You’re fantastic.
Any guy would be lucky
To date you

Then what is it?

It’s just… opportunity.
Somebody good will come along.
They will. They’re out there.

Well they need to come ashore then
Oh… and, um… Owen?


How did you know that
Janey was the one?
And don’t tell me
‘I just knew.’
I hate that answer

When I first saw her she was…
Just standing by a window.
I looked at her, and
I literally couldn’t breathe for a second.

Would you say the initial attraction
Was physical?

Sort of yes.
More… metaphysical.
I knew she was an artist,
I’d heard of her, but
I had never seen her.
Now I was just… struck dumb

Did you talk to her?

No, because I was struck dumb.
I did eventually.
She just fascinated me, I mean,
You’ve known her longer than I have.

Yeah, you were the first decent guy
She dated.

Well… sort of decent

No she went out with some real losers.

… and so have you.
But you’ll meet someone.
My whole point.

I hate being patient.
I was never any good at it

Then hurry about things
You CAN control.
Don’t worry about guys.
Maybe you could take up parkour…

Even my male friends don’t even try

Sketches – LXIX

I can’t believe you’re wearing that

What’s wrong with this?

You look like my dad.
It’s not your sexiest look

Fine. I’ll change

Just give me that shirt.
Goodwill needs donations

Wow, you really hate this.
You realize, a man could never say
What you just said to a woman.
He would be called verbally abusive.
It would be all over the Internet.
It would go viral or pandemic or something

You’re probably right, but
That shirt’s gotta go.
It looks like the pattern was made
By someone operating a jackhammer

[… coming back in the room]

Much better

So did your dad have bad taste in clothes?

The worst.
And he was a really good looking guy.
He wore weird mixtures, like
A Hawaiian shirt with a bolo tie.
Stuff like that.
When I was a teenager, it used to
Really embarrass me

Well I won’t wear that shirt again.
Especially since you just took it.
You miss your dad don’t you?

Every day.
Especially recently.

Any particular reason?

All that craziness with my sister.
Keeping calm was my dad’s province.
That’s not really mom’s thing.
Or mine

He sure loved his girls

You think?

Honey, I know.
I met him.
He loved you two,
Thought you were the coolest things ever

Yeah, well,
He wasn’t big on saying it
TO us.
I’m glad he said it to you

He would be proud of you,
Of what you’ve made of the gallery

Now I’m gonna cry

I could put the shirt back on,
Change the mood

Tacky is not a mood