Today I am Serene

The Story

She is gorgeous.

This moldable creature, with the coliseum in the back landscape, her in the forward right-third. The setting sun at that delicious moment of movement between red and pink where it creates a strange bloody orange. It is perfection.

So it is  understandable that I must save this perfect instance.

It is, in fact, beyond necessary for me to capture the moment. I am an artist.  What if the fates have deemed this the very last perfect moment, and I the one blessed to convey the gift to those not present? That is what an artist must do, it is our curse and calling: We freeze forever that which a second moment may destroy. This one will not be lost, no not from me nor from any other. My fans will need to see it. The world will need to see it. Generations beyond my great-great-grandniece will desperately need to see it.

So I am doing an obligation by creating the art. No, a duty.  A charge beyond self. It is the art born within me that is commitment bound to still this moment for the future.

Which means…

Which means, really, that whatever I do to still the moment is okay- is called for. It is appropriate.

So of course I will be missing the dinner with my family this evening. That is a duty I have no problem shirking. And with little guilt, as all layers should be thrown off to throw my strength into carrying the burden of my work. They know whenever I am missing, I’m found at the studio. The should know better than to interrupt my work, but since they do not know such things, plebeians, I leave a note outside the studio door.

Artist at work. Do not disturb, even for emergency.

It will not keep them out forever, but it will deter them for at least a few days. If pattern holds, my aging mother will leave bread and cheese, maybe a little fruit, wrapped at the door. If this arrives upon the third day, I eat it. If it shows up on the first or second, I let it rot so that she can come back and see what I think about her trying to rush my process.

I must stop. I cannot let worries nor explanation get in the way of capturing the divinity of woman and sunset.

A few tools are always with me for instant recovery of momentary art. I sketch quickly, label angles, as well as short hand describe the way the sunset hits every inch of her. With this done, I grab everything I need for recreation and dash to my studio. The faster I can put clay and plaster to work, the more real the piece will be. Any artist worth his paintbrush knows the best tools are a virgin canvas and a fresh mind’s view.

If I work sufficiently quick and thorough, I will have both.

My contemporaries are creating carvings from stone. They embody talent, but not perfection. I crave perfection. The muse of true wisdom demands it. Their creatures have abs too taught, curves far too sleek, and cheeks plumped from childhood on adult shoulders. It never makes any sense. Perfection is truth. It is each callus expressed upon the fingertips, each dip in the hip pronounced. You cannot take that from stone that already is, you must build from the ground up, just as Prometheus did- from clay.

I start with the mouth. It is where sound and air begin, so it should be where I start as well. Some of our faith belief it is where the soul enters and exists. I’m not sure if I agree with that, but I understand the notion each time my thumb shapes the swell of her lower lip.

It is a struggle, but I push the clay into shape. Plaster catches every flaw in the molding, so I take my time in these next moments. The clay has be smoothed against the collarbone, the strong undermuscle of the arm, the bridge on the top of each thigh, and even each pock mark across the back. I wonder where these were from. A healed illness? Scars from a punishment in youth? I cannot know these answers, but I do know the way the sun’s last reach etched a tiny shadow across each of these markings. Still shifting the pasted earth, I imagine each different shade of stained plaster I will need to echo these small shadows. Hands conducting across muscle and clay, mind dancing through shades of shade, this is ecstasy. This is true ambrosia coursing through the veins.

I have been lifted through the veil of limitation into the lofts of immortal artistry. I am floating above my creation, above the limits of time and light. Above the law, above the rules of modern tradition!

And the sacrifice makes it all the more true, all the more divine.

Unfortunately, she will not be missed. My sculpture will be more valued than she ever was. The shame about this era is the most beautiful women are of the lower class. It takes not caring about one’s appearance to achieve the muscle tone, the natural glow, the loose casualty, tranquil zen of hard work. That of a goddess. It’s a shame, but one that works in my favor.

She is gorgeous. And always will be.

The Word

Serene (adjective): 1. Calm, peaceful, and untroubled; tranquil. 2. Used as a term of respect for members of some European royal families. (noun) An expanse of clear sky or calm sea.

I almost didn’t use Serene. It’s one of those more common words that gets to wear a flower crown as if it were special. I can hear someone in paperback book pausing at the patio edge of a rented mountain house saying “Isn’t it just so… serene?” This is the very moment a studio exec decides to buy the movie rights, and about the same time I want to barf.

But flower-crown words deserve some of their spotlight. They cause a casual left from the mildly mundane, and those words are special too. They have to be given their full volume, their full credit for either being a fancy word amongst casual speech or visa versa. Yes I think I’ve talked myself back into it, I like those kind of words very much indeed.

A note on myself,* I’m not quite confident in my ability to ride that line of unreliable narrator, so if you’d like an explanation to the above story, here’s a hint: There was a murder.** 

And if you enjoyed this piece, please check out a similar narration practice I did in Today I am Warden! Thank you, and good night!


*HA! This whole blog is basically a note on myself, so that’s a bit redundant.
**Thank goodness that is not what the actual Greek and Roman sculptors did, right? Haha …right?