July 10, 2010

The Crayons

Out of town company has me resorting to older stories for the weekend. New writing will resume on Tuesday, when they've gone home. My favorite out of town Aunt has come for a visit to my favorite in-town Aunt...and I get to enjoy the company of both. This was written in 1997. --Anne In the beginning there was the crayon... and it was good. Her mother slid the chunk of coloured wax from the bright orange box and tenderly placed it in her two-year-old hand for complete investigation. It was fat, and fit nicely in her chunky hands. At first she only looked at it, mesmerized by the bright colour of it, then inevitably, she tasted it. She discovered that the taste was horrible just as her mother gently removed it from her mouth. She enjoyed the textural difference between the smooth crayon and the rough paper it was wrapped in, and she was happy. As she grew older, she learned that crayons would make coloured lines if she rubbed them against a piece of paper... or a floor, a wall, a book, almost anything. Her mother tried very hard to confine her mark-making to paper. She grew still older, and she learned to use the thinner crayons which came in more colours. She learned to colour inside the lines and experimented with placing textured things under her paper to create special effects. She learned to draw her own pictures. And she was happy. She grew a little older and discovered that she could draw with pencil and pen, lead and ink. She discovered coloured pencils, and the world of paint…oil and acrylic, water colour and tempera. She grew older still and people saw her talent. She was still quite young when they clamored after her work. Everyone knew her name. Success and fame did not spoil her, though with people paying great sums even for her pencil sketches, she grew quite wealthy. And she was happy. She met a young man of about her age. They fell deeply, madly in love. They planned their marriage. Many people warned her that if she married, her life would be taken up by her family and her art would suffer. They advised her that she should suffer for her art. She ignored them. She married her young man. She used part of her time caring for him and for her home. She still had time for her art, and she was happy. Time passed and she grew great with child. A daughter was born. She used her time caring for her child, her husband, and her home. She had no time to draw or paint. Her artist’s tools sat in the studio unused, gathering dust. She was happy on the day she discovered that she was expecting again. The studio was cleaned up, the art supplies packed away, and the room was prepared for the new addition to her family. This time the child was a boy. Now she really had no time for her art. Her fame evaporated. Her wealth was placed in the bank to provide for her children’s education. People replaced her paintings on their walls with the works of other artists. Her friends reminded her that they had warned her this would happen. She replied that she was happy with her life. She grew older. Her children grew. On her daughter’s second birthday she opened a brand new, bright orange box and pulled out a stick of coloured wax. She paused for a moment of quiet reflection, then smiled and placed it in her daughter’s chubby hand. The large crayon was a perfect fit. And she was happy. Her daughter spent several long moments in grave examination before stuffing the crayon into her mouth. She gently removed it. In the beginning, there was the crayon... and it was good.