Friday, June 21, 2013

The Arteeste (A Parable)

As he sat in his modest home, the artist lifted a chipped coffee cup to his lips, sipped, and looked out the window as the late morning sun brought steam out of the road.

The audience, the night before, had been a good one. They had cheered. They had danced. He had had his hand clasped, enthusiastically. Various people had expressed their wish that they, themselves, had "stuck with" this instrument or that one. It always struck him as a kind of passive/aggressive thing when they praised his playing and then stated their own wishes to have continued on a musical journey, but, praise is praise, he supposed.

He was a writer, as well, this artist. And he could draw fair bit. All of his life, people had called him "talented." They had worn his acquaintance like a bit of a cultural badge. This, by no means, secured him invitations to the best parties, however.

A scholarly mutt of my acquaintance.
Girls liked it too, his artistic...ness. He wasn't the kind to crank out love poems or songs for his own carnal gain, but they (these young ladies) were often intrigued by his obsession with creativity; by his fanciful nature; by his unaffected artiness; that is, until they found someone easier to get a handle on. Someone more grounded.  Someone with more potential. Someone with a nice car. (Except one.)

Guys like him were easy to tolerate for the length of a movie. Jack, in Titanic, for instance. But we know what happened to him. If he hadn't become a handsome and briny Popsicle, his charm would have worn off and Rose would have been complaining about his lax housekeeping skills within a year. "Paint me like one of your French girls," would have become, "For once, could you pick up your goddam socks!?"

The artist looked back out as the steaming road and he watched a rabbit eating clover from his lawn (on which there would no clover if he had actually cared) and he took another sip of coffee.

He looked down at his dog, who was sitting nicely in hopes of having a lick at the cup. "Well, Nellie," he said to her. It has come to this. I can do all of the things everyone wishes they could do but that none of them truly value. And, despite this (she turned her head sideways as if trying hard to understand) I can't manage to feel sorry for myself."

The dog said, "Muff" and put an imploring paw on his leg. He let he lick the coffee cup. She was very happy about this.

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