My latest assignment for my Art and Literature class at NSCAD involves creating a short story based on a piece of artwork. The story is supposed to be 2 – 3 pages long and have some connection to the artwork through character, theme, setting or some such literary element. My story is nine pages long. It relates to thirty pieces of art by the artist Robert W. LaDuke. I’ve made it into a video which you can view by clicking this image:
Am I a rebel? An overachiever? A verbose and blousy middle-aged wannabe wordsmith with too much time on her hands? An English teacher in search of a class?
I blame Michael Chabon. Yup, it’s all Mikey’s fault. Mike and me, we’re, ya know, like this. Twins. Peas in a pod. Buds.
Not really… that’s a fantasy quite similar to the one about me marrying Neil Gaiman (damn you Amanda Fucking Palmer!) and close to the fantasy of me marrying Stuart MacLean (damn you… um… CBC… Stuart, are you married to the CBC?). Whatever it is, it is a fantasy. I think I would faint in a mute swoon of incoherence should I ever meet Michael Chabon. I love his words.
Whilst in the throes of writing the story, The Brothers Evans, for my Art and Literature class, I have been reading “Gentlemen of the Road”, followed closely by “Wonderboys”. I inhaled “Kavalier and Clay” several years ago and it’s due for a reread. Love. Lovelovelove.
Wordy, dense, lyrical, a thicket of prose that clings to your skirts and tickles your fancy while you thrash your way though it with a machete and a pair of needle nosed pliers. Unbelievably beautiful sentences like this:
“Like apes on a rock at sunset, like crows in the trees, like the bells in the watchtowers of a city under attack, the men of the Brotherhood fell to talking all at once, as those nearest the gates and those at the extremes of the encampment sought to reconcile the stark prodigies of observation with the grandiose inventions of rumor.” (Gentlemen of the Road)
I could live in such writing forever.
Anyways… that’s what I was reading while I was writing and it has resulted in my own creation of such sentences as:
“Widow Evans reached out one cadaverous arm, the thinness of which caused Theodora to glance around for a hearse or an undertaker or at the very least a doctor should the suddenness of the gesture and the diminutiveness of the perpetrator result in tragedy.”
I know… it’s not Chabon… no one wants to marry me for the attraction of my prose alone, but I am quite pleased with it all the same. I also use such words as “salubrious” and “testosteronic” (which isn’t actually a word, but, whatever. I grew up reading Dr. Seuss.)
So, here it is in all its wordy splendor.
Robert W. LaDuke, clever lad that he is, creates these gorgeous, bright, funny paintings which just begged to be narrated. You can find him in various places on the web…
This website: http://rwladuke.wix.com/laduke
Try him on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robert.w.laduke?fref=ts
Or on this art site: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/artists/robert-laduke-2712/artwork
The video is about 20 minutes long. Thanks for listening!