On An Unexpected Muse
I have a character in my head. I don’t often find characters that simply wander into view. Most of the time I create them, shape them out of the gritty shit-coloured clay of my own dull experiences.
“The sunshine lazily spilled off her freckled nose and splashed onto her shoulders. Wrapped in a pale green sundress, she complexes her legs and motions for the host. ‘House white,’ she declares from the edge of the shaky metal table.”
I spent four hours writing these three terrible sentences nearly three years ago. There’s something sacred about this strange woman who has inadvertently rooted herself inside my mind. I see her in a place I visited once, almost nine years ago, in a suburb outside of Paris. I remember a castle and a dusty two-story merry-go-round. I eagerly snapped photographs of this playground, not quite understanding how to make it beautiful and fit the entire near-monstrosity into the viewfinder at the same time. I remember walking into a courtyard. Small iron trellises lined the walkway and vines swept the walls. I remember thinking I could almost see the vines growing — meeting, dancing, and knotting before continuing on to greet their next partner.
I plopped myself down into the singular iron patio chair in the courtyard, the future resting place of my mysterious fellow traveler. I rested my camera on the accompanying table, where she would come to lay her arms. The sun trickled down through the waving arms of a willow tree. It was the same sun that now bounces off her wide brimmed sun hat. When I was sitting where she sits, I’m almost positive I was writing bad poetry and taking the day’s breeze for granted. I am endlessly curious why she’s sitting there, what she’s thinking, and why anyone would order a house white in Paris. Most of all, I wonder what her eyes are like. Kind? Sad? Brown? Blue? Black? Small? Evenly-spaced? I want to rip the hat from her sophisticated head and ask her a myriad of questions I’m sure not even she would know to answer. I did not birth this woman; can she even be mine? If I wrote her, would she even be my creation? Or one of her own making, simply using my hands to tell her own story?