Studying a Tableau



Studying a Tableau

By Nandy Ekle


I sat in a drawing class one semester with a deaf student taking notes. The instructor had covered a table with a cloth and then laid out several random objects. There was an old shoe, a cow skull, several empty wine bottles—some standing up and some laying on their sides—and little flowers strewn around. The students were told to draw what they saw and show the relationship between each object.

In a way, we writers do the same thing. Our eyes take pictures of a group of objects, then store them away. We boot up the computer and transfer what we saw onto our word processors. Then we illustrate the relationship between each thing.

We may see a unique cloud in the sky, a broken shoe string on the parking lot, a dead bug in the grass, and a penny on a rock in the middle of a puddle of water. For some reason our brain holds on to these pictures. We describe the changing shape of the cloud as it morphs from a sheep to an alligator. Maybe the string began its life as a functional length of woven cotton, but has now become an abused cast off to be tossed into the trash can. Suppose the dead bug was on her way home to a nest of little larvae, bringing a couple of bread crumbs home to the hungry mouths before it was stepped on. And perhaps the penny was tossed to the middle of the rock by an angry man whose lunch hour was over before he could eat his sandwich because the soda jerk who took his money forgot how to count change back.

Or maybe there was some huge event that occurred that caused the cloud to ruffle its billows as the shoe lace fell from the shoe while the kid ran for cover and accidentally stepped on the bug with one foot while the other foot kicked a penny which landed right on the center of the rock in the middle of the puddle.

What do you think?

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.


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