Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Scenes from an Unwritten Novel

If this ever gets written, it'll be by somebody else. I just love the exquisite sense of longing implicit in these scenes. Acually, I sort of imagine the whole thing as a series of tableaus by Edward Gorey--if Edward Gorey did linear stories with happy endings. Google him, if you don't know.

Scene 1: The break-up. Young Stan tells Elaine that he can no longer see her. Their lives are heading in different directions, and there’s no sense in carrying on a relationship that can never come to full-fruition. Elaine, angered and heartbroken, pulls a photograph of the two of them together from her purse, rips it in half, and leaves both halves lying on the sidewalk.
Scene 2: An aspiring young painter named Nathan, struggling to find inspiration, finds the torn half of the photo with Elaine’s picture on it. Realizing he has surely found his muse in this woman, he rushes home and paints her portrait in a fit of artistic fervor. But he doesn’t stop there! Suddenly, he finds he has a thousand ideas for paintings, and becomes a prolific artist.
Scene 3: A week or so after the break-up, Stan is filled with regret, and seeks out Elaine to be reconciled with her. He finds, however, that she has quit her job, vacated her apartment, and left no forwarding address.
Scene 4: Nathan becomes more and more recognized in the art world, and holds an exhibition at an upscale art gallery. Buyers vie with one another to purchase his “Portrait of a Woman.” The price rises higher and higher, but one art patron finally offers more money than any of the others are willing to pay, hands Nathan the cash, and goes home with the painting. In the large roll of bills is the other half of a torn photo, picturing the painting’s buyer.

What happened to Elaine? Did she jump off a bridge? Go to the mission field for life? Bum around for a year and then return and marry Nathan the artist? Will she hear about the painting and track down the pining Stan? Will she be eaten by enraged Alpacas? Maybe Nathan will paint a portrait of the two figures from the torn photograph. Or maybe--it's a different photograph altogether, and it isn't Stan that bought the painting at all. Other people do have break-ups, you know.

Listening to: The voices in my head

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