Monday, December 21, 2009

Drowning in December

I am lost in the swirl of expectation of the season and what gets left behind is my writing. I need to cling to the small moment of selfishness and silence to see that day's art and put a few words down on paper.

December 21--Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins, Portrait of Clara J. Mather. Clara was the plain one, the one of the Mather girls that wasn't a celebrated beauty. She had done well in school and wrote stories and poems late into the night while her candle burned low. There had never been suitors lined up for a chance to put their names on her dance card or to walk with her through the garden and bask in her beauty. Cecelia and Miriam had been the ones, the popular ones who went to parties and for carriage rides. Clara stayed home with her parents as they aged, sickened, and died. She was quiet and meek until the day that their neighbor, Tom Eakins the artist, was stuck for a subject and asked her to pose. She wore her black mourning dress, Papa had only been gone for three months, and wore her hair in a severe twist. Tom sat her in the stark light from the north window of his studio, then his hands plucked the pins from her lustrous brown hair. He painted her no-nonsense gray eyes and pale lips just as they were, and she was transformed.

I hope you're ready for the holiday and that all your loved ones are around.

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