September 14, 2006
Slap it smartly
I am an addict.
Yes, yes, to Diet Coke, but I was thinking of my other addiction.
Books on tape.
Or CD or MP3 or whatever electronic device holds earphones that sit lightly in the concave shell of my ear and transmit those words I love to hear:
“If a tape fails to function, slap it smartly on a hard, flat surface”
Hmmm, what a good feeling, permission to smash something if it doesn’t work.
Not that I’ve ever damaged a book on tape; library items are sacred in my world, right up there with original works of art, baby pictures and the figures from my wife and my wedding cake, porcelain brides that take a place of honor in our kitchen.
But I have slapped a tape or two smartly on a hard, flat surface and darn it if it didn’t both feel good and make the tape work again.
Books on tape are like drink to the alcohol deprived, and better yet, they are part of a feel-good multi-tasking activity, since I only listen to books on tape when I am painting.
Dogs, for the most part, though I have painted a horse recently, and years ago painted dozens of life-sized portraits of wild women in Seattle, though these days my human subjects are humbler: my children, the children of friends, and our Assistant Principal.
There is nothing so pleasurable as stretching artistically while listening to an English accent reading a morbid tale of murder using perfect diction. It utilizes other parts of my brain than the writing section, and sets in place a kind of meditative state. There is no room for worries, no room for stress about coming in-laws, school starting, or approaching deadlines, when the palette is set, a texture must be attained and Agatha Raisin is getting herself in a self-imposed pickle again. It is a guilty pleasure, like Smallville, Twinkies and Diet Coke, only you can order them online anytime you want.
On CD – Color Scheme by Ngaio Marsh
On tape – Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener by M.C. Beaton
On MP3 – Child’s Play by Reginald Hill
On the easel – Azul the Blue Great Dane