Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What's On Your Desk?

One of my readers asked to describe what I see when I look at my desk, to which I said: 

Since I am an artist, poet and writer, the best way to show you the surface is my painting. As a creator, I see myself this way: I paint with a pen, write with a paintbrush. My art strives to tell a story, and my stories strive to bring you into the scene being painted, letting you sense everything my characters touch, see, or hear.




This is an oil painting of my work surface seen from above. My tools are traveling across the surface as if they have some target in mind... I like the reflection of my rag in the painting knife, and the black spill on the floor, which is like a 'thought bubble' coming out of the turpentine jar.

I love describing my characters at their desk, because their manner of writing is so telling. Here is an excerpt from The White Piano:

About a year ago I sifted through the contents of my suitcase, and was just about to discard a letter, which my father had written to me some time ago. Almost by accident my eye caught the line, I have no one to blame for all this but myself, which I had never noticed before, because it was written in an odd way, as if it were a secret code, almost: upside down, in the bottom margin of the page, with barely a space to allow any breathing. 
The words left some impression in my memory. I almost wished he were next to me, so I could not only listen to him, but also record his voice saying that. 
I imagined him back home, leaning over his desk, scrawling each letter with the finest of his pens with great care, as if focusing through a thick magnifying glass. The writing was truly minute, as if he had hated giving away even the slightest hint to a riddle I should have been able to solve on my own. I detested him for that. And so, thinking him unable to open his heart to me, I could never bring myself to write back. In hindsight, that may have been a mistake. 
Even so, I am only too happy to agree with him: the blame for what happened in our family is his. Entirely his. If not for his actions ten years ago, I would never have run away to Firenze, to Rome, to Tel Aviv. And if not for his actions a couple of weeks ago, this frantic call for me to come back and see him would never have been made. 

And so I find myself standing here, on the threshold of where I grew up, feeling utterly awkward. I knock, and a stranger opens the door. The first thing that comes to mind: what is she doing here? The second thing: she is young, much too young for him. The third: her hair. Red. 

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Volume I: My Own Voice
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