Thursday, May 7, 2009

Painting Pumpkins and Bananas

I am having trouble letting go of the play I’ve been working on for a few years. It is the play that has taught me, finally, how to sit at a desk for hours and write.

I tell myself that it doesn’t matter if it is any good. What matters is that I started it, and I finished it all the way to the end. But I want it to be good. I want people to like it. I am afraid that they won’t; that it isn’t.

I also fell in love with my characters. Right now their world is my own secret realm, shared with no one except for one loan, steadfast writing partner who keeps her comments brief.

So it is time to paint some bananas. Actually any vegetable or fruit with a hard fleshy skin would work, but as it is spring not many things like that are in season. I learned this trick from the kids in my local community garden who paint sugar pumpkins at our annual Halloween party every October. They ornament the pumpkins with wild strokes of electric blue and hot pink and canary yellow non-toxic tempra paint, embellishing with poofs and squiggles of glitter glue.

We try to send the kids home with their art, but when they are finished they clamber onto the see-saw or line up to have their fortunes told. They forget about the pumpkins, leaving them to wash clean in the next rainstorm. Then the bare gourds are cooked into delicious late fall soups.

It is good for me to remember the pumpkin's journey when I am finished with a project and trying to let it go. I don’t want to put my pumpkin at the foot of my bed, staring at it every morning until it begins to rot. No. I will eat my pumpkin. Or in this case, my banana. And by this ritual I hope to gently remind myself that the fun part is in the doing. So it is on to new pumpkins, or bananas, or plays. Soon.

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