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How long shall the book remain simple?

How long will the book remain simple.

A friend of mind started painting portraits which I really like. He thins the paint with turpentine and paints these faces that almost blend into the surface of the canvas. I want my writing to be that.

An immense and terrible sense of character in tune with its audience simply reading without any drama.

Drama can be terrible addiction. And maybe even a little easy to pass of as good. A clever editor playing words to pass as beautiful. How cheap! Do not open a book for that. Open it to dive. Drown in the mood and have no other option but to flip till the last page.

The circumstances of our meeting are, I’m afraid, not as joyous as you might think they are. Sure I’m painting six and drawing twelve hours a day. But in my break I see two critics confronting me. Questions and interviews that are both equally convincing. “We the professionals do not need inspiration. We simply show up for work.”  And the second, “yes I can keep producing but first give me the account for the previous ones”.

Black and white images can be boring. Color photographs can be complete and boring. That intention of breaking into the content and creating it as your own is magic. And isn’t all art making some magic. A canvas, paints, brushes, rags and ink made to dance for an end. Possibly valuable in the end but the shear resolve of own the end.

We need beauty. We need myths and culture. And I paint, draw, sculpt, write and make prints for that. Sometimes even play a bit of flute. Memorize lines and act in theater too.

I didn’t think I’d get the part I’m playing right now. It’s a police officer interrogating a rape victim. Ushering them to the news reporter, medical expert and judge. It’s in Punjabi. Reading the lines was difficult enough until driving home from the rehearsal I committed to the script completely. A few more rehearsals and I did not have a script in hand. Can’t be said it’s grand in scale and ambition but it’s a great stepping stone to towards “arriving on the scene”. I’ll be present when they want a run through. I will be present when they think of an actor to play a part. And I’ve seen enough self help into acting, to know that’s how to start landing bigger roles.

I never knew if it was going to result to this. In high school I took a wrong turn and saw boys preparing for audition in the ground floor of the campus. I stepped in and recited the lines. The judges checked my improvisation and laughed at my response. Told me I was the senior performer in the group and I should help others to understand the script and get into character. That specific play never happened but the flame had been ignited.

A very mediocre annual play later I got a part in the summer for a bigger production. They called me back when they were performing it again.

College was a feast.

Hours and hours in character on stage. Very tired and sometimes slightly drunk. The seed for a grand commitment was sown.

Fine arts took the front seat after graduation. I thought hard about the kind of work I wanted to make. Lost within the work, the audience now had no chance to escape. It should be a roar and it had to be a scream. But never pseudo or too dramatic. We’ve established that.

Being lost within the work can sometimes simply mean a very very large canvas. But what about the modest scale of a couple of feet? Can it still capture the interest of a viewer and hold it long enough to converse? Communicate its cause and receive questions buried deep, never really allowed by language to be expressed.

Well it starts from a modest scale. It has to. You can’t fly without crawling first.

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