Monday, December 12, 2011

"So why do you paint window frames and wastebaskets?"

To answer that question, please read:

Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

When he had tottered out, Dick and Rosemary embraced fleetingly There was
a dust of Paris over both of them through which the scented each other:
the rubber guard on Dick’s fountain pen, the faintes odor of warmth from
Rosemary’s neck and shoulders. For another half-minute Dick clung to the
situation; Rosemary was first to return t reality
“I must go, youngster,” she said.
They blinked at each other across a widening space, and Rosemary made an
exit that she had learned young, and on which no director had ever tried
to improve.

She opened the door of her room and went directly to her desk where she
had suddenly remembered leaving her wristwatch. It was there; slipping it
on she glanced down at the daily letter to her mother, finishing the last
sentence in her mind. Then, rather gradually, she realized without turning
about that she was not alone in the room.

In an inhabited room there are refracting objects only half noticed:
varnished wood, more or less polished brass, silver and ivory, and beyond
these a thousand conveyers of light and shadow so mild that one scarcely
thinks of them as that, the tops of picture- frames, the edges of pencils
or ash-trays, of crystal or china ornaments; the totality of this
refraction — appealing to equally subtle reflexes of the vision as well as
to those associational fragments in the subconscious that we seem to hang
on to, as a glass-fitter keeps the irregularly shaped pieces that may do
some time — this fact might account for what Rosemary afterward mystically
described as “realizing” that there was some one in the room, before she
could determine it. But when she did realize it she turned swift in a sort
of ballet step and saw that a dead Negro was stretched upon her bed. As
she cried “aaouu!” and her still unfastened wristwatch banged against the
desk she had the preposterous idea that it was Abe North. Then she dashed
for the door and across the hall.

Dick was straightening up; he had examined the gloves worn that day and
thrown them into a pile of soiled gloves in a corner of a trunk. He had
hung up coat and vest and spread his shirt on another hanger — a trick of
his own. “You’ll wear a shirt that’s a little dirty where you won’t wear a
mussed shirt.” Nicole had come in and was dumping one of Abe’s
extraordinary ash-trays into the waste-basket when Rosemary tore into the
“DICK! DICK! Come and see!”

1 comment:

Nate said...

Mostly as someone who admires aesthetic and cannot paint or draw, I think takes real skill to paint the folds in a trashbag or a curtain. Window frames, too, because it draws attention to a detail that most people miss, gives homage to the carpenter that spent his summer in the Chicago heat cutting and measuring many years before.