Saturday, December 2, 2017

Studio Envy (Suzanne)

The1970 March day was cool and breezy, and my friend, Suzanne and I sat in my driveway in her red Saab convertible discussing our lives, our children, our men, our work.

My work, at the time, was strictly secretarial. We glorified it with all kinds of fancy titles like Assistant to the Manager, Head Legal Secretary and Legal Assistant, but in the end, all I did was type (badly), interview prospective clients (compassionately) and try to keep men’s offices neat and organized (haphazardly, since I was still challenged in that arena myself).

Suzanne’s studio, just a hole in the back of a big furniture warehouse, sent chills of envy up my spine.

“What is it?” she asked, confounded, since to her it was, well, a hole in the back of a warehouse where she painted big signs and made sense of their photo shoots and ads.

“It’s partly the smell,” I ventured. “It’s paint, and turpentine, and chalk. The cans of brushes, waiving their little bristly heads at me, calling to me with shared projects in mind. It’s the giant red swath of paint on one wall, where you tested a background - it’s such a beautiful red. It makes me want to cry.”

She handed me a tissue and said, “I know you can do it.”

“There’s no place for it.”

“Surely there is, on this one acre with a house, two out buildings and a chicken coop. If you want a studio badly enough, you’ve got to make the space for it yourself.”

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