Opening The Archives - 01.12.98

(editors note: this is a story I wrote for a fiction class about 4 years ago when i was a freshman in college. It's a little different than my usual stuff, so enjoy.)

There she is. Out in the front window. Isn't she a beauty?

Wait a second. Before I go off and tell you about my newest and most personal sculpture, I guess I should tell you a little bit about myself.

People know me as an artist. It's just always been my thing. Ever since I was a little kid, I've been messing around with art as a visual medium. I painted with acrylic, oil, and even the watercolors in the annoying metal box. I drew pictures with pastels, chalk, charcoal, pencils, and pen and ink. I even built a few sculptures awhile back. I guess I shouldn't complain, since it's help me get to where I am now. I got an art scholarship to college and was already selling a lot of my work by the time I was a junior. Right after college, I took out a couple loans and started up my own studio. It was crap, but my work sold and I eventually saved up enough money to get to where I am now.

After looking around a bit, I found the place of my dreams. It was a little art gallery with enough room in the back for a nice-sized studio and even an apartment. It had everything I needed, including a monsterous kiln that hadn't been used in quite awhile. It was the perfect mix for what I needed. I'd work right along, and as soon as something was done, I could put it on display out front. Things were clicking right along, too. It seems that as soon as I put my work out, it would sell.

It was at this point that I met her. She started coming into my gallery weekly, like clockwork, just to see if I had done anything new. Her motions were that of an angel; a small, delicate frame floating through the gallery and teasing me with every graceful turn. After only two weeks of her stopping in, I began staying up several nights in a row, turning out massive amounts of work. All this was just so I would have new things to show her when she came in. All the work was turning me into a mental wreck, but it never showed when she came in. No matter how tired I was, My face would light up and I could find something to talk about with her. After awhile, I built up enough guts to ask her out. To my surprise, she accepted.

We went out and I couldn't have asked for anything more. We always had something to talk about and she seemed perfect in every way to me. After dating for awhile, she moved in with me.

Everything was great for awhile, but then something started to get to me. It was the kiln in the back of the gallery. By itself, it didn't bother me, except for the fact that it was going unused. I was utilizing every other part of the space, except for the huge, metal beast. It was its uselessness that really started getting to me. After a few days of thought, I decided to once again take up the the only medium of art that I could never get quite right.

Working with clay had always given me problems for some reason. Throughout my life, I had repeatedly tried to work with it, but I could never get it quite right. No matter what, the proportions would end up wrong or something else would be screwed up. The only way I passed my high-school ceramics class was by coating a pot of my mothers with clay and refiring it. Being one to do something perfect or not at all, I gave up the enigma and decided to stick with the things that I was good at.

Now I had decided to try it again, though. I put down my paintbrush and was determined to produce some works of sellable quality. I had to somehow make the useless old kiln pay its dividends.

After the first week, I was ready to give up. I had successfully created absolutely nothing in the process. Not one pot, one figure, or anything else came out of my sessions. It would have been so easy for me to quit a second time if it wasn't for her encouragement. She was always there for me, telling me not to worry and that I'd get it soon enough. Just having her there was enough to keep me going on the whole project.

After several weeks of working full-time with it, I had still done nothing. All I could do was make warped bowls and pots and disproportionate figures. It started turning into more of an obsession than anything else. I stayed up entire nights working on one piece, and then when it was finished, I'd destroy it because of one small flaw. What started out as an experiment had now become an unreachable goal. The work and lack of sleep started taking its toll on me and everything began grating on my nerves. She was always there for me though, even when I would go into my hysterics.

One week ago, something finally happened. I was in the studio working on a piece when she came in behind me. Perhaps it was my inability to work the medium, but her usually reassuring words sounded like mocking in my ears. I tried to continue working along, but I couldn't deal with it anymore. The carving knife was sharp enough, and I was completely out of my head. Standing in the silence afterwords, I realized it truely could be deafening. The perfect woman lay dead at my feet, killed by my inability to deal with my own imperfections.

The police came around here today. They looked all over the gallery and gave me the runaround. Of course, I didn't know what had happened. All I knew was that I had left to go to out and grab some supplies a couple days ago as usual, but when I came back she was missing. I told them that I'd secretly been working on the statue of her as a gift for our anniversary. They looked especially struck by my tale when I told them that it was all that I had to remember her by. It's amazing how in a time of desperation, I went back to my high-school tactics, just to pass inspection.

Now that I have such a wonderful statue, I think I'll go back to painting. I have a bit of crimson that I need to use up.