30 Flowers, 3 Horses
Some nights I'll come home from work and Evan will be sitting at the computer wanting to read something he's just written. It's as if while I'm slaving away at the Thankless Inn telling people for the umpteenth time how to light their fireplace (turn up the fucking thermostat) and explaining to them that big surprise sulphur water smells like... well... sulphur, and that yes, three months ago when they booked the room with their own private sulphur spa, they paid extra for that smell, Evan sits down with angels and transcribes their most eloquent thoughts. Don't get me wrong, it's not as though I believe someone as sensitive as Evan couldn't write such thoughts, it's just that it comes so easily to him. I slave over a sentence, Evan turns out perfect little pieces of prose, masterfully crafted, each word placed carefully and thoughtfully. I ask him where he gets it. He shrugs. If he told me it was from an angel, I'd find it easier to believe. Anyway, that's how I see it.
Evan has similar feelings about me and meaningless little pieces of paper. My first love, as I always say, is cutting paper. (Evan reminds me that Steve Martin came later.) A friend of ours recently celebrated her thirtieth birthday, and to commemorate that, I decided to do what I often do, a cutout. I pondered for days what would be appropriate. Evan pretty much knows to leave me alone during this stage, because I will inevitably, as he says, "pull something out of my ass" at the last moment. Evan may not work that way, but I do. So, while he loves the cutouts, he more often hates me, or my method, it's hard to tell which. He bites his tongue and reminds me from time to time that I've commited to do something. He says he feels like his whole life is going down the drain everytime he gets involved in a project with me, because I say, "Don't worry. I'll think of something." "Something," he reminds me, thinking back to that trashy novel of the 70's, "is not enough." I usually retort in a phony French accent, thinking back on that trashy French wife he had in the same era, "Ah well, you 'ave your opin yon, I 'ave mine." I decided on thirty flowers in a vase. I did all this the morning of her birthday party, all before Evan even rolled out of bed. I guess he was right, there it was, ripe for the picking.
Not long ago, I was a frequent poster on the Steve Martin message board. One of my favorites there, who went by ShellC, and who was one of the saner voices in my opinion (God knows I wasn't among them,) sent me a hard-to-come-by copy of the only Steve Martin biography to date, Steve Martin: The Magic Years. When the book arrived, I was stunned. She even had it autographed by the author before sending it to me. I gather he is an acquaintance of hers. This was all about six months ago. ShellC's "something witty," or quote under her message board screen name always fascinated me "2 Bits, 4 Bits, 6 Bits, 3 Horses." I have absolutely no idea what it means. The cutout I made to thank her is a representation of... well, that should probably be obvious by now. Horses have always appeared in my mindless doodling, along with a lady in a mid-length skirt holding her hands behind her back I also have absolutely no idea what that one means so, the three somewhat abstract horses took almost no time at all once I had spent six months figuring out what to do with them.
Evan says my next investment should be a camera with a non-shake function. Both pictures are ever so slightly blurred. It's really hard closing one eye, squeezing the camera with one hand and pressing the shutter with the other. Somehow, with all that going on, my knees and shoulders feel obliged to get in on the act. God forbid I should be chewing gum at the same time. Oh well, the originals are crisp and clear. The flowers now sit on a bookshelf in San Luis Obispo, The Horses are somewhere between here and their ultimate destination. I'm tracking them on the Internet every step of the way.