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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Marie Antoinette Eats Cake, parts 673 - 676

673. You probably did not know this, but  Marie and Amadeus were only a few months apart in age, and the stories the Empress was hearing about the little Mozart had given her a very misguided notion of what could be expected of Marie Antoinette.  She thought to herself, "My Marie is of royal birth, therefore she has royal abilities as her birthright. How can you compare royal abilities to the abilities or ordinary people."

674. Furthermore the Empress did not even believe all of the stories floating around about Mozart, and she was sure they were just impossible exaggerations. Just the previous month she had visited a village to have a look at a three headed calf, which turned out to be only an ordinary two headed calf. She was used to rumors and exaggerations and often said, "Look, until they invent photography you can't trust anything anyone says."

675. And her advisers agreed with her saying that the eventual invention of photography would not solve anything because of photo-shop. You just had to trust your own judgment. And when it came to the question of five year old prodigies playing Bach fugues, she just did not believe it. Furthermore she really did not like Bach's music all that much, having heard him play the organ once when she was a child.

676. "I heard that Bach person playing the organ in Salzburg when I was a child", she exclaimed, "He should have stuck to making mechanisms for cuckoo clocks and not bothered with music composition but what can you expect from  heretic Lutheran fanatics."

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Marie Antoinette Eats Cake, parts 669 - 672

669. The argument between Buboni and the Duck always took different forms, but I think it boiled down to this, the Duck loved life and the world, so he had to believe in a wonderful God who creates and enjoys it all, because the Duck was a happy soul. And Buboni was a bitter old man angry with God, and looking to pick a fight with him. I thought it best to change the subject so I said, "Tell me Duck what has all of this got to do with Marie Antoinette."

670. "Marie Antoinette, my God what a subject," said the Duck, "But before we get to that, let me say this to you Buboni. Ten years of a life may have no meaning, even twenty, but eventually comes a day  that is worth a lifetime. So it was with Coromo and the Decameron, so it was with Richard when he cast his hand in plaster, so it was for you when you left your job in England and fled to France, and so for me... once... But now, about Marie Antoinette.

671. As I hope you know, Marie Antoinette was the daughter of Maria Teresa, Empress of Austria, and one of 15 children.  Hers was a typical royal upbringing. Her tutors schooled her in several languages, drawing and painting, and especially music from an early age. Little Marie was very precocious and did well in all of these subjects except for music. It is not that she had no musical ability, but she was an average child when it came to learning to play an instrument.

673. Music was important to the Empress and she saw to it that Marie had the best teachers, but as one of the music masters informed her, "A ten year old  cannot be expected to play Bach fugues."  The Empress would not listen to negative pronouncements about her daughter and replied, "They say Mozart is ten and is not only playing Bach fugues, but composing them as well you 'katunz'. (Katunz was a German word used by peasants to describe a blockhead.)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Marie Antoinette Eats Cake, parts 665 - 668

665. Do you think nature is blind and deaf and has created her beauties to be considered only by the dumb. In the jungle a baboon turns his face to the evening light that brings out the intensity of his color, and no one will ever see it, not for a single second, but God sees it and not only enjoys it, but remembers it  for all eternity.

666. Somewhere in the bushes a man with a Nikon Camera takes a shot of that self same baboon, and rushed home to load it to his computer, posts it to his blog,  pins it on Pinterest.  Such images are a pathetic remembrance of the actual work of art and it takes an effort of will to care about it, it is only pixels on a screen. It may stay posted to the internet for a hundred years, and the actual event may have lasted a millisecond, but the actual event is the work of art, and the other a fading echo.

667. "But," said Buboni, "From what angle, and what point of view has this nature of yours looked at that landscape; with what apparatus does it file it into a memory. A landscape can be viewed from infinite points of view, and it changes, atom by atom, every millisecond, therefore this god of your imagination manages to remember, and also 'swoon' over an infinite times infinite set of images, multiplied by the infinity that the passage of time contributes.

668. I am sure this god of yours is keeping track of the other things going on in the universe down to dust floating in the sunlight, so he must come down with terrible migraines now and then, since none of that information, images, or events, ever leads to any conclusion, has a plot or a climax that would have made it worthwhile to recall.  Just a lot of effort to no purpose. We know you think the sun thinks a lot of itself, and mountains shed tears, but I think it is a crock.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Marie Antoinette Eats Cake, parts 661 - 664

661. Creation was all so natural in our childhood. We built forts in the woods, and stood looking at out handy-work in rapt admiration, created plastic models of war ships,  built snow forts, and cardboard condos out of refrigerator boxes, soap boxes with roller skates and two by fours, and painted faces on our hands and made our hand say stupid things. When we were children all our pleasures came from the things we created, judging everything by Picasso's rule - I made it so it is great, period.

662. But then I went to work in the post office, and for thirty years never did a single thing that meant anything to me, and when I retired, I was beset by this restless longing to make something  but everything I managed to do seemed so cheap and tawdry and pointless compared to the so called "great artists", that the powers that be keep telling us are so important. Anything a person like I might do must therefore be of no consequence.

663. Those were my self deprecatory thoughts as I drifted off in my own mind as Buboni was talking, but I was brought to attention when the Duck interrupted him in his didactic way, and, like he always did, threw the discussion in a different direction, giving it a broader and deeper significance. "People" he said, "long to be creative, in imitation of nature which is the only truly great creator of art.

664. Let us consider a grand landscape stretching back for a hundred miles complete with rivers, lakes, sloping hills and all of the distance dissolving into mist. Nature creates this panorama of infinite complexity and furthermore, alters it with subtle precision every second bringing in more sunlight to caress it with a touch only light can bestow, or with a few clouds casts a foreboding darkness. What you never realize is that nature observes this creation and swoons with delight over it.

Marie Antoinette Eats Cake, parts 660 - 663

660. Now look at this piece of pottery made thousands of years later by some ancient Greek, also covered with similar patterns.  I am  saying  that all of these people had a pancreas, they all had earlobes, and they all had a desire to cover surfaces with geometric decoration; but the truth is they had no choice about it. They had to cover these objects with decoration because doing so is a physical necessity which if ignored leads to depression, thoughts of suicide, and the endless hours of watching television.

661. "The watching of television programs in the vain hope that the vicarious consumption of seeing others do things that have a temporary sort of meaning will fill the void in the human soul that comes from never creating anything of any sort for yourself."

662. And worst of all is that the vicarious consumption of television drama is yet twice removed, because the actors in a television drama are not doing anything but acting the part of a meaningful life, instead of living it. Seinfeld had only imaginary friends who pay him imaginary visits, and the actors on....So Buboni went on with his lecture as he so often did, and I drifted off for a few moments into my own world.

663. This is not to say I was not interested in what Buboni was saying, on the contrary I was stung by it. I saw clearly the inescapable point he was raising, which applied to my entire life. Creativity is a physical necessity essential for a meaningful life. It can not be suppressed of ignored, but it is often put off for an entire life time, only to re-emerge in old age as a pathetic desire to do something, anything, that has some meaning.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Marie Antoinette Eats Cake, parts 656 - 659

656. The cavemen had five fingers, but that is not the only thing I share with them, they also had a spleen and lungs, toenails and eyelashes. Cavemen used to have stomach pains, and come down with colds. Old cavemen had heart trouble and diabetes, dry skin and hearing loss. I can picture some caveman with an abscess tooth, unable to get to sleep all night because of the pain, and another caveman  asleep nearby in the middle of a pleasant dream, because cavemen sometimes must have had pleasant dreams.

657. If you consider the skin as a boundary, then everything under the skin for both the caveman and myself is exactly the same down to the the corpuscle, but outside of the skin everything is astoundingly different.

658. "Now look at this", said Buboni, holding up an image on his Ipad for us to consider. "It is a set of the decorative patterns found on  ancient pottery and used to cover the entire surface of those works.

659. Now look at this mans face, he has gone through all the bother of putting similar patterns all over his face.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Marie Antoinette Eats Cake, parts 652 - 655

652. Let us consider the entire question from the beginning, starting with the caveman articles, working out way through Marie Antoinette's village, and ending with the French Easel's shall we? " said the Duck. "Yes", the professor  said, "I will begin with the cavemen if you don't mind."

653. "Cavemen", said Buboni, "You may think I do not know anything about cavemen but you would be wrong. I would say without a doubt that I know almost all there is to know about cavemen, minus a few insignificant details, but let me explain.

654. I took a quick glance at the Duck, because I was wondering if Buboni was going to declare that he had universal consciousness and memory as I knew the Duck had, but the placid look on the Duck's countenance told me that universal consciousness was not going to figure into the dissertation, but how could the professor really know anything about cavemen, I wondered?

655. Buboni held up his hand and spread out his fingers and asked a rhetorical question, "How many fingers do I have? He said. "Five" we answered. "And how many fingers did the cavemen have"?  He continued, and then, not waiting for our answer he said:

Marie Antoinette Eats Cake, parts 648 - 651

 648. When Aunt Jemima finished talking about Coromo for a moment, I asked her a question.  "Why is it," I wanted to know, "That so many rich tourists when they are spending time at a resort, decide to do oil paintings? She said she was not exaggerating about the French Landscape Painters Easels being left behind, but she had no idea why they want to express themselves two or three weeks out of the year.

649. I was certain Buboni would have an opinion and I was right, because he was anxious to offer this explanation. "The answer can be found", he said, "in an examination of the tools of the cavemen that we find in anthropological museum collections. Those tools make it quite clear what is going on with the purchase of the French Landscape Painters Easels." I  took a look at the Duck to ascertain if he thought Buboni was drifting back into his fever.

650. But the Duck apparently agreed with Buboni that the caveman articles and the French easels were related, because he said, "Not only the caveman articles and the French Easels are related, but we also have to consider the Peasant Village Marie Antoinette built in which she milked cows and sheared sheep, it too could be said to be an example of the French Easel Syndrome."

651. "Is the French Easel Syndrome anything like Stendhal's Syndrome I asked.  "No," Buboni and the Duck replied emphatically and in unison, "The French Easel Syndrome and Stendhal's syndrome are polar opposites.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Coromo, End of Chapter 2, parts 644 - 647

644. The fact that the tourists of the resort loved the local musicians playing their homemade instruments, and had no interest in the great classics the restaurant manager kept slipping into the program was puzzling to Coromo.
Weren't the local musicians just like him.  He knew them all, Joe learned to play the bass guitar a year ago after he found one in the trash, Phillipe could play the penny flute even though nobody ever taught him. 

645. This obvious fact that struck him, the native music was vastly superior to anything else, and so much more alive than the great classics of Western civilization, played with great precision and accuracy by stuff old men in tuxedos.

646. "If you compare the music of Bob Marley to Beethoven, then Marley is the better, and if you compare my little paintings to the great pictures of Rembrandt, and that other person, Bouguereau, then mine are better," he thought to himself. He felt for certain this was true, he did not know exactly why it was true, and neither do I.

647. On the way home that night Coromo's mind was full of new images that passed in succession in his mind's eye. First he was going to do a painting of himself on a horse, then one of the third sister also on a horse so far in the distance she looks like a speck. Then a picture of the two of them under a tree, and then a picture of himself alone, painting a picture of himself alone.

Coromo, Chapter 2, parts 640 - 643

640 The restaurant manager was the sort of person who felt that because Beethoven had written the Fifth Symphony, therefore he was superior to the entire populations of China, India and Africa. Beethoven was very important to him, not to mention da Vinci, Michelangelo, and various other representatives of Western civilization. To the restaurant manager the superiority of western culture was self evident, he took pleasure in pointing it out to Coromo.

641. The restaurant manager did not fire him as he had been planning. He suddenly felt a pang of guilt at having criticized his employee's paintings. To him the inferiority of Coromo's little pictures was so obvious that it hardly needed to be mentioned, and he could see from the man's dejected looks that he had gone unnecessarily too far. "Don't feel bad Coromo," the manager said, "Art is long and life is short, or rather life is short and art is long, something like that, good luck with your little pictures."

642. It was early evening when Coromo left the manager's office, walked down the narrow basement hallway, and up the stairs to the restaurant. It was that time of day when the restaurant was closed before the evening entertainment. At the far end of the room some musicians were warming up, it was a reggae group, they were doing some song of Bob  Marley.

643. The entertainment each evening varied, the previous night had been a string quartet playing the works of Schubert. Coromo listened to the music of Marley, and thought about the previous evening, and how the guests had retired to their rooms early. The guests, unlike the restaurant manager had no appreciation for the great music of Western civilization, but he knew that the restaurant would be busy till late that night, the tourists would stay late because they adored reggae.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Coromo, Chapter 2, parts 636 - 639

636. Just then the restaurant manager began talking to him about his paintings, he did not have anything very good to say. "Coromo you think you are an artist," he said, "But I can see you are just a phony. If a person takes a bunch of paint and smears it all over a canvas that doesn't make it a painting. The great artists trained from childhood under master painters to learn the skills to do things like this." He said, pointing at one of his reproductions of Bouguereau.

637. What possessed that restaurant manager to insult and belittle Coromo in that way? Coromo was not going around advertising his great artistic skills, he was not setting out his wares and trying to make sales. He did his pictures by accident, and only started to take them seriously because of Tallulia. Now he felt crushed and dispirited, and all this coming right after being stood up by the third sister going to Aruba.

638. I have to explain the restaurant manager a little and perhaps you can get an insight into why he was so critical of Coromo's paintings. The manager loved highly detailed realistic pictures, and also he loved Beethoven. He had a CD player in his office, and while he lectured Coromo one could hear the third movement of the Fifth Symphony playing in the background.

639. The restaurant manager loved to sit at his desk and listen to Beethoven with his eyes closed, and he feet up on his desk. In his mind he pictured Alexander the Great on his horse Bucephalus he pictured Napoleon at Austerlitz, he pictured Allied troops storming the beaches of Normandy, and his heart swelled with a borrowed euphoria.

Coromo, Chapter 2, parts, 632 - 635

632. Coromo was looking at color reproductions of paintings, not actual paintings, so it was a few minutes before the truth dawned on him; these were reproductions of actual oil paintings, pictures done with the exact same oil paints and turpentine he had at home. Some man, many years ago had been able to make those same materials look like a beautiful woman's glossy naked flesh.

633. Not only could he make oil paint look like a woman's flesh, he could also paint drapery as if you could see through it, the blush on a child's cheek, the sweet smile of an angel whose face is shrouded in shadow, mist on distant hills, the glow of sunlight on a vase inlaid with precious stones, wisps of hair blowing in a breeze, castles and mansions miles away seen through the vapour of a misty dawn.

634. Back at home Coromo was hardly able to make oil paint of a single color fill in a simple shape without smearing the stuff all over the place, and getting it on his clothes and in his hair and ears. As he looked at Bouguereau's paintings a feeling of shame crept over him. He though his paintings were like a broken child's toy on a trash heap compared to the great works of art in a museum in some far away place.

635. And yet there was something about the paintings of Bouguereau he did not like which gave him a sort of sick feeling; the women were too beautiful, the places too perfect, the expressions too cloying. "It's really like pornography in a way", he thought.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Coromo, Chapter 2, parts 628 - 631

628. The Restaurant manager went right to the heart of the matter, he wanted to know about the set of paintings he had sold to Tallulia. Immediately all thoughts of quitting his job fled out of his mind and he made an earnest explanation of himself. "You know what that woman is like", he said, "She demand I show her my paintings, I had no choice, and then she insisted I sell them to her."

629. "So Coromo, you paint pictures do you?"  Yes" he replied. "Tomorrow bring some examples of your work, I want to see what it is you are doing." Yes Sir" said Coromo.

630. The next evening Coromo went down to the managers office after work with three of his best pictures. He had no idea what to expect. The only thing he knew about his pictures was that a very strange woman had liked them, but if his work was really good or bad, he had no idea. He placed his pictures on the managers desk, and waited while his work was minutely examined.

631. While he was waiting he looked around at the restaurant manager's small office. Apparently the man had a certain appreciation for art, because there were pictures on the walls of the office. Coromo had never seen such strange pictures, all the work of a very famous painter named Bouguereau.

Coromo, Chapter 2, parts 624 - 627

624. But there was something more, Coromo thought about having sold six pictures and about Ms. Tallulia's offer to buy all his pictures for one dollar each, in his mind he addressed the manager like this “I am sorry Mister Manager about disappointing you with this job, but you see, I am an artist, and I have to work on my paintings, so I don’t really have time any more for your resort."

625. I have told you what Coromo looked like, he was tall and handsome, with a self-depreciating smile and a very nice set of teeth, and since I have to describe the conversation that took place between him and the restaurant manager I will describe the manager also. Here is his description.

626. The restaurant manager was neither tall nor short, he had a fairly ordinary face, and his mannerisms reminded you of nobody in particular. He was fond of making vague gestures with his hands when he was speaking, but these gestures never had anything to do with what he was saying. About his clothing and his wardrobe, he was the sort of person whose taste in clothing would be forgotten even as you were looking at him, so I can't remember it.

627. Coromo entered the Manager's office, the office was in the basement at the end of a long hallway. When he entered the manager was reading some e-mails on his computer and so for about five minutes he pretended that Coromo was not there. Finally he looked up and asked his visitor to sit down.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Coromo, Chapter 2, parts 620 - 623

620. Coromo’s sale of six pictures to Ms. Tallulia was not overlooked by the manager of the dining room of the resort.  Interaction of the staff with the resort clients was tolerated only to a certain point, but he had called attention to himself by his involvement with the three sisters, and now the transaction with the flamboyant Tallulia produced a curious incident. The manager requested Coromo to come to his office after work.

621. I did not mention that he had been warned after the interaction with the sisters to not be so familiar with the clients; there were rules to be observed. He was to answer personal questions as briefly as possible, and under no circumstances to get involved in personal conversations.

622.  “Don’t ever get it into your head that you are one of them, that you can sit down at their tables and chitchat with them. They may get drunk and forget themselves, they may succumb to some notions of equality when they have had so much to drink they can't think straight, but they will regret in in the morning.” Said the manager to Coromo.

623. “So if I ever catch you again fraternizing with the clients like you did with the three sisters, back to your village you go, do you understand me,” concluded the manager. All day long Coromo was expecting to get fired that evening, his stomach hurt in anticipation. He tried to compose a self-defense, and he came up with this. He had to chose between following the rules, and being rude, so he chose not to be rude, that was his defense.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Coromo, chapter 2, parts 616 - 619

616. This presented a riddle for him. It never entered his mind his art work could have  value, he was amazed that anyone would want it at all.  What confused him was that she would spend so much on the materials. There was only one explanation he could think of, remembering his French Landscape Painter's Easel, he reasoned that resort people had no concept of money, it didn't mean anything to them. The idea that he was painting masterpieces did not cross his mind.

617. He set to work that night on a series of paintings for his new client. The almost insurmountable task was to come up with a new idea for each painting. If he couldn't think of an idea he tried to paint the things he saw all around him. Like with his first paintings he was constantly aggravated with how difficult it was to draw even the most simple object and have it look right. He had to remind himself over and over that Ms. Tallulia did not seem to mind his mistakes.

618. His pictures of real things, drawn all out of proportion and crooked looking got on his nerves so much that he gradually switched over to making up things from his imagination. A boat in a storm tossed ocean, a lion scaring a man in the woods, a house on fire with someone on a ladder, an old man on a tricycle, anything that popped into his head.

619. Many of the colors in the tubes Tallulia sent him were especially strong and brilliant with strange names like Phthalo green, or Naphthol red. He could not resist the temptation to paint his images using these colors without any regard for actual life. Why not paint a tree gleaming Dioxazine purple, of Quinacridone pink, who cared, and besides, he had an intuitive feeling that if his paintings were outlandish in some way Ms. Tallulia would like them all the more. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Coromo, Chapter 2, parts 612 - 615

612. Ms. Tallulia said to Coromo, "I want to buy more of these paintings from you when I return next month, the more you can do the better. I am happy to pay you one dollar each for them, but I can't afford a penny more." "There is just one problem," Coromo replied," I don't have any more canvases, the set I started with only had the six." " No matter," she said, "I will send you materials by Fedex next week."

613. Sure enough the following week the resort received a big box addressed to Coromo. Inside the box were thirty pre-stretched canvases, a complete assortment of tubes of oil paint, numerous brushes and palate knives. The only thing missing was turpentine which is not legal to ship.

614. Inside the box of art supplies was an invoice with an itemized list of all the contents of the container. Even though the invoice was stamped "Paid", still the sight of the tremendous expense of the materials made Coromo stiffen with anxiety. His new friend Ms. Tallulia had spent almost a thousand dollars on the art supplies. For the first time since beginning his interaction with the woman he began to feel confused.

615. Coromo thought to himself, "She wants to pay me one dollar for each painting I do, and yet she has spent almost a thousand dollars for the art supplies. There are thirty canvases in the box, so when I am finished she will pay me thirty dollars for thirty paintings, and a thousand dollars for the materials." He could think of no explanation for such a discrepancy.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Coromo, Chapter 2, parts 608 - 611

608. Then there was Franz Knine, who did not need to change his name, because a one syllable name ending in a vowel can not be improved on. That is the reason that Vladimirov Javacheff used his first name of Christo to create his carreer, since his last name could not be pronounced except in Greek.

609. People like Jackson Pollock, and Pablo Picasso had no problems because they were blessed at birth with melodious and memorable names, but one can't forget the example of Robert Allen Zimmermam. And we have to mention, mention Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dali i Domenech, who only had to shorten his name a little.

610 Tallulia explained it like this, "There was a famous organist once whose name was E. Power Biggs, who sold millions of copies of his performances of the music of J.S. Bach, but he would be unknown if his name had been E. Weakness Small. But then, on the other hand, I suppose Bach would be famous even if his name had been cgzfpqzdx.

611. Ms. Tallulia purchased Coromo's paintings for ten dollars, and I would like to remind you that he had been intending to spend ten dollars for his art supplies. If he had spent ten dollars he would have broken even, but as it worked out the ten he made was clear profit. When Ms Tallulia left she gave him some instructions in a very serious tone.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Coromo, Chapter 2, parts 604 - 607

604. They agreed on the price of ten dollars but Tallulia had some requests, she wanted him to do several things, he had to sign all of the paintings on the front in the bottom corner, after that he had to write on the back of each painting the title, the date it was painted, and then it had to be signed again. "What is your name?" she said. "Coromo," he replied.

605. When Coromo said his name the professional art dealer in Tallulia kicked in, and she did not react in any way. She had expected to hear some nondescript useless name of no use in the art field, and she had already wondered what argument she would use to convince Coromo to put some other more marketable name on his paintings.

606. But now she had the name Coromo to try to market, she could not think of a better name. Tallulia's reasoning went something like this.

607. Rothko was famous because his name was Rothko, if he had used his actual name of Marcus Rothkowitz he would probably be unknown.

Coromo, Chapter 2, parts 600 - 603

600. Dear Coromo, I am sorry that we could not come to see you this year, we are all in Aruba because there are golf courses here, perhaps when your resort finishes its golf course project we will come back again. My sister's husbands were very angry and disappointed that your resort had pictures of a golf course, but not the real thing. But, you were the real thing, and I will always remember reading "The Decameron" with you. I am engaged to a very nice man, he is a lawyer with a good practice, please don't write to me anymore.

601. It is hard for me to write this passage about Coromo. It is true his ideas about the third sister were only a fairy tale. During the year while they had been writing back and forth he had never once said anything about his vague ideas of how they could have a life together, the idea seemed absurd, and yet he never stopped thinking about it. Was he in love? If a person spends all day every day thinking about someone, I suppose they are.

602. Since his ideas about his friend were so obviously impractical it did not take him a long time to accept his situation. He resisted all impulses to write back or to plead and argue. He deleted all of the younger sisters e-mail messages and it took an hour to do it, but then he moved  them back to the in-box. Nothing cheered him up, and he said to himself, "Now I am going to be sad for a year and a half, there is no escaping it." He was correct, except that it was an under-estimation.

603. Given his mood, he entirely forgot about Tallulia and her interest in his set of six paintings, but she did not forget about him. A day before she was planning to leave for New York she again asked him if he would sell her his paintings. "What do you want them for?" he asked. "I think they are charming, and I am going to frame them and give them to my grandchildren." She lied, I mean, she replied.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Coromo, Chapter 2, parts 596 - 599

596. Coromo was shocked at this woman's observations, and asked, "How do you know all this?" And now Mrs. Tallulah lied by saying, "I read a book about art one time and that was what it said."

597. This was a complete lie, but she did not want him to know the answer to his question. She was an art dealer from New York and her speciality was buying and selling self-taught and outsider art, so when she contemplated the purchase of pictures by naive people she never let them to know her intentions. She could tell Coromo had painted the pictures, and she intended to buy the set of six, but it was her unbreakable rule never to pay more than a dollar for a picture.

598. She told him she wanted to buy all six of the pictures and offered to pay him five dollars for the set, but he refused the offer outright. Being a dealer in art she just assumed the refusal was because of her price . She never expected he would refuse, but right away she offered ten dollars, breaking her cardinal rule. He refused the offer of ten dollars, but only because he still hoped the sisters would arrive.

599. Several days went by and finally he had to come to the conclusion that the sisters were not coming that year, and furthermore he was not going to get a response to his e-mail inquiries.  He did write an angry note saying that he was never going to write again, and it finally produced this reply.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Coromo, Chapter 2, parts 592 - 595

592. Being called a liar took Coromo back a bit, and at first he was at a loss what to answer, but since he knew for a fact that this strange woman could have no idea in the world where the pictures came from, he repeated his lie more adamantly.

593. "There is no way on this earth that any children painted these pictures young man, so why are you lying about it?" She said. "How would you know?" said Coromo.

594. "First of all children almost never use oil paints, their parents would never allow it, and even if they did, where are these children in some village going to get their hands on Cadmium  Red that cost forty dollars a tube, and Cerulean Blue that costs forty-five dollars a tube."

595. And not only do children not use these expensive colors, they almost never scrub things out and change the proportions of their figures. Children always like their pictures, and don't subject them to adjustment and alteration. Look here where whomever painted this thing has rubbed out the leg of the figure, and painted it in at a different angle! Adults, who always hate their own pictures, make these sort of changes.

Coromo, chapter 2, parts 588 - 591

588. On the last day of the week he expected the sisters to arrive he came back from one of his trips to the computer room to find a woman looking at his paintings, standing at his bussing station.

589. The woman who was looking at Coromo's paintings; how can I describe her? She was like a three hundred pound version of Tallulah Bankhead, and like Toulua all of her gestures were exaggerated, and all of her remarks were overly dramatic. She was a cartoon of herself.  She was the type of woman who would stop a stranger in the street to ask about their shoes, and then proceed to invite them to dinner.

590. She  would call 911 because a baby was crying in a restaurant. She would give a hundred dollar bill to a bum, but tell them to their face that they stank. She was very smart, she was clever and observant, she was ugly, wore too much lipstick,   put on as if she had the palsy. Her husband looked like Stan Laurel, walked three paces behind her, never contradicted her, and loved her very much. It was this woman who demanded to know who the person was that had painted the paintings.

591. She said to him "Who painted these pictures young man?"  Coromo replied, "They were painted by some children in my village, and they are a gift for some women who visited my village last year. "You're a liar", said Tallulah

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Coromo, Chapter 2, parts, 584 - 587

584. When the week arrived when Coromo expected the sisters to be at the resort he started bringing his six paintings to work with him. During the day he left them all at the bussing station in a stack, expecting any instant to see the sisters enter the dining room.

585. The entire week went by and the sisters did not appear, meanwhile he noticed a complete absence of e-mail messages from his friend. I can't tell you how many times he snuck away from his post at work to run into the computer room to look for a note, but no note came.  He would click 're-set page' over and over again to no avail.

586. Finally on the last day of the week he was expecting the sisters he got a single message informing him that he had won a British Lottery, and he could claim his six million dollars in prize money. This was how upset he was, the fact that he had won six million dollars in the lottery did not cheer him up at all, although he did read the message and filled out the necessary information to claim his prize.

587. I am not going to tell you about Coromo's hurt feelings; if you have been stood-up, and given no explanation then you know how he felt. The third sister simply did not have the heart to tell him she was not coming. The fact that she was unable to write to him should have told him how serious her feelings were, but it had the opposite effect.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Coromo, chapter 2, parts 580 - 583

580. Back at the resort Coromo often went into the room reserved for guests to surf on the computers. Most of the guests had laptops and wi-fi, but the few who didn't used the computer room. He had an e-mail account he set up shortly after the sisters left, and here he received many thousands of e-mail messages from the younger sister.

581. I refuse to give you any of the details of those e-mails, I think it would be wrong. How would you like it if you were involved in an e-mail correspondence with someone, and in your e-mail were all sorts of talk about skin texture, kissing, "the stars at night looking down on us both," and that sort of thing, and then you found some of it printed out for anyone to read on the Internet? I bet you would be upset wouldn't you.

582. I am going to respect their privacy and say nothing about their messages except to point out that even though Coromo had 6435 messages in his in-box from his new friend, not one of them mentioned that the sisters were going to Aruba that year for their vacation.

583. Coromo was in for a big disappointment that year, but it would all work out for the best in the end. His relationship with that younger sister would have never worked out anyway, they just did not have enough in common.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Coromo chapter 2, parts 576 - 579

576. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away fate was about to play an interesting trick on Coromo. Ever since the three sisters had returned home, all they talked about was their vacation and what they would be doing when they went back. In these conversations the name Coromo kept being mentioned in one way or another.

577. It was the youngest, unmarried sister who had spent time in the woods with him, and she refused to say anything about it, but the older married sisters brought it up so often that their husbands became irritated.

578. Finally one of the husbands said, "What's all this talk about Coromo, you mention Coromo more often that Rush Limbaugh mentions Obama." The husbands, by the way, were great fans of Limbaugh, but the wives could take it or leave it.

579. At the last minute the two husbands laid down the law, they were not going to go back to "Coromo's Resort" as they now called it. The reason they gave was because the golf course was not finished, and that was the purpose of the vacation anyway. The youngest sister had absolutely no reaction to this decision, and you would have sworn, if you had seen her, that it made no difference to her at all.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Coromo Chapter 2, parts 572 - 575

572. All Coromo wanted to do was a painting the same as a child would, with no details or proportions, and he wanted it to look happy and simple like the crayon drawings children were always doing but he found that it was impossible to fake being a child. Over the period of  a week he did six paintings, one a night and each was worse than the one before.

573. If he painted a car it looked like a truck, and if he painted a boy it looked like a man. His figures never fit on the canvas and they all looked like they had feet attached at the knees. Trees all looked like  stalks of broccoli, and it bothered him that his flowers were taller than his houses, but he didn't care because he was just going to give them all to the three sisters as a gift so what did it matter?  But it did matter, it was his vanity.

574. At the end of a week Coromo was a person transformed, he sat in front of his French Landscape Painter's Easel and the look of concentration on his face, and the furrow on his forehead was unmistakable, he had fallen into a trap like so many before him, and by accident had become an artist.

575. Finally he finished his last canvas for he only had the six that came with the set. The idea came to him in a dream. He painted a picture of a man in a little boat and both man and boat are about to be swallowed up by a big fish with lots of sharp teeth. It was the only picture that he liked because it was how he felt, he felt like a little man being swallowed up by the painting of pictures.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Coromo chapter 2, parts 568 - 571

568. To solve his problem of how to do a set of paintings he came up with the idea of doing them on cardboard, of which there was an ample supply at the dumpsters, and for paint he was going to 'borrow" several cans of paint from the maintenance department. In the maintenance department were thousands of small cans of all sorts of touch up paint, mostly in pastel shades, but he was not concerned about that. As for brushes, he would figure that out later.

569. The foreman of the maintenance department was a friend of Coromo's and was happy to let him have several cans of old paint. Coromo offered to fill out forms and promised to bring everything back the next day, but he was told that the best thing would be to throw it all out, because it was no use to anybody. He put all of the paint cans in a box and headed for the door, but suddenly he stopped dead in his tracks.

570; Over in the corner of the maintenance room was a huge dumpster and sticking out of the dumpster was a practically new "French Landscape Painters Easel", complete with all of its tubes of paint, brushes, palate knives and blank canvases. "The tourist ladies like to do a few paintings when they are here, but the thing is too big to take back on the plane, so they leave it all in their rooms when they go, I got five of them, you want one?" said the maintenance foreman.

571. He found himself at home that night sitting in front of his new French Landscape Painting Easel and wondering how on earth one did a painting, having never considered the thing before. Like anyone else who is new to it, he began timidly drawing with a pencil, and for a subject he decided on a picture of a bus full of tourists driving down the street in front of the resort. He worked at the drawing for about an hour and gave up in despair. In his tangle of lines he could find neither bus nor tourists.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Coromo Chapter 2, parts 564 - 567

564. What a terrible disappointment his trip to the resort department store turned out to be, and not just a disappointment but also a cultural shock. The store did not have a section of art supplies, instead it had what is called a "French Landscape Painter's Easel", complete with several blank canvasses, a complete set of oil paints, assorted palate knives and brushes. The item was a piece of furniture, with brass fittings, all for just under a thousand dollars, plus tax.

565. Coromo stood looking at the easel for several minutes until a clerk disturbed him by asking what he was looking for. "Crayons" he said to the clerk. "Right this way", said the clerk.  The department store did have a set of crayons, it was not the big set we know from our childhood, with the crayons in tiers, and six or seven tints of each color, it was a little set of eight colors for twenty dollars.

566. Coromo did not leave the store right away, after the clerk departed he wandered back over to the "French Landscape Painter's Easel" and stood looking at it for a while longer. He tried to imagine a life in which such an object could be purchased and used some how, but he came up with a complete blank.

567. It sometimes happens that when one is faced with a dead end, some unexpected solution pops into the head; that now happened to Coromo. He left the department store and headed for the maintenance department.

Coromo Chapter 2, parts 560 - 563

560. When the year came round again, and the tourist season was in full swing, Coromo gave some though to those three sisters, and their eventual return. He had hoped to be able to show them a lot of drawings and paintings done by the children, but that was not a possibility, because in his village there were no refrigerators on which a few paintings might have been preserved.

561. Coromo decided to do a dishonest, but entirely understandable thing; he decided to do a set of little paintings and pass them off as having been done by the children. He intended to give these little paintings to the three sisters as gifts, showing his appreciation for their generosity.

562. There was the problem of the materials however, so he went to the store that supplied every sort of luxury item for the tourists, intent on buying just enough supplies to do his paintings for the sisters.

563.  Coromo first set aside from his pay four dollars for the purchase of art supplies, but then on second thought increased the amount to eight dollars, and finally settled on ten dollars total, although he really couldn't afford that much.