“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


the girl who painted walls

some times it was just a wall, other days it was the detail work, the up against the molding parts where she would need an artist's brush; she never used painter's tape, all that was was wasted time, taping up against the edges of things when she could instead be laying a new coat of color next to those edges - no, the joy of sitting still, moving her hand into the just right position, at the exact right angle, the one where she could glide along for a good 24 or 28 inches and not even hold her breath to keep the brush steady, the brush now an extension of her, of her not feeling anymore anxious - that was a joy only to be had when she was past the worrying about perfection point, which of course is where the perfection actually turned out to live.


not that that matters.  there are walls to be painted.

i will start here, in this first room.  the room of july 7th.  i have a small bucket of white paint and old-but-good brushes that have seen me through many a wall or chair or table.  the room of july 7th is cluttered and the early sun is laying lazy outside the door.  it is an honest room with stacks of books and scatters of pillows and a couch that sags too much for its age.  the room of july 7th doesn't care what the rest of the world thinks.  i won't cover that up with new paint - i've tried before and it doesn't work, it just creates problems under my skin.  i will paint the wall with a color called truth, a color which does not set you free, no matter what all the cool kids tell you.  truth is a prison when your truth is not their truth.  

i won't lie.  i may stay silent, but i won't lie.  i will paint this room with truth and leave the door open for anyone who wants to leave, or for anyone who wants to enter.


some days her hand hurt or she had to paint the high up parts, where the walls met the ceiling - she'd hold her head in such a way to give her hand freedom and her neck would begin to ache from all that tension and staying still; she would catch herself holding her breath and mentally give herself a shake, physically give herself a stretch, climb back up on the stool or the ladder or the chair she'd been standing on, and continue on.  sometimes, though, she stopped, could feel her muscles giving in, could feel the exhaustion in her bones, and she washed the brushes and scrubbed her hands and later stood under a hot shower.

she always slept like a baby on those days.

this morning: the sunday birds, dressed for church, midmorning breeze.  the cat up a tree.  paint under my fingernails.

claiming my name.



  1. I keep reading this, over and over, and see something new on each pass. So many layers.

    That saggy sofa, and those walls painted in truth, and damn, that open door (whispering come in, come in) is what sticks with me and the only thing I know to say is - yes. Oh yes, indeed.


    1. i think of you so often when i write or when i am silent, knowing you know the reasons why. i thought of you when i named today's room.

      changes are coming, and this is the first, my name there at the top. i will design a header later.

      thank you for being here, and for reading through all the messiness of the last few years. thank you.

  2. the colour of truth ...

  3. truth, colors of paint, rooms named for days. WOW. i don't think i took one breath in all the words. you had me.
    but then you always do.
    where ever you are going? i will follow...
    in fondest. tilda

  4. "as interesting as watching paint dry" That's an idiom that just had its meaning turned upside down. I swear; you always find the magic in the mundane; every movement is a meditation.

  5. layers indeed.
    I continue to paint and repaint new layers of the colors of my life

  6. A brush in hand, to a wall or to a canvas, this is how I have made my way through life. "the girl who painted walls" is beautifully written. No matter where the brush goes, it really is the same. The metaphor is brilliant, "I will paint...with a color called truth, a color which does not set your free, no matter what...your truth is not their truth." I was struggling with a painting the other day and thought, how would I solve this as a house painter, mix up some color, take a brush and cut away and cover over what does not belong and keep what does. I did just that, and the outcome was my strongest piece yet. This is the first time that I have actually been cognizant of the two forms of painting overlapping in such an obvious way. Your written piece is well-timed for me at least, and the metaphor is brilliant. Thank you, dskj. I love this.

  7. I wish I could drop down on the couch with a novel in hand, written by you, so I could just devour your words for several hours, pausing only briefly for drink or food, or a spontaneous nap. Oh, how beautifully your words would influence my dreams. I can only imagine.


come. sit under the emma tree & let's talk. i have cookies . . .