Tag Archives: short story

The Colonel and the Muse Part II

7 Dec

It had been 3 days now since things had gone south with Muse Leira—she wanted Lala Drona out, out of that room as soon as possible.  Never had she ever met an artist so enveloped by her own work, so committed to her own style and message, an artist with vision alright…with tunnel vision. 

Muse Leira tried, time and time again, to inspire Lala Drona to continue her and Colonel Morgado’s work with battle strategies. She tried to influence Lala to wage art war on the Art Guild: the legislation which passed all art-related laws.   When that didn’t work, She tried to influence the artist to strategise against those who did not believe in art.  She tried to convince Lala of the destructive force that she possessed when she put paintbrush to canvas.  Muse Leira’s work with Colonel Morgado had been left unfinished, and she wanted Lala, more than any other artist to have entered that room before, to implement the battle strategies that Leira and the Colonel had started, into her paintings.

Lala Drona refused to accept the muse’s battle inspiration, and arrogantly explained to Muse Leira how this creative collaboration would unfold.  Lala had already decided on a concept, and merely needed the muse to help her develop the images for it.   The concept for the triptych of paintings would examine the development of online relationships/friendships, from the digital to the real.   It would unfold over three parts on three canvases:

Canvas 1:  “We Find Our Match in the Digital Masses”

Canvas 2: “We Give Each Other Space to Grow”

Canvas 3: “Together, We Make Each Other Human”

“Together we make each other human?  What’s so great about being human anyway?” Leira said.

Lala explained. “I meant for “human” to be taken metaphorically…like coming together in real life is what helps us maintain our humanity— or our compassion—empathy…”

“You are insinuating that “humanity” only expresses a compassionate side—while today more than ever we are witnessing humanity’s “inhumanity”. Not to mention, that idea is corny.  It would be a disservice to the entire triptych.  I’ll sign off on the first two ideas, but the third has got to go.”

Lala laughed, “I don’t think you really understand your role here.”

“Role?  You will suffer if you chose to stay in this room and not implement my inspiration.”

Lala scoffed and ignored the muse.  She threw herself into the work, but her ideas did not flow; she felt creatively blocked.  Sketching the third idea was like trying to manoeuvre a paintbrush with her toes.  The images would not translate onto paper.  But Lala kept drawing, too committed to her method.

Through the night, Lala persisted with her work but not without rebellion from Muse Leira.  Over the next few nights, Leira appeared to the dog outside Lala’s room.  At first, the barking only distracted Lala slightly, as she told herself that she would get used to it, just as she got used to the other sounds of the town.

Hours upon hours, the dog barked outside of her window, a rhythmic barking that ricocheted off the walls of the colonel’s room—every burst of canine scream was a wack over Lala’s ears. Muse Leira appeared over Lala as she drew, willing her own inspiration into the artist’s mind.  The more Lala resisted, the more Leira’s inspiration would change shape and become stronger.  With every wave of inspiration, Lala’s drawing began to warp and transform as well, into circles and lines, a battle strategy that she could not decipher.

The church bells clanged, the roosters cooed and every dog in that town barked simultaneously in the same rhythmic pattern. Lala covered her ears and screamed as an image of Muse Leira and Colonel Morgado emerged from a white fog with their troops behind them.  Flashes of bloodshed, of flesh in the air, a mix or white and red coalesced into a pink cloud.  They marched on through the pink fog…then, as quickly as it came, the image went dark again.  A new image came into Lala’s mind.  The artist, followed by her drones and muses, sitting atop a globe, sitting atop with someone she had never met before…working together towards a common goal. 

Lala began drawing the new image, and as she drew, the cacophony outside dulled; it subsided. Muse Leira appeared at her side with a hesitant smile.  Lala finished the drawing, but just as her pencil left the paper, the noise started up again.

Lala covered her ears and Muse Leira peered closer at the new concept for the third painting.  She read the title below:

Canvas 3: “Together, We Conquer the World.”

Muse Leira couldn’t have been happier with the results of their collaboration—she thought of Colonel Morgado, their late nights together planning their battle strategies, side by side like in Lala’s drawing.  Before the Colonel’s death, Muse Leira thought that they would one day conquer the world, and now through Lala Drona’s piece, in some way, they had. 

Muse Leira looked up from the sketch, and found Lala packing her bags.  The barking had stopped outside, but continued to pulsate through Lala’s mind. 

“The barking in my head won’t stop.” Lala said.  Lala held her head and threw her backpack over her shoulder.  She smiled.  “And I think our work here is done.”  She approached Muse Leira, who was standing in front of the door of the room.  Lala stood there, canvases under her arms, and looking Leira up and down.  She took a deep breath and then hugged her. “Thank you, Leira…for everything— I know I’m not easy to work with, and my inspiration extraction techniques are unconventional, but I knew you could do it all along.”  Lala patted Leira on the shoulder.  “Well done.”  Lala sighed, pushed through the doorway, and ventured into the night. 

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The Colonel and the Muse

9 Nov

muse leira and lala

Lala Drona (right), and Muse Leira (left)

What Lala Drona wrote had the tendency to come true.  Fortunately (and unfortunately)  for her, all the desires and dreams that she had written had already come true, and she was now living them.  Lala lied alone in her bed and thought about how creation comes from a lack, and how a satiated writer isn’t much of a writer at all.  Lala thought about what she wanted.  What did she desire?  Perhaps it was world domination, perhaps it was to get the art laboratory  back in business.  Whatever it was, it was in that moment that Lala realized she wanted nothing more than to be lying next to someone else.

 

The story of Muse Leira

In 18th century Portugal, in the small town of Messejana, Colonel Morgado died and left his estate to his four servants.  His loyal and dedicated Muse, grew depressed from the lack of creative collaboration with the Colonel.  Over the years that followed, the battle strategy notebooks and plans they created together disappeared,  buried in dust.  Muse Leira refused to occupy any other room after the Colonel’s death and condemned herself to those four walls for eternity.

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Messejana, Portugal

It wasn’t until recently, three centuries later, that Leira had the opportunity to dust off her inspiration projectors and collaborate with artists visiting the Colonel’s room.

 

The last servant left alive in the house decided to move into the house next door and rent out the Morgado home.  A young couple moved into the house with their baby, but made a point to stay out of the Colonel’s room at night, as recommended by the previous owner.  Muse Leira haunted the room at all hours, but her image only appeared at night, when she had the power to touch the tenants of the room.

The couple converted the house into an art residency, inviting international artists from

Screenshot 2018-11-09 at 18.51.43

Colonel Morgado’s room

around the world to visit and work on their projects.

 

Winnie was the first to stay in the Colonel’s room.  She was an ink-landscape painter from China.   The lights constantly switched on and off and the bulbs burned out.  Winnie saw Muse Leira for the first time on the night of the new moon.  She could not sleep and when she opened her eyes and rolled over, a head covered in a white cloth bag stared straight back at her.  Needless to say, Winnie left the residency early.
Madeleine was the next to stay in the Colonel’s room.  She was an abstract expressionist painter from France.  She began work right away on the first day and filled the room with canvas and color.  When she woke up the first morning, she saw that all of her t-shirts and pants had been thrown on the floor.  But no matter, she submitted to the strong inspiration that boiled from within and jumped out of bed to continue painting. 70_year_old_art_supplies_by_kymmacaleb-d492xvm.jpg

Night fell and while working at her desk, Madeleine tipped over a bottle of varnish.  She desperately looked for a cloth to absorb the liquid and took one that was handed to her.  She dabbed the painting with no result, and looked down at the cloth to find it was one of her t-shirts from the floor.  She looked to her side to see who handed it to her, and Muse Leira stood there, wearing all of Madeleine’s clothes and giggling.  After a bit of an awkward meeting, Madeleine and Leira became good friends and collaborated easily for the remainder of her stay in the Colonel’s room.

After Madeleine left, the room grew cold again, the air stagnant without the flow of creative energy.  A week went by and artist Lala Drona, an American painter living in Paris,Screenshot 2018-11-09 at 18.51.05 moved into the Colonel’s room.  On the first day, Lala rearranged the room to take advantage of the light coming in from the windows.  Lala’s painting materials still hadn’t arrived and she felt herself growing weak from the lack of creation.  She woke up in the middle of the night sick with a cold.  The roosters crowed and the dogs barked outside, rattling the bed she slept in.  Lala found the strength to approach the tissue box in front of the mirror on the other side of the room.  She grabbed a tissue and while blowing her nose, she looked into the mirror to find the head covered in a cloth bag standing behind her.  Lala would have screamed if she hadn’t lost her voice.

Muse Leira ran across the wall and knocked a trapped door open before hiding in the corner.  Realizing Leira was a muse, and having had extensive experience with muses, Lala tried to calm her while tiptoeing towards the trapped door.  Inside, Lala found old paintings on paper—portraits of the Colonel and his servants.  Further inside, she found charcoal.IMG_3345

Lala started coughing and Muse Leira led her back to bed.  Muse Leira brought over a board with paper and the charcoal and sat next to Lala.  She set up the drawing board and Lala began sketching out ideas for paintings.  She thought about what she wanted.  She thought about the relationships she had had with the Drones (assistants in her former art laboratory), other artists and muses.  Muse Leira reminded her that it is those relationships which make Lala human.

 


Over the next few days, Leira nursed Lala back to health.  Leira inspired Lala, and Lala grew stronger with every collaboration.  Lala’s painting supplies finally arrived, and thanks to Muse Leira, she is now off to a strong beginning.

Based on a fact.

Kendal Dreges, Minisota Artlife Press

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