Dumb as bricks

Don’t waste your time looking back. You’re not going that way. – Ragnar Lothbrok

Patricia et Nelly attendant le bus (4 January 2021)

Patricia and Nelly stand close to each other at a bus stop, sharing the task of holding a book open in front of them. Only Nelly is looking at it, though; Patricia is too preoccupied with the hand resting on her hip. Nelly’s hand. Either Nelly has forgotten their previously made agreement to be discreet in public about the fact that they are a couple, or she is choosing to ignore it.

Pierrette and Lucille lean into each other over the counter to exchange some petty gossip. As always. Pierrette could be fired for fooling around like this on the job; she’s been warned more than once. But she can’t stop herself, the gossip is too juicy. She monitors closely what is happening behind the counter, her left hand at the ready on a dishrag. Any sign of her boss, and that hand will be moving as if she’s been working the whole time.

Pierrette et Lucille placotant comme d’habitude (8 January 2021)

This Nelly, this Pierrette: they’re both a tad self-willed, both a little naughty in the most lovable way. Kind of like the artist. And by artist, I mean the inner artist, the child: Toothpick.

One day, for example, you’d this idea to redo Mauvaises nouvelles with a human character in place of the mouse. Toothpick wouldn’t hear of it. What you ended up with instead was the funky lesbian couple waiting for the bus alongside their obese dalmatian.

Mauvaises nouvelles (23 September 2020)
Moi, franchement, je pense qu’on devrait (31 July 2020)

Four days later, it had been your idea to redo Moi, franchement, je pense qu’on devrait with a human character in place of the dog that Toothpick chose to ignore. It was the two gossiping gossips that came out instead.

Why does Toothpick do this? Why doesn’t she listen to you, the person who buys all the art supplies and who lends her the hands she needs to do the work? Is your idea to redo these paintings so dumb that she can’t be bothered to entertain it for even a second?

Yes, quite frankly. Dumb as bricks. But why?

Artistically speaking, Mauvaises nouvelles and Moi, franchement, je pense qu’on devrait are riddled with technical imperfections. Were you wrong to think that they could be improved upon now that you have developed your skills? Were you wrong to think that the mouse as a human with actual feet and the dog as another human wearing a less drab colored jumpsuit might not be more aesthetically pleasing?

Wax stain for Mauvaises nouvelles, which inspired Patricia et Nelly attendant le bus
Stain for Moi, franchement, je pense qu’on devrait (the dog’s head), which inspired Pierrette et Lucille placotant comme d’habitude

On both counts, no, you are not wrong. But what does Toothpick care about technical perfection? What does Toothpick care if people find her paintings aesthetically pleasing? She’s six years old! She has a mind of her own, and this mind of hers cares only about the idea. Idea-wise, these paintings are perfect, are they not? They said what they had to say at the time the things they had to say had to be said. To revisit them now, all these months later, is a colossal waste of time. Life is happening now, in the present moment. And the questions your heart is asking in this moment are not the ones that updated versions of Mauvaises Nouvelles and Moi, franchement, je pense qu’on devrait are capable of answering. Only Nelly and Pierrette can answer these questions.

For example: Can you be friends with Jerry? Can you, the two of you, grow back together? Are these long walks in the morning hours before work in Prospect Park the beginnings of a new beginning? It’s Jerry who initiated these walks, Jerry who insists on calling you; is it truly to be just friends? Maybe not. Maybe he understands that he made a mistake. Should you be patient? Should you wait for him to bring it up, or should you? The question burns: Is what you and Jerry had together worth revisiting, can it be improved upon a second time around, made new and more aesthetically pleasing with a few technical improvements?

“Nope,” says Nelly.

“Fuck that shit,” says Pierrette

“Who’s Jerry?” says Toothpick.

Nobody, Toothpick. Nobody who’s going our way, anyway. Forget I even mentioned him.

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