Watching Paint Dry


My back ached and my hands shook as I finished slathering White Olive Green No. 4 Paint on the edges and corners of the secondary master bedroom. My father pushed a long paint roller on the walls, each greenish-grey swathe it cut over the dark jade of the previous wall color sending a wet squishing sticky sound out into the fumed air. The steady purr of the large fan in the door harmonized with the rough scratching of my paintbrush on trim as I desperately prayed not to ruin the crown molding as I tried to keep up with my dad.

I stepped off my shaky stool that constantly reminded me with its squeaking wobbles that I was one misjudged reach away from toppling head over heals onto the floor and covering every surface from carpet to ceiling to nose with White Olive Green No. 4.





I wearily stretched my back, hearing the vertebrae audibly crack as I set down my cup of paint and paintbrush on the top of the stool and sat down cross-legged on the beige carpet. I was wearing some ancient enormous work overalls that had to have the legs rolled up six times before my feet poked out, and I reached out my weary short legs across the floor.


“How do people do this for a living?” I wondered out loud. “I have no idea.” My dad said with a laugh as he wiped the roller with a fresh coat of Olive White. “How much do we have left to do?” I asked tentatively as I gazed at the haphazardly colored walls that were patterned randomly with some patches of dark green poking out mischievously where they should have been covered in their rightful neutral grey. “Well…” My dad said as he leaned his roller against the ancient halogen lamp we only used to paint, that occasionally sputtered with smoke when dust got too close to the bright burning light, “We’ll need to give this room at least a second coat, then you’ll need to cut in the ceiling and the closet. We should probably cover up any splotches in the bathroom.”

I groaned with exhaustion and flopped down flat on the ground feeling my tired muscles smart in exhaustion. “You know, in the movies we’d be doing this in a training montage with upbeat music in the background and it would be over in 30 seconds.” My dad laughed and sat down next to me on the carpet. “If we were movie people the house would already be perfectly painted and organized by legions of set design people.” I laughed as we looked up at the ceiling and literally watched paint dry. “Wow.” My dad said as he lay down on his back examined his handiwork, “I really hate painting ceilings!” “Sort of like Michelangelo.” I chucked, “He thought painting was an inferior form of art because he was a sculptor. He despised painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling so much that he tried to run away from Rome when the Pope was away at war.” My dad furrowed his eyebrows and gestured up at our ceiling “I’d hardly compare this to the Sistine Chapel!”  “Yeah…” I laughed, “Though then again, you aren’t going to be taking half a decade to complete this either… I hope.”

John & Maddie

John & Maddie

I looked over at my dad and smiled, “Do you remember when we stayed up to watch the meteor shower… the Persieds I think?” My dad grinned, his head propped up against his arms. “Yeah. You were bundled up so much you looked like you were off to discover the North Pole or something.” I smiled and copied his pose with my head resting on my arms. “Well, I guess in a sort of way this reminds me of that, you know, just hanging out with my daddy.” “I think the meteor shower was a bit more interesting than staring at the ceiling.” My dad said with a smirk. “Nah!” I beamed, “We only saw, like, three shooting stars. Though this,” I said as I gestured at the ceiling, “This is way more awesome.”

“I think there’s an spider walking across the ceiling.” My dad said as he pointed up at the white expanse before us. I didn’t see anything. “You lie!” I teased. Though I nervously scanned the wall for the presence of aforementioned spiders. My dad laughed and sat up. “Man… we’ve got so much work to do.” He said with a sigh as he looked at all the walls that needed fresh coats and the trim that needed whitening and the tile that needed replacing. “We can do it!” I smiled and I hugged him tight and we went back to work.

A Work In Progress!

A Work In Progress!

Why Do I Write?


There are 192 documents on my laptop computer; each one a rabbit hole of stories and ideas that never really found their ways out of my mind. Scores of characters, as real and human to me in the moment as any real live person are captured there in the raw form in the little digital folder on the screen of a computer, dozens of stories and plots and attempts at philosophy are found there as well. All are incomplete, unhewn blocks of ideas that seep from the overflowing cauldron of my conscious and unconscious mind. The pot gets too full, there are so many thoughts and ideas that simmer in my brain and eat at the back of my skull until I must, out of necessity, imprison them in a cage of paper.

Most plainly said, I write because I must. The cauldron must be poured out a bit before more brain-soup can be added. Because I tend to be a quiet and even anti-social human being, words must thus be written rather then said, a pen scratched on paper or words typed in front of a screen. But in any case, everyone must have a medium to speak their voice, however insignificant or uninspired, so they don’t go insane from all the pressure of ideas in their heads. The pressure can be intense, especially for an adolescent like myself; thousand existential crises plague our every hour. “Who am I?” “What is the nature of human interaction?” “Is our world to forever be flawed or is there hope of perfection?”

I know many great thinkers have pondered over the same questions that all humanity must contemplate at any given point in life.

I too have mused on my purpose in life: Who I am? What I was meant to do? Others have always told me that only I can detangle the knotted ball of my own raveled consciousness. I suppose writing is the way I can do that. My pen is the sword that slices through the knot of my philosophical ideas, if only to unwind the craziness of endless reasoning. Words on paper become real, definite, and concrete, the physical manifestation of the strongest cyclones of logic and theories that whirl through my mind. When the ideas can finally be spewed out of my brain, I can be freer; my mind can function better, like a computer that runs faster with a couple gigabytes of data moved to a backup drive.

In the end, I write because words written are real. Oral tradition comes and goes and evolves and changes, but writing is forever and perpetual. The words of others from centuries ago still read the same as then, and the words I write in documents on my dusty old laptop from almost a decade ago are still there untouched, a lasting testament to a fixed moment in time, a point in the life of a child that is no longer a child anymore. If I can capture an idea in time, like a photograph captures a moment, maybe then I can shed one more pinprick of light into the shadow of time forgotten.