The Separate Story Project

 

About a month ago, while my friend Julie and I were wine tasting in Edna Valley, we expressed a shared desire to draw and write more.

And instead of letting that urge linger above our busy lives, we decided to pull that dream down to earth with a collaboration–one that I’m (temporarily, depending on Julie’s stamp of approval) titling The Separate Story project. It’s simple, really:

  1. One of us picks a topic to draw
  2. We both have one week (drawings due Monday) to put that subject to paper
  3. We take a picture of what we sketched and send it through the internets
  4. Julie writes a story about Nicole’s drawing; Nicole writes a story about Julie’s drawing (up to 200 words)

It’s wild to see how differently we interpret a subject. Take a look, the topic Julie selected for this week was:

an umbrella in an unusual place


 

Julie’s Drawing:

Umbrella in an usual place

 

Nicole’s story about Julie’s drawing:

Two o’clock on the lower acre.

I meet Anton for our afternoon lesson.

He waves at me from the putting green, his rolled canary sleeve falling up towards his elbow.

The air feels filmy and clammy as a cod, and I pause one stair shy of the bench to extend my hand so that it’s facing upward, creating a tight valley between forearm and bicep.

Anton’s eyes follow an invisible path from my palm to the close grey cover above.

His hair looks more wiry than usual–like it had already received the hint that dampness is upon us.

I know he won’t cancel; we wait all week for this hour together.

I rest my umbrella next to his club and bend over, reaching into the basket of balls. My fingers move over them loosely at first, the sound of rattling plastic continues until I pinch a single sphere between thumb and index.

I face him with it on display:

“What do you say that if it rains before 2:15, we take shelter in the wet bar. I’ll make you a martini and you can tell me how you got this job in the first place.”

 


 

Nicole’s drawing:

20140706_152457

Julie’s story about Nicole’s drawing:

Cash sits alone. The train is picking up speed, winding through trees and sheets of rain.
He is motionless as if on display, practicing. You had to be special to be in the circus, but special was never the word people used to describe him.  The train rumbled over hills and through mountains, bragging to the surrounding nature about its power and strength. Cash wondered what it would be like to feel power like that. Is that how people felt when they watched him, powerful? Whatever it was he could see it in their eyes when they passed.
They felt superior and secure knowing that he was marked as less. Looking at him probably made them feel smart and majestic, things he could never be. Circus freaks could never be a full person. What if it was contagious? People needed verification that they were safe from such a monstrosity. Validation that they still had the power and control to protect themselves from behind the glass. Because to them he was the unknown danger.
So, Cash sat silent and alone waiting for the end of the night when he would walk to his bed where the darkness would settle and his dreams could take him. The rain was falling harder now and the train wasn’t slowing. Trees passed by in muted shades of green and gray.

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