Just start,’ the weird person said. ‘Words will come later. Shapes and colors too. As interpretation.’ Start -with- what then, we wondered, if there is nothing to shout but silence covered in and magnified by the echos of walls that contain nothingness and emptiness. ‘Just start,’ he said again. His voice was the only thing we received, the very thing we couldn’t bare hearing a second time.
If it had been somesheep else, we would have heard his words as seeing his arms open up to our desire to cast away this learned collaboration with gravity that invited to a scene of heavenly floodgates bursting open years and miles ago. We couldn’t do away with our pain, because in order to do that, we had to grab it, choke it, look it in the face, hate it, will it to die. How can you look in the face that which you want nonexistent?
Just draw. Here’s a piece of paper. A pencil, here. All yours. Two spontaneous memories intrude into our being; they split us in two like thunder does a tree and we feel the tears well up behind the wall of our eyelids. There is an increasing stillness, stiffness, physically. We feel rigid and icy. We don’t want this, we want out, away from this sudden heat. There is anger, you are forcing me, we don’t know you. Someplace deep inside we are presented with two options: run away, the default mode, or run through, with him next to us. He needs to be here, can he be here when we want it bad enough? He is to our right, almost always that side, not left. We are afraid that this voice of this weird person will soon ask why we’re not drawing. We are afraid that everysheep is going to see the tears in our eyes. If we walk now, they will notice even more. We feel no option but to stay seated. Breathing is superficially. Can we disappear unnoticed? Why can’t we draw. Why can’t we just frolic along like normal sheep, on a normal command. We feel like a mähngol.
The counterfeit voice. ‘See, this is who you really are, you do not belong and you will not ever belong, you are a weird sheep and you have done a great job fooling everyone up to this point with your so-called new wool, but this is who you are, you are weird, go back to your old meadow, drink and drown in the brook you fell in.’
Another voice, friendly. ‘What are you thinking of?’
It is him! He is there, on the right. What should we call him? Before we knew Jesus, we would have called him mirr, or confession sheep, or Baby D, or James, or..
‘I am thinking of high school, where we were judged by a product, a period of a six year stretch where our identity seemed to coindice with our performance. We remember so vividly that one time we had to draw ourselves, and because up to that point we had never said no to anything, we took up the task, pen and paper in front of us, eventually the pen between our hoofs, staring at somesheep that looked as bewildered and hollow as we were, with no identity, being me, being drawn by me, death like, on paper. We also remember a drawing for which we got graded the lowest possible, because the teacher said it was so good she couldn’t believe it was drawn by us. Our first imprint of not being believed. Our first mark of injustice and being falsely accused.’
‘Go on, sweetie’, the friendly voice said.
‘In drawing class it was as if we were forced to trust our souls to paper, to imprint the hidden in the plain. Every class a new bottle of ink. Every class a new grade. Nosheep can define us in numbers, nosheep can box us in twodimensional paper, nosheep can catch us in their assignment, let alone in a drawing. We don’t want this, what if we draw wrong and everysheep will see we can’t draw, what if it turnes out messy, I don’t want to show how how I birth a fantasy, how I image an illusion, how I utter my desire, especially to this weird person, I don’t know him, he even had our name wrong. Po-ta-mo-try-gor-geous, how hard is that to pronounce?’
‘Go on, sweetie’, the friendly voice said. ‘What else is on your mäh?’
‘Years and years and years, spanning decades of psychiatric hell, ambulantory and clinical, picketed by creative therapists to whaver else they call specialists, closing me in, trying to understand me, to grab me, to trap me, to keep me enslaved to a lie and locked up to their opinion about my choices in life. If it weren’t for outliers, you wouldn’t even be living in your middle, we think. Don’t you want to draw a little more in the middle of your page – she said. No, the middle is unknown, for I can’t see the edges of the paper from there, just let me be drawing in its corner. She hands me a math compass. I get angry. What am I supposed to do with this thing, I think, I don’t want to share my paper with you, I don’t want your guidance, there is no together here, go away from my paper, you scare me, you smell funny and on top of that you are afraid of me, even though you say you’re not. Don’t give me a weapon, I say, because I use it. She startles. I say: remove the math compass, or I will stab you.’
‘I am here..’
‘If I had it my way, I would have drawn a square head, square eyes, a triangle nose and a cross for the mouth. Two triangles for the ears. Nice and abstract. Done. But I am so angry, Daddy, I want to not be here! I feel like a monster, I feel like I have felt my whole life, I feel mud gushing through my blood, I am choking!’
‘This is old, sweety. Remember that I said behold I make everything new?’
‘What if I can’t Daddy? What if the drawing resembles nosheep, Daddy? What if it isn’t good? Not good enough? What if I understood the assignment wrong? What if I take too long? What if I don’t belong..’
‘What is it that you would like to start with?’
‘The mouth. A closed mouth. Is that allowed? Just a mouth? Can I just finish drawing a person by only showing his mouth and that closed? And then we’ll see?’
‘I love you, My daughter, and I am immähnsly proud of you.’