I was a painter before I was a writer. In highschool, my best friend called me Mucko because of my tendency to trip into English class with paint or clay all over my clothes. I was always rushed, always dirty, always popping in and out of the art room.
I painted and painted. I thought in colors and lines.
Then I got busy with life that was surprising to me, I had babies, I lived in tiny spaces, and I didn't have room to paint. I started to write because it could be done in a small space in tiny increments of time. Over the years I've picked it up now and again, only to move to another house with no space to paint, or to put everything into a backpack again.
I can't tell you the longing I've felt in art stores. It's akin to loss, this longing, and in the past years it's grown into resignation, like the way I might feel about a beautiful story I heard once, one that I'll never hear again. In the fall I met an artist and was caught with a rush of jealousy for her quiet, painterly life. I look at the fullness of my own life and am blessed beyond measure, but still, there is this wondering, playful part of me that is never filled, since I have stopped painting.
I couldn't get past that obstacle, the thought in my mind, I don't do this anymore.
Until I did. This past week. And it's like a secret joy in my heart, a song I hear all day long. I have a painting that I'm working on, I have the smell of turpentine in my life, oil paint on my hands. I can go and work when I want to a few minutes at a time. The door has been thrown open. I'm full of ideas, I'm scrolling through paintings on the internet, admiring techniques, I'm seeing in colors and lines again, instead of only words. I'm throwing paint at the canvas again, instead of only wishing I was, instead of only dreaming about it, casting jealous looks at people with colors under their fingernails. And I love this, I think. I love painting more than eating, more than rain on the roof, more than pulling weeds, almost more than anything.