"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Friday, August 21, 2009

From a favorite former student, a writer

The following essay is by Jimmy Epperson, now working in PR in Big D. He is another Hemingway. His father, Jim Epperson is a long time friend, a UCO alum, who many years ago started a weekly newspaper, The Stephens County Star, just north of where I published The Waurika News-Democrat. The paper lasted only a few months, but it was full of vim, vigor, passion and irreverence that I admired...the kind of journalism that matters. His son Jimmy has that passion.

From Jimmy:

I went to the art museum today... as I always do at lunch. I leave the 34-story office and buy a hot dog from a street vendor with a yellow umbrella. By the time I reach the cold museum the boiling dog has already been gobbled up...burning the insides of my chest. Then I get a vanilla coke and wander around.

Today, I discovered a new wing of the museum. And while I browsed I saw a painting called, “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” It was a large painting of a woman’s face... distorted with anguish.

Suddenly, like a flash of lightning, I was in your class learning about impressions. I was crying at the Kimbell and I had just seen my first Francis Bacon painting. I was riding my bike on campus seeing the reflections of break lights on stop signs. I saw moonlight through the blinds from a girlfriend's bed. I saw the water tower reflecting horizontal sunlight. And I remembered Hemingway talking about the museum when he was hungry.

In the same flash... in the same instance... I remembered that we are supposed to write just as Cezanne painted… by the light reflecting off objects.

And then I wondered that question that always haunts me... Why am I not writing? Why do I stare at light that reflects off a computer screen on the 34th floor of this building all day?

I realized I am still sick with that poor man disease. I remembered that I am still a writer.

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