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An Excerpt from My Memoir: The Center of the Universe

December 21, 2008

The Center of the Universe: A Memoir of Change by Nick Drapeau

Introduction: Grandfather, have you ever known conclusions?

My Grandfather’s wife, maiden of mystery, will paint and never really finish.

Oh, this breast to the left. Yes, yes that’s the one. It needs a brake light. The brake light needs to be wired behind the painting. It needs to blink. She needs to look away. Everything needs to be naked.

She didn’t actually say this. Grandma never talked about her paintings. Partly, I’m sure, because I knew better than to ask her. She carried a sword constantly unsheathed inside her heart. Despite what you may think about carrying such a dangerous weapon like that around in so vulnerable a place, I must say you don’t know my Grandmother. If you speak, speak carefully and with purpose. Exist or be cut to shreds.

Oh this painting is just so… great! Let me take a picture of it on my cell phone.

Coming and going. Talking of Michelangelo. Grandma’s sword will be yielded in an artist’s rage. The superficial stubble on the face of beauty will be cut off. Removed. Made pure.

There is a grace to her fury. A weakness to her power. She is perfect for my Grandfather.

Her paintings are always in process. Stacks upon stacks rest with each other in the corner of her studio; some wrapped in paper, others exposed. I asked her if I could have one someday.

No, no, no. Not yet. They aren’t finished.

But Grandma, since I was little I would flip through these paintings, giggling at the naked ones, fearing the pig mask sculptures. How can you say they’re not finished?

I paint something, and then put it away for five years. After that I’ll take the painting out again and work on it. Once I’m done, I’ll put it away for another few years.

I couldn’t ask her. No, I let it stop right there. I couldn’t say, Have you ever finished a painting? For surely that would bring out the sword. No, instead I must feel what this means. To always be in process.

To have no conclusions.

I think the reason why I’ve started writing this sloppy work is because I feel like there is one coming. And it scares the hell out of me.

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The Center of the Universe: A Memoir of Change by Nick Drapeau is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.
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