Clarissa McFairy and Jim Doran

Jim Doran
Inspiration piece

Botticelli Blues
By Clarissa McFairy


Alessandra, Venus here!  I am hanging at a tilt, from tapping you so many messages through the wall.  Do you hear me?  You did say one could send Morse even by blinking ones eyes!

You were wise to move next door.  He is still yelling, telling you where you can put your birthday gift.   How dare he talk of me thus.  O fie, I can see his tonsils when he yells.  His eyes are scrunched so tight, he didn’t even see you flee the apartment.   You left your art box on the table?   And ME on the wall.

If only you had left me in the attic.  Ofcourse I would rather be hanging in the Uffizi, beside the celebrated “Birth of Venus”.   I often wonder why your famous forefather painted two of us.  I became a family secret, an unsung heirloom.  Poets wove dreams around the other Venus, attic spiders spun webs around me.  Am I not a treasure too?  Certainly not a birthday gift for a buffoon.  Could you not have given him cufflinks or a comic book?  He knows NOTHING of art, or of Sandro Botticelli who birthed and breathed life into me.

Botticelli painted me full-grown, as I emerged from the ocean of his imagination.  I can still feel the sea breeze in my hair, taste the salt on my lips.  As for my pearly feet, they are slippered in a shell that whispers to me of the deep.  The waves cloak my shoulders in a fine silver spray.  And the moon is my midnight mantle.

Botticelli’s hand wove these gold tresses that so coyly cover me.  I just wish they could shield my ears from your boyfriend’s wrath.  Now and then, I do raise an eyebrow at his language.  Even Mona Lisa, in The Louvre, would do the same, had she eyebrows to lift.  What good, pray tell, is a mystic smile, without brows.  They are the exclamation marks of the face.  How else would one express joy, surprise, shock, perplexity.

Yes, we do all that!  Paintings acquire an animation over time, become invested with the spirit or essence of their subject matter.  We were sparked by inspiration, a divine spark, as bright as any star that lights the heavens.

Being animate, we are subject to emotions, curiosity being one.   In your own attic is a painting of a woman gazing out upon a moonlit sea.  She once hung in a home, where only her back was visible to the occupants.  Over the years, she began to slowly turn her head, so she could eye them surreptitiously. The wife observed this.  The husband called her “fanciful”.  Men are from Mars, women from Venus.  I can attest to that!

Your boyfriend is definitely from Mars.  He is still ranting.  O fie, what if he sets a match to me, or tosses me out with the garbage.  Even that would be more merciful than death by fire.  He doesn’t have much of a vocab, does he?   I can see that he works out at gym.  All his muscles ripple … with rage.  This emotional bonfire  consumes his entire body.

If only he would turn and behold me.  I am, after all, Venus, goddess of love and beauty, not some pavement special you picked up at a flea market.  I could calm him with my oceanic eyes, tell him one can speak in dulcet tones, just as one paints in soft pastels.  I could tell him of Botticelli and all the great masters.

I could be his Muse, tell him that in a painting, the artist, long departed, returns to visit the viewer; that there are no door knockers, no bells, just a heartstring, silently plucked.  And that the subject of a painting, such as I, Venus, can wander through his senses, however deranged, and light a candle in his heart.


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  1. Posted September 9, 2010 at 12:43 pm | #

    Such an innovative response to a truly unique inspiration! I love Clarissa’s interpretation of Jim’s image.

  2. Posted September 10, 2010 at 9:42 am | #

    Thank you, Annmarie! I am just so happy that Jim put Venus on that wall, and at a tilt, she really saved my bacon. Being a first-time Sparker, I had no idea where to begin. Thanks to Jim for providing such an inspirational piece. His muscle man looked like Fury personified, and there in the background was Love. Such a lovely combo to work with!

  3. Posted September 10, 2010 at 5:43 pm | #

    I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this. The way that painting has a strong personality, the way she rebukes him, the appeals, the lecture, the insights, all made me chuckle at what was actually a torrid situation. Maybe this is a Life-lesson …

  4. Posted September 16, 2010 at 9:16 pm | #

    Wow, Christine, thank you. It was a Life-lesson for me too, in a strange way. It made me realise that no matter how fierce a person or a situation may seem, there is a heartbeat, a place where feeling dwells. One just has to find the point of access in the seemingly inaccessible. And who but the goddess of love to do that!