Proof my friends can irritate me even when they aren’t involved in the conversation.


Full disclosure, I am a really lousy day-to-day sort of friend. I hate phone calls, leaving my house seems like so much effort, and I have no sense of time so if I haven’t seen you in “a while” it could be anywhere between two weeks and a year, and I won’t completely notice. Also, those people who only reach out to you when they need something? Totally me. ‘Cause we are friends and friends can ask each other for stuff. So after four years or silence, I might reach out with a request. It never occurs to me that it is rude until after I have done it.

Fortunately, most of my friends also completely suck at it. 90% of all my friend interactions go something like this:

“It has been FOREVER. We should get together. “
“We totally should!”
“When are you free?”
“I’m not sure. I’ll check my calendar and get back to you.”
And then silence on both sides for months to years until repeated.

That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t think of all the people I know often. And sometimes those thoughts turn into art. Sometimes it is good art, sometimes it is more than a little questionable, and sometimes I lose all perspective.  

This one is just annoying me.

When the pandemic started, I turned some of those thoughts into the Patchwork Memory series, since flowers feature so strongly in my friends’ lives.  Of all eight of them, the only one I don’t like is the one I did for my friend Amy:

It isn’t that it isn’t totally fine, but it always annoys me because I think of Amy in deep, rich purples, and the tulips are pink. Reason being, that is the colors of the tulips we would see when we walked on lunch breaks when we worked together eons ago. Which was the point, but it doesn’t match up with how I see her in my head.

I was going through some old photos and came across one of her that completely caught my attention, and I thought, yes! I will fix this and make art. I had wanted to do one of my ink pieces, like I had done for another friend:

Mixed media 8 x 10

However, I always forget that I have an 80% failure rate with my ink pieces. Several attempts in, these were the only two that weren’t a complete mess, and they totally and completely didn’t turn out:

But I really liked the composition, so I switched to acrylic and canvas. It started out okay, but then it zigged instead of zagged. It may be partially due to the fact that I up and decided to paint with my fingers and a palate knife instead of a paintbrush for most of it which I had never done before (and is, by the way, WAY freaking harder than it looks and wreaks complete havoc on a person’s nails. Who knew?), but it is also obvious I wasn’t listening to myself. Even though I could clearly see it wasn’t going along with what was in my head, I kept doggedly going further and further away from that vision. Notice this is not done in purples at all? I don’t know what I was thinking.

Despina, Acrylic on Canvas, Artist Brandi Malarkey,

So now I have this painting, and while it is a little too dark (and yes, I know how to lighten it, but I am not going to. Sometimes you just have to call it, especially when you’ve taken over the kitchen table to do it and your family would occasionally like to use the kitchen for food-related purposes) it is probably FINE, but it totally and completely is NOT the Amy in my head, either. Which had been the whole point. So now each time I pass it I growl and my husband wonders why I make art when it so often makes me cranky.

Amy wasn’t involved in this process in any way, I haven’t seen her in six years, which is probably the last time we had a conversation that involved actual words instead of a picture posted to a timeline on Facebook every few months, but I am pretty convinced she isn’t cooperating, and my irritation is all her fault.

Because that’s logic.    

Friendship at its finest.

Also, completely unrelated, but the Moorhead Friends Writing Group has put out their first anthology and they let me play, too. So I have one very short piece of fiction included. Since I don’t usually write fiction, I have zero idea if it is any good. But that doesn’t matter. I am published, and therefore FAMOUS. You can order it in both digital and paperback options. Any profits will be shared with the Moorhead Public Library.

4 Responses

  1. I see it as rejoicing in Spring… maybe because I have no idea who Amy is. It makes me smile and that is all it needs for me.

    PS… Love your Blog.

  2. I like the last effort. I wouldn’t have called it as Amy, but that does not mean that its not lovely. Hugs! (BTW – we really should get together sometime! lol)

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