Before I had children, I used to make cards. Bundles of cards. Most of them were traced, my artistic ability only extending so far, in a mass-produced sort of way. The creation of them, possibly due to the mindlessness of mass production once you get so far into the process, always felt a bit cathartic, meditative. Two children later, I found myself snagging pretty thank you notes and stationary from stores, the new goal simply finding a few moments to jot down some thoughts and get the correspondence in the mail.
Tonight, I sat surrounded by a collection of acrylic paint, brushes, plain stationary, and a list of names of friends I've been thinking of lately. To my right was the hum of the dryer and the rumble of the mixer shifting flour, sugar, and butter into cookie dough. To my left were the sounds of the NFL draft and my husband's commentary. In the middle - the kitchen table and cool blue brush strokes on heavy paper. A moment of still. Quiet. Dip, blot, repeat. Occasionally, my thoughts wandered. A comment from a sports announcer would catch my ear and I'd find myself reminded of the animal auction at the 4-H fair when I sold my meat pen of rabbits. Poor boys. My brush would touch down awkwardly on paper and I would catch myself considering that had I been born Japanese, I would have most likely failed character drawing class. I would pause, drop more flour into the mixer (after thoroughly washing my hands), and return to the paint. A list of treasured names. Blank paper just waiting. A moment of smooth, calm rhythm - dip, blot, repeat - inside a lighted buzzing house.