Patient: Louise Swanson
My Name is Louise Swanson. I’m getting close to thirty. If you ask me, thirty is as old as you can get, like one of those Nolan books… Logan’s Run, wasn’t it? My “light” is flashing and my time is up. I might as well forget that masterpiece I was attempting. Don’t you think thirty’s old? Jacob doesn’t think so. He says the only time jealousy shows up in our relationship is when I get carded at bars… Masterpiece… Who am I kidding? I haven’t been able to paint an honest emotion in ages.
I’ve lost a lot of weight lately, I haven’t been exercising or anything special like that, I just haven’t had much of an appetite. Don’t get me mistaken with those carbon-copy, enquirer lip-sinking bitches you see on the music channels. I’m not anorexic or bulimic or anything peculiar like that, I’m just not hungry. I feel like when I am most creative the rest of me kinda takes the back seat. Does that make sense?
Funny story… one time I spent two days in my studio. I was inspired by a dream I had of Icarus falling into the water. In my dream, Icarus had just achieved what no man was able to do and flew with birds. He cut through the sky on wings made from feathers and wax. In my painting, Icarus, on top of the world, intoxicated by flight has realized the only place he can go now is down and hard. You would call that a moment of clarity, I’m almost positive about that. The image of the picture hit me harder than a man from Athens breaking the ocean’s surface after being suspended in the air, dancing at the feet of gods. I saw the picture from the sun’s point of view.
Anyways I got really excited and had to paint. The idea of waiting until morning made me nauseous. I’m always worried I’ll forget my ideas. I threw on my slippers and locked myself in the studio, I wouldn’t even let Jacob in. 48 hours later I opened the door to the studio. Jacob was waiting in a lawn chair with a book on his lap and a cup of coffee in his hand. (My studio is in the backyard.) He said I looked like Doc from Back to the Future after he stepped out of the Dolorian for the first time. My hair was saturated with orange and blue acrylic. Look at my hair, it’s long and dark so you can pretty much imagine the mop I was producing after my sabbatical. Somehow my arms acquired bruises-I don’t remember how-I never do. Needless to say, my clothes looked like they were brought in from war trenches simulated by a confederate paintball league. I was never considered a clotheshorse; most of my wardrobe was owned by someone else before.
Jacob handed me the cup of coffee. I thought he was going to be furious with me, mad that I wouldn’t leave my studio. He was so calm, he said, “Good morning, I whipped up a stack of flapjacks. You’ve got to be hungry, busy-bee.” Jacob supports my art. I remembered he asked if he could see what I had painted. He asked it in a concerned tone, I hate that tone, it sounds like expectations and doubt. I think I really hurt his feelings when I told him I destroyed the painting. I drank some coffee and left the pancakes.
(The answers from Miss Swanson’s therapy session were recorded by Dr. Calvin and edited together by Dr. Graham.)