Monday, November 17, 2008

The Incredible Instrument


One day while walking along the river Carol stopped to watch an artist teach some students. As the artist held up a brush the metal part caught the sun and flashed for a second. At that instant Carol decided that she would become an artist.
But Carol didn't listen to what the artist said. "This brush is my friend. I have created many great paintings with this." Green evergreens and blue fading mountains appeared as if by magic. "I studied for forty years to learn how to create a masterpiece in five minutes. Practice."
Carol didn't hear a thing. "If I only had a brush like that I could be a great artist." So Carol bought an expensive brush, some canvas and some paint and went to the river to create a masterpiece. After staring at the blank canvas for an hour Carol scratched her head.
After some time she put some yellow, red and blue on the canvas and her canvas became muddy brown. The more she painted the more ugly the painting became. Carol mopped her brow and muddied her forehead.
Finally she threw up her hands and said, "This isn't a very good brush." With that she threw the brush in the river.
Walking by the river again a few days later Carol stopped at a scenic overlook and trained some binoculars on a poet who was sitting on the riverbank writing. A golden pen caught the light and flashed for a second, as did sparkles of light in the river.
Carol watched as poem after poem filled a blank book. She didn't see that the poet was copying the poems from a dog-eared notebook that was filled with corrections. "If I only had a golden pen," Carol said to herself, "I could write brilliantly."
The next day Carol bought a golden pen and a blank book. She went down to the river to write some poetry. Carol contemplated for many hours with her hand poised over the paper awaiting her muse. The pen was held in one position so long that a spider climbed up and started spinning a web. "I might as well let the river write poems." With that she threw the pen in the water.
Strolling along the river again Carol happened upon a thin girl sitting on a branch over the river playing a flute. The sun flashed in the silver flute.” If I only had a silver flute I could play beautiful music."
Carol went to the music store to buy a flute. The clerk told her that a woman had just bought a grand piano to become a great piano player, and gave up after one week. He suggested starting with a penny whistle. But Carol insisted on the finest flute.
All day long Carol practiced on her new flute. At the end of the day she had learned ‘You are my Sunshine.' But then the people just shook their heads. Carol got discouraged and threw her flute towards the river, but it got caught in a tree.
"I guess I better take it down before someone gets bopped in the head," she said. She climbed the tree to get it and happened to see a mime artist just over the hill. Carol went over and talked to the mime. She told him about her brush with art, her pen and sadly showed him the flute.
"Looks like you want to be an artist without working on it," the mime said, "Let me tell you a secret. The human body is the finest instrument ever made. If you practice enough you can make people laugh or cry. Why don't you try mime?"
Carol nodded her head. She realized now that she already possessed an incredible instrument. All she needed was a good teacher and a lot of practice.


It was a short walk down to Wrecked Beach near UBC to get to where the people with nothing on were. On the way I explored some abandoned WW2 bunkers with graffiti in them, through the bunkers' opening people were playing Frisbee on the beach; I threw a few shots with them. One of the squatters on the beach had a bright red painted violin. I asked if I could play it, it being a long time since I had played my green nickel guitar. I sat in the sand and taught myself “You Are My Sunshine.” People passed by as I struggled over and over to get the notes. As soon as I completed the song correctly — one time — I went to the beach and sat down.
Some people smiled at me, having heard me struggle with the song. I came to some people I recognized from the hostel, and sat with them in the sand. A man named George with red hair and extremely fair skin was doing calisthenics with his mouth and tongue because he wanted to be a disk jockey. As the day progressed under the pure blue sky Mr. Chameleon — that's how I remember him — turned bright red, except for his tongue. I found a quarter in the sand and put in my pocket.

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