“What’s dangerous about writing?”  I pose this question to my husband, who gives me a half grin.  “Paper cuts!”  I roll my eyes and say I want something serious.  He leans back, purses his lips and looks at the ceiling.  “Lets see… there’s exposure to criticism, writing something risque or unpopular, and discovering things you would rather hide from yourself… ”  All good points, and all well taken.

I think of taking risks in artistic endeavors and a painting comes to mind…

A  Painting I’ll Never Forget

It was red tempera on a long length of coarse butcher paper.  The artist had stripped and slathered his nakedness with thick paint—smeared his arms, legs, torso and hard member—then pressed his wet body against the drawn out scroll.

The painting was prepared in response to a personals ad placed by a masseuse—a friend of a friend—who I met one day, in the late ‘80’s, when I tagged along with my friend and we stopped by the masseuse’s  Capital Hill Apartment.  The picture was framed and hung on a prominent living room wall.

She placed the ad as a joke.  “I always wondered what the responses to personals look like” so she bought a few lines in The Weekly.  “Massage Therapist seeks something more than skin deep.”

Closer inspection of the piece revealed that after pressing his body against the paper, the artist smeared a finger through the paint to trace a note saying he had read the ad and was interested in meeting her sometime, to discuss literature, perhaps over coffee.

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Check here to see how Jeanne is navigating the dangers of writing.