Tall Tales: Three Faces of Frustration

Three Faces of Frustration

This rug is good. It keeps me centered, gives me a point of focus. I’d like it better if it were round, but Target only carried the ovals. I know I should buy from a local store, but doesn’t this look handmade? They’re so good at replication now. No wonder our jobs go to China.

I study this rug when I’m stuck on a piece, as though the floor might talk. But the floor remains neutral when it comes to inspiration. Walls are better for that. Very opinionated, my walls. They definitely speak when I’ve failed. I’ve found them less generous in doling out praise. Walls can be fickle, you know.

I fail a little too often, which gives the walls something to do. When they become critical, I stare at the rug. Its silence allows me to think. I trace the spiral pattern from the outer edge to its tiny, central knot. Then I coil my way back out again, like Dorothy on her way to Oz. This offers a kind of mental release. Some people call it meditation. To me, it’s more like cleaning the house. I sweep the dust bunnies out of my mind to make room for better things.

Sometimes this exercise works really well, and the images start to flow. Then I neglect the rug for a while. I wonder if it feels used? It’s cruel of me to give it attention only when I am lost, only when I need something from it, and when I’m in a foul mood. What kind of relationship is that? Awfully one-sided, it seems. I wouldn’t take such abuse myself. But then again, I’m not a rug.

I could be nicer to the poor little thing, maybe wash it once in a while. I’ve painted my studio walls a few times, yet they never cease to complain. I wonder if a fancier rug would lessen my frustration? Not that I don’t like the quaint, crafty look; it makes me feel at home.

I’m probably deflecting responsibility away from where it lies. I can’t blame a rug for all of my faults. May as well blame my pen. This whirl of woven fabric has been kind to humor me. I recommend getting one of your own. At $4.99, it’s a bargain.

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Writing: Mary Kalin-Casey
Drawing: John Casey

1 Response to “Tall Tales: Three Faces of Frustration”


  1. 1 christanimm October 19, 2011 at 9:34 am

    I enjoyed this entry, but in reference to your fears for your rug:

    I don’t think it worries about the use or abuse you put into it; it’s used to being walked on.


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