My Fair Lady

Fresco_showing_a_woman_so-called_Sappho_holding_writing_implements,_from_Pompeii,_Naples_National_Archaeological_Museum_(14842101892)My dear and lovely lady, what were you thinking as the gifted portraitist lifted his brush? Centuries after he rendered your fair countenance on that wet plastered Pompeii wall, I see you, and wonder at your hesitance. You are a writer, contemplating . . . something.

Are you uncertain?

But, as a writer, that’s to be expected of you, yes? Uncertainty niggles: the perpetual itch we writers can not scratch; the incessant whispers: What shall we write? Who might read it? What will they think of our stories? Of us? Is our writing good? Is it good enough? Uncertainty shadows the path we’ve taken, not knowing where it leads or to what end.

You are uncertain, maybe. Thoughtful, for sure. What were you thinking, you who breathed so many centuries ago? I imagine you had dreams and aspirations to be a writer. To write. Were you successful? Did your ideas, your words, find their way from heart to mind to hand; and if they did, have they survived the weary trek across millennia, as has your lovely portrait? Or were they, and you, lost to the ages or worse, did Mount Vesuvius cause your death and lay your ashen shroud?

Perish the thought, my lady! I truly hope your life was happy, long, and full. I hope you found your muse and realized your dreams. I hope your words were written and read, well-received and long remembered. Perhaps they’ve found their way to us, as you have.

I hope. Because one never knows when quiet dreams will bear fruit, make an impression. Two thousand years you sat before an artist in contemplation. Perhaps uncertain, wondering: What shall I write, who will read it, will it matter?

And now, a fellow writer sits before you, bearing witness. Even as she wonders the same.

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9 thoughts on “My Fair Lady

  1. I’ve never seen this fresco before, how lovely!

    And your thoughts…oh, I know those thoughts. “Who will read it? WILL people read it? Does it matter?” I mean, it matters to me, obviously, or I wouldn’t do it. But…yeah.

    • Questions for the ages, for those who dare to take pen to paper, or brush to canvas, clay to form, foot to stage. . .

      We do what we can, what we must. But in the quiet, we have to wonder if anyone is out there, if anybody cares. And if we’re lucky, Jen, we’ll have our answers. In spades.

      xoxo kk

  2. Unfortunately my mind immediately went to the macabre. What if she was one of those huddled bodies encased in lava, her pen and little book cradled in her arms for protection as a mother might cradle her child ? Such thinking gave the picture a painful poignancy. I once saw a photo of a silver goblet unearthed from an ancient Etruscan grave with the name ‘Larthia’ engraved on it. It began a whole train of thought about her that has stayed with me to this day. Maybe I’ll write about her one day.

    • I am hoping she wasn’t a casualty of that nightmare. I’ve been to Pompeii and you are right, the bodies . . . I can’t imagine. What made it real to me were the ruts in the cobbled roads from carriage wheels, and the slight dips in the middle of marble benches from countless people sitting there.

      Maybe you will write about Larthia some day. It would be a nice testament to her, I think.

      xo kk

      • Possibly sooner rather than later. You’ve made me consider including her in my current WIP set in ancient Babylon. The Etruscans had dealings with the Babylonians during the period and I may have found a way to slip her into the story. Thanks!

  3. I enjoyed this a lot. My publisher just went dormant, putting my books out of print. Now’s a time to ponder—and just write for the fun of it. My next direction will come when the time’s right. I know what to write, my heart. But who will read it? Will it matter?

    • I had to write. Something. Take a breather. Take a breath. So I went looking for inspiration and found her. I wrote for me, but felt a kinship with another writer, another time.

      It does matter, lucie. We write for so many different reasons. I know my second novel–the one that started this journey for real–was written for me. I had to get it OUT. My novels since then have been written with a secondary purpose in mind: publication, hoping others read them one day, are moved by them in some way, as I have been.

      But my primary purpose hasn’t wavered: I write for me. Is it out of duty, a sense of obligation, to fulfill some need? Who can say? But I do know that when I complete a novel, I know I have accomplished something greater than myself, and that matters. It has to matter. So we always have that, lucie.

      I wish you all the best with your writing, as always.

      xo kk

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