About the image:
It’s The Corinthian Maid, circa 1783-84, by Joseph Wright. I found this on one of my many frequent visits to the National Gallery of Art while assigned to the Money section at USA Today.
Sometimes, she seems to be drawing ideas out of me.
Sometimes, she seems to be using the implement to insert ideas into my brain.
Dumbledore comes to mind as I consider how she, using the skills described here, might pull out ideas that could be useful, but just not right now. Like Dumbledore’s magical pensieve, I hope she tucks them away safely where I might rediscover them where time is nigh.
The TRUTH of this painting, I eventually learned, is that it depicts a lady tracing her lover’s image on the wall before he goes off to war.
But, as such, this painting is not a single frozen moment in time.
It is a doorway. A portal.
My muse gives me a nudge by asking:
“What happens next?”
“What is their story?”
“Did he come home safely?”
And with those and other questions my muse throws at me there arises a tempest of possible plots and subplots, story arcs and character arcs, scenes and themes.
And so, in the end, the painting means all the things I wanted it to mean and more.