Last Fall, two university colleagues and I reconnected reminiscing of some creative projects we’d done together that involved writing and design. Those memories of creative productivity sparked an idea for another collaboration. What if, we chose an art one of us had created and then all three would do creative writing in response to that art piece. What might emerge? Let’s try it, we decided. What emerged was three distinct and humorous pieces in response to the art piece made by one of us. We hope to continue this process and perhaps publish our pieces together with the art, someday. In the meantime, I am positing my piece here. I had not understood the creative possibilities of connecting to a piece of at and letting the writing flow. Throughly enjoyed the exuberance of powerful ideas intertwined with deep meaning that emerged for me seemingly from nowhere, and asserted how I really feel about some things. And the presence of humor in connection to serious topics – essential! I plan to do more of this kind of writing on my own and with my colleagues. In the meantime hope you enjoy this writing below!
At the Fair
The Board Chair of the Inflatable Plastics Association, Inc. beamed as he called the board meeting to order. “It’s been a good year for us,” he said. “Case in point, our success at the 2018 Minnesota State Fair!”
“In fact,” he continued, pointing to a projection on the large screen in the room, “this art piece appeared overnight on one of the State Fair buildings. They think it’s made by the famous artist Brentsy. No one has seen Brentsy but his (or is it her?) art shows up in strange places as a “social commentary.” Skilled artist, no doubt. Look how well he shows scores of our Inflatoys, dominating the crowd.”
“Anyway, it’s a good thing that Plastics R Us approached us two years ago for that partnership – we were running out of options. How many sports inflatable buildings can one sell after all? Get into the kids toys market and the possibilities are endless!”
“Thirty stalls at the State Fair, no less.” His face clouded for a moment. “Remember last year when those three Green Peace activists showed up at the Fair and leaped from stall to stall puncturing our Inflatoys? Thugs! Good thing that the police were on top of it – a few quick arrests and some 20-year sentences and they’re out. Well, this year they’re out of business anyway – I hear they’re ‘grieving’ after the latest report by that bunch of IPCC scientists saying the world’s coming to an end in 10 years. Wimps!”
“Two million people at the State Fair this year! Listen, I have a dream – there will be a day at the Minnesota State Fair when every person young, old, able or disabled, rich or poor, will buy one of our Inflatoys. In rain or sunshine the sweltering crowds will be united by the joyous, heady, sweet, smell of plastic, inflated, and we will hear the sound of cash flowing into our bank accounts. Get busy, ladies and gentlemen, we have work to do!”
For the nth time, Jake checked his cellphone. It was an hour since his boys had texted. He’d last seen them 2 hours ago when they’d saddled him with three Inflatoys they had won in one of the games – Hoot, Pikachu & Horsy. Then, they darted away towards the rides.
Of course, he’d tried calling and texting them but as any parent of a teenager knows the phone falls silent and is a one-way gadget until the child chooses to respond. So much for parental control, sigh.
Coming to the State Fair always made Jake nostalgic for the old times, when they were a whole family. Josie was still with them before she had left to seek truth and find her purpose as a yogi in India. Damn Liz Gilbert and Julia Roberts! It was hard being a single dad, but he did the best he could, and the boys were good kids except, of course, when they weren’t.
“Time’s going to fly, I know,” he mused. “In a few years, they’ll be grown and gone and then what?” Well, he thought, I’ll still have Hoot, Pickachu and Horsy and the roomful of inflatables at home collected over each year’s visit to the State Fair. He brightened up remembering inflatable plastic is almost eternal and he hugged the toys just a little tighter.