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  • Writer's pictureWendy Elizabeth

Lives Well Lived

I used to date someone who would recite Shakespeare to me during dinner. It sounds silly now, but what I loved was that he was so passionate in his telling. He loved to say the words out-loud, and he never tired of sharing them. Of course, I didn’t always want sonnets with my chicken, but that didn’t  seem to bother me at the time. Apparently, as someone who is not very bold, I sometimes lean towards people who are. Maybe they say what I am thinking, or maybe they give me the opportunity to hear Macbeth when I least expect it, whatever the reason, I know that I am drawn towards expressive people.

Rosa Maria Thummel was an expressive artist. A couple of months ago, her son, whom I had spoken with before, very kindly, wrote to let me know that she had passed away. Although I had never met her, I was sad to hear of her death. One of her paintings had come into my life many years ago; a woman in red who looks solemn, ladylike and brave (a pretty accurate representation of how I was feeling at the time). After I bought it, I wrote to thank Rosa, and although she was no longer painting, I was glad to learn that she was still happy and enjoying life with her family. Vibrant until the end, I loved that she did not bow to convention and compromise her style; her soulful portraits were unique, colorful and bold, the dark lines filled with personality.

On the other side of the artistic scale was Edward Gorey; known for his quirky, macabre sketches, most people probably know his work more than they do his name. Although his art was lacking in color, and his detailed drawings often very small, his life was filled with bold eccentricities.

Recently, I was delighted to find that his former home had been turned into a Museum. Set in a picturesque town on Cape Cod, I have to admit, that from the road the home appeared very underwhelming. Until I stepped inside. Words cannot describe the creativity that consumed this man’s life. He was unstoppable in his expression, and I don’t even know how he had the time to do as much as he did; envelopes were painstakingly decorated with complicated scenes before sending, bizarre creatures were twisted out of wire and clothed in household debris, body parts were sewn (stuffed) and sculpted, and creepy alphabet poems were written on his porch, at night, with a gigantic stuffed bear sitting by his side. His art may not have been for everyone, and he never tried to impress, all he did was create.

When I see people like these three, I ache with admiration. To know your passion, and follow it loudly, regardless, is a gift (and a lesson). We say we don’t know what we love, what makes us tick, or incites rebellion, but I think we do really. Sometimes, what we know is as tiny as an appreciation of a Fall day;  we fail to recognize it as being important enough, when really it might be all that we need. It doesn’t matter who listens to our stories, or how many awards we get, as long as we understand what makes us truly happy. If we celebrate what we love, unapologetically, we will win, and our lives will be well-lived.

p.s. I preferred my chicken without Macbeth 🙂

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