I spend a lot of time – probably too much time – on Facebook. On the good days, it’s funny, educational, and even enlightening (thanks to links to funny, educational, and enlightening things).

But then there are days like Friday, when the feed is a seemingly never-ending stream of the kind of doom that’s enough to make you want to find Earth 2, which with any luck is nothing like Earth 1 (if we even are Earth 1…).

Friday’s Facebook feed:

photo 1

I don’t eat McDonald’s hamburgers, anymore (I’m no snob – I’d lunge at a Big Mac every now and then if I still ate cow), but this is still, “Aw, man.”

photo 1(2)

“Don’t enjoy your summer fun without a healthy dose of fear!” is what this says to me. (I did not “see why.” I don’t have a pool.)

photo 2

Great. As if oil isn’t already causing enough problems.

photo 3(1)

I love cats. I have cats. Three. Which is why I’ve seen what certain cats do when they hear screaming, no matter who is screaming or why. Sampson, our new saved stray, is strong and tall and solid. When Sampson lunges at Simon to tackle him, Simon is on his back and yowling before the first Sampson-paw touches him, and within seconds Hoser bulldozes in and chooses one of them to chase away and invariably bite somewhere on the back or neck. This is just instinct.

I’m not saying animals don’t love their humans. But this cat is not a hero. This cat is a cat reacting to some screaming, which worked out well for the little boy.

It is not a special cat.

(MY cats are special cats, though.)

photo 1(1)

Is nowhere safe?

photo 3(2)

There is apparently no limit to bad news.

photo 4

That f*cking cat again.

photo 2(2)

I don’t have a publisher and she does. And hers loves her.

I was just giving up on Facebook when I saw this, and I thought I might continue scrolling for a while.


But then came this:

photo 2(1)

Poor cat!

It was definitely time to paint, to step away from real-world sludge.

Outside of escape and fun – even without an expectation of ever being anything but terrible – there are still challenges, things to be learned. Which are a drag to learn when canvases cost $10 or more each, but they’ll ostensibly be useful later in efforts to suck a little less (even though sucking is fine, FINE!).

Learned during painting session 2: not allowing time for paint to dry before applying more paint, or being an impatient brush wielder, results in a big blob that doesn’t remotely resemble the week-long image you had in your head of what you would paint when the weekend finally arrived.

You may also end up with more pink tones than you would otherwise choose (and you would choose none, because you do not like pink).

I call it “Fall Rain.”

You might call it somethings else.

Once again, supremely fun to make. Tools used (aside from a round brush): plastic palette knife; a large nut (a nuts-and-bolts nut); a 9mm hollow point; one of those plastic things used to hold wire tips together; and a tiny allen wrench.

fall rain

I had such a good time that I was back in there this morning, Joni Mitchell station playing on Pandora (which frankly has a little too much James Taylor for my taste), cat ridiculously comfortable on two of the softest blankets we own, and a burlap canvas clean and waiting.


I’ve passed this building on my way to work every day for two years, now. It’s abandoned, and on sun-cloud days it’s such a brilliant white that it grays the grays and greens the greens. (I’m also simply attracted to the fact that it’s abandoned.)


I couldn’t wait until next week to create my own version. It had to be now.

Here, Sampson sits in my chair, in-progress “Abandoned” behind him. Were he not there, I probably would have tried to make the tree leaves before the tree itself was dry. (As you can see from the tree, making narrow lines on burlap is hardly possible. If there’s a trick, I didn’t learn it today.)


What I did learn: burlap sucks up a lot of paint.

Also learned: from artist Michael Justino Michaud, the fun to be had with circles.


That this took six hours goes to show how critical it is to not care about quality, or those six hours (SIX. HOURS.) would be a huge loss of weekend time to lament.

Instead, I spent six hours not worrying or thinking about anything but color and how to not touch the canvas while one or another layer of paint dried. Not meat filler, not cats on pedestals, not rivers of oil, not the book I should be editing, not the hundreds of little maple tree sprouts taking over the decorative mulchy areas of the yard, not how tasty a Big Mac would be even if it is filled with filler…


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About Kris Tsetsi

Kristen J. Tsetsi is the author of the novels "Pretty Much True..." and "The Year of Dan Palace" and the short fiction collection "20 Short Stories," all published under the name Chris Jane. Website: http://kristenjtsetsi.com




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