Wednesday September 12th, 2012

The exercise:

Share a story which takes place in: the gallery.

The three photograph prints I mailed to my sister arrived safe and sound, and she was kind enough to email me a picture she took once she had them framed:

I'm quite pleased with how they look, especially considering that those are just $10 frames she picked up at Ikea.

Second prenatal class went well tonight. Really connecting with our instructor, and starting to get to know the other three couples as well. Lots of good information and we got to watch a birth video, which was particularly good for me since I hadn't watched one of those since Biology class in grade ten.

My only memory of that video was of me almost throwing up during one rather graphic scene. So, you know, good to get a better association with the whole process.


I walk these silent halls,
My work upon the walls;
I'm feeling like a fake,
Like this is some mistake.

Who let me through the doors?
Did they think I wash the floors?
Soon there will be a shout
And they will throw me out.

But still I am alone,
Unsettled to my bones;
I continue creeping,
Convinced I am sleeping.


Greg said...

The prints look great framed like that, although there's something recursive about a picture of pictures to my mind. I suppose now we need you to take a picture of the picture of the framed pictures and offer it with the other prints to complete the recursion :)
Don't you have any of the prints on your own walls then?
I've always wondered about the notion of showing children videos of birth. It seems a bit... early? Clinical? Not really something for a classroom, more something for the appropriate time. But maybe that's just me.
I really like your poem today, and I can hear your own voice behind the words too. I think your last line needs another syllable though for the metre: perhaps "Convinced that I am sleeping"?

Comments are long today, so I'm going to provide a link for in the gallery instead. It might make your skin crawl again though ;-)

Cathryn Leigh said...

@Greg - didn't you know they show kids videos of giving birth as a methode for encouraging them to NOT get pregnant. *grins* For a certain percentage of the population it works... I never watched them. Just as sure as I am that they showed, I'm as sure I hid my head to ignor them. There are somet hings I'd rather Not see. :}

The Gallery

The gallery upon the ship,
Was not filled with pictures as she'd wished.

Instead it seemed to be a hall,
Like a kitchen tucked into a stall.

And then upon the map she saw,
Galley not GalleRy.

How in the world had she seen a R?

Anonymous said...

Thx for your post, I really enjoy your blog. Long time lurker, first time commenter, you know the drill. I tried to share this one time before, I don’t think it posted correctly…hopefully it will this time!

Marc said...

Greg - nothing of mine on our walls yet, but we're planning on fixing that soon.

And I reckon those videos were just meant to be a tactic to discourage us from having sex until we were fifty or sixty :P

I'll have to save my skin crawling until tomorrow - I'd like to get some sleep tonight :)

Cathryn - hah, well, I'd think most ships could do with a nice gallery! Though I suppose the galley *is* necessary...

Anon - thanks very much, glad you're enjoying it! And do feel free to share some of your writing with us :)

Aholiab said...

The Gallery

I looked at my watch and gave an almost inaudible sigh. Four more hours before quitting time. I slowly rose from the folding chair that I was allowed to use when there were no visitors in my three galleries. My face registered just the slightest hint of resentment toward the nanny coming in with her three charges; just enough to discourage questions about the art, but not enough to make them leave. If they did ask questions, I made sure to never give a wrong answer, but always kept my responses vague.

Ten dollars an hour for ten hours a day made me one of the lowest paid docents in the museum. I never complained, never argued, and never showed any ambition. With my vaguely foreign skin tone, perennially sleepy expression, slow responses and slower walk, everyone assumed that I must be lazy, hiding from the law, hiding from the INS, or just slow-witted.

I wandered behind the woman and the three youngsters to make sure they didn’t touch anything, staying a respectful distance away, but still within hearing range. She was discussing the Monet today, asking questions, correcting their answers. She was knowledgeable and dedicated to instructing the ambassador’s children, but when another nanny entered the same gallery, she gave them drawing paper and instructions on copying the pieces they liked best. She hurried to join the other woman who promptly engaged her own charges in sketching. The women moved to another painting where they could gossip while still watching the activities of the children.

Servants, cleaning ladies, waiters, and docents are practically invisible. Most people don’t even notice them while they discuss their most private thoughts near them. This was my greatest asset for the Agency. Nobody noticed me. I was just there to keep their sticky fingers off the paintings.

I listened to the gossip about the ambassadors, their lovers, their meetings. I almost choked when both women suddenly began speaking Amharic. Neither appeared to be Ethiopian, so when I casually glanced around the gallery, I was not surprised to see the security men who had stepped in. The women continued to freely discuss their bosses while the detail checked the room for monitoring devices.

I looked again at my watch and sighed, this time loudly enough that one of the women mentioned my laziness to her friend. I nodded meekly to the men checking the room for bugs and from their comments to each other in Shtokavian, I learned how little they thought of me, and also what time the ambassadors would be arriving for their private talks. My boss would be very pleased with my next report.

Marc said...

Aholiab - love all the details you've included in this one. Also enjoyed the mysteriousness of it all, and the ability of your narrator to hide in plain sight.

Plus I've often thought that being a museum security guard would be the most boring job on the planet and you've managed to captured a taste of that too.