“An Artist’s Haven.” Fiction. Based on a True Room of My Own.

“Golden painted stars from every direction reflect the golden painted light seeping into the nostalgic haven of an artist.”

-Starry Teller

“An Artist’s Haven”

Fiction. Based on a True Room of My Own.

By McKenna Themm

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.

Golden hour sunlight pours through white and black toile curtains, continuing to fade the finish on the old upright piano. Antique sheet music lies strewn about on the floor, casting a glare when looked at from a certain angle. Handwritten notations of piano compositions rest on the bench which is pulled away from the piano, near the wall. Paintings decorate the walls surrounding the piano, a happy chorus of acrylic and oil scenes.

Silhouettes of birds and trees tell a story from right to left, from bottom to top. The wall adjacent the piano displays the largest piece of artwork—clouds and shadowy leaves surrounding two sisters leaning on branches of a great oak tree, pointing up at the stars. An artist’s embodiment of wonder fits within three feet by four feet.

The large painting reflects itself in the mirror atop an antique writing desk across the room. One particular drawer of the writing desk—the top left one—is filled Polaroid pictures, movie ticket stubs, the remains of a ring-pop, a birthday card with the word “Lovely” on the front, and photographs of two people who fell in love with each other despite the odds that were against them. Atop the desk, Plato’s Collected Dialogues, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince, and other works of literature form a line extending halfway across the desk.

Other favorites—about seventy-five novels, plays, tragedies, and compilations of poems—take their place behind the glass doors of the antique cherry wood bookshelf beside the desk. The three rows of bookshelves also find themselves home to framed portraits, a memory box, old letters, 5 wooden music boxes of various sizes, painted pottery, a jewelry box, childhood notebooks filled with stories, nice leather-bound notebooks burgeoning with words in blue pen, a jar of foreign coins, a jar of U.S. coins—supposedly a grown up piggy bank, a special edition of Anne of Green Gables, a grandmother’s final gift, the remains of a marble collection, and postcards of Impressionist paintings.

Though large, the bookshelf does not conceal the life-size posters of Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” or Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” hanging on the wall behind it. Even if the bookshelf covered the latter poster, the oil painting of Van Gogh’s masterpiece hangs upon the opposite wall—the one betwixt the piano and desk—above the bed.

The painting also manifests itself upon a hand-painted purse hanging near the closet, inside the closet on a hand-painted jean jacket, and right outside the closet on a hand-painted college graduation cap.

Golden painted stars from every direction reflect the golden painted light seeping into the nostalgic haven of an artist.

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