Our Town

I am not an innovator but a rediscoverer of forgotten goods and I hope a remover of obtrusive bric-a-brac.

Thornton Wilder

On the third of July, I inadvertently picked up a copy of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and began reading.  By the time I was on the third page of the play, I had forgotten the fortuitous nature of my picking up the book.  I have such deep feelings as I read this play over the Fourth of July holiday.  I have never considered myself patriotic, but I have always had a warm place in my heart for small-town America.  I grew up in High Ridge, a highway town southwest of St. Louis that never possessed its own significance, like Nazareth to Jerusalem.   And throughout my pilgrimage on this earth, I lived frequently in small towns–Queen City, Missouri and Ponder, Texas.  Though I now live in the largest city in the U. S. without mass transit (they are proud of that), my creative aspirations still go back to the small towns where I lived out significant years in my life.

The watercolor I have posted was completed in 1999 and titled “Turvey’s Corner” (no such place).  It was to be the first of a series called “My Town, 63050.”  The zip code is fictitious, lying between the zip codes of High Ridge (63049) and House Springs, four miles down Highway 30 (63051).  I had this notion that I would create an environment for stories and paintings.  Garrison Keillor has his Lake Wobegon, Sherwood Anderson had his Winesburg and Thornton Wilder his Grover’s Corners.  I had planned on a series of watercolors and short stories.  I abandoned the project after about six paintings (because all six sold rather quickly), and living in the predigital age, I could no longer look at the collection before me (currently I have lifted the images of them from 35mm Kodachrome slides I made with my film camera before selling).  From time to time, I think about returning to the series and creating more paintings of this fictitious town and stories of its citizens.  I believe it to be a good idea, only requiring a dedicated creator to birth the images and stories.

I am thankful for the gift Thornton Wilder left us, and my heart is warmed by reading this play once again.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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