Posted tagged ‘Richard Diebenkorn’

how I see my stories (most of the time)

December 30, 2019

The painting you see above is titled (entitled?) Interior with a Book and it was completed in 1959 by Richard Diebenkorn. It hangs in the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art here in Kansas City, and the first time I saw it I recognized something about it.

This is pretty much how I see my stories. No, not as works of art. Rather, as what my first impression was when I originally saw this painting: not quite in focus. It’s all there, but in the case of my stories, it needs tightening. It needs refinement. It needs to be better focused.

Even when I finish a story, and I allow myself to say it is “finished,” I always feel like it could be better, that it needs more attention to detail or something. That it isn’t really, really finished when it’s finished, but it’s beyond my ability to see what’s not right or to know what do to about it.

My stories leave my hands as not-fully-formed things. That’s exactly what I felt when I saw this painting the first time, and every time I visit the museum, I stand before this painting for a while, puzzling to no avail what I’m missing in my own efforts.