The Art of Creation“It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.”
G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
No matter how many times I watched Grandma do it, I still couldn’t believe my eyes.
“Watch closely,” Grandma said, and then she folded a short but wide length of paper back and forth like an old-fashioned fan. She laid flat on the kitchen table what looked to me like a single piece of paper about the size of the queen of hearts.
“Now I’m going to draw a little girl…”
She took up her number-2 pencil and began to lightly sketch, starting on the inside edge. First a half-circle head with flipped hair resting upon a bony shoulder, then an arm that reached all the way to the other side of the paper (ending too apruptly, I thought, in a deformed-looking fist), then a right-angle shaped skirt under which I could easily picture a prickly crinoline petticoat, and finally a single leg with an out-turned shoe.
The poor child. She didn’t look like much. If she’d shown up in Miss Walterbach’s second grade class that year, I might have turned my head away with an utter lack of Christian charity, thinking her only half the girl I was.
I always felt a little twinge of sorrow when Grandma picked up her scissors and started cutting along the lines she’d drawn. I felt even sorrier for the simple creation she seemed intent on mutilating. Grandma was an artist, I knew, and could have drawn a portrait that ended up looking just like me, if she’d wanted to.
Why didn’t she? Did she really think anything good could come from cutting up a dopey-looking half-girl?
When she finished with the operation, she put down her scissors and held up her pathetic creature for my inspection. I tried to smile, but I couldn’t. How had my talented grandmother managed to create something so…awful?
“Here,” she said, “hold the little girl’s hand.”
It was a mission of mercy, but someone had to do it. I reached out to take hold of the misshapen fist. As I did, Grandma unfolded the paper, stretching the group of hand-holding dancing girls clear across the table.
She must have seen the surprised look on my face. It must have amazed her that no matter how often she repeated this magic, I still couldn’t believe that a lonely half-girl could end up with so many whole friends.
“You can color the girls,” she said, grinning as she produced a box of 64 crayons. “Blondes, brunettes, redheads. Make each one a little different, if you’d like.”
So I did, but by then I didn’t need to, really. The little paper girls were already different enough, I thought.
So different, in fact, that they looked just like me.
Posted by Katy on 12/02/04 at 07:03 AMFallible Comments...
Page 1 of 1 pages