Topical Guide 385
Art and Craft and Real Life
Lorna pressed the stem, and the lid popped open. There was one of the little couples, but this pair had been carved with special care. They resembled, quite clearly, Herb and Lorna, and the arena for their enthusiastic performance was not a rumpled bed but a rowboat.
“Why, that’s — ”
“It’s us,” said Lorna. “I made it.” …
“Wait here.” Herb dashed down the stairs to the cellar, and, in a moment, dashed back up them, carrying the green metal box marked with a skull and crossbones. He set it on the kitchen table, opened it, lifted the tray from it, and pulled out a stack of papers. “Look,” he said. “Look here. These are my designs. All of them.” He was beaming. He spread the drawings out on the table and stood back with his arms crossed over his chest, proud, exhilarated.
Herb ’n’ Lorna, Chapter 18
I had hoped that I would be able to provide examples of Herb’s drawings here, but they seem to have been lost. “All right,” I said to myself, “that’s the way it is, and you have to accept that. Maybe you can find some equivalents, or approximations, in the work of other artists. Try the Web. Try your personal library. Demand access to Kraft’s library.” Well, hours followed, and I wasn’t able to find anything that could pass as an approximation of what Herb’s drawings might have been. I tried. I failed. With apologies, I offer you an image of a romantic couple in a rowboat who seem to be in an early stage of “getting it on,” apparently having shed their inhibitions with a heavy dose of Old Orkney, and photographs of a couple of Alexander Calder’s wire sculptures, and invite you (implore you, beseech you) to use your imagination to conjure versions of the drawings that Herb spread out on the table for Lorna to see.
If the foregoing sounded a little testy, it’s probably because I’m having a day filled with the little annoyances that make a person, certainly this person, a little testy. For one thing, my usual orderly morning routine is being knocked into a cocked hat by my having to wait for an electrician to solve the problem of a misbehaving circuit breaker in the room where I have my home office. The circuit breaker “trips” at unpredictable times and for no apparent reason. I asked the building’s head of maintenance to replace it. He suggested that we “monitor the situation” for a few days. I monitored it. I took notes on the times of its failures and discovered that they weren’t quite random: it had an uncanny knack of “tripping” when I was in the middle of a difficult and essential task, crashing my computer and derailing my train of thought.
The electrician is supposed to arrive in fifteen minutes.
I’ve begun making notes on the subject of randomness as I’ve experienced it throughout my life, hoping that it will become part of an entry in my Topical Autobiography. I don’t want to give too much away just yet, but perhaps you won’t mind my tantalizing you a bit by saying that moths will play an important role.
I’m still waiting for the electrician.
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