Emerson Burkhart � ‘Still Life with Shoes� 1968, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 (From Collection of Geoff Hetrick)

Script Page 10

She has courage. Brains. Intuition. She is an exciting person... interested in the art of living. It takes strength and courage to just live in this world...with all the outside influences and the critical comments of those who do not know how to live.

All my life I've felt criticism...the kind that cuts deep into your soul. But I never really analyzed it until one night this girl and I were talking. She was free and knew what it meant. She was free even around me. She could walk right through that hall (points) without any clothes on and come in here...if I was alone or with a dozen people, that was okay. It didn't happen just that way, but I remember one time she decided to be free and spent the day totally free of clothes...I had only one thought...she's gonna git colder'n a son of a bitch if she goes outside. Told her so. Then she gave me a lesson.

She wasn't going outside...not because her freedom would be questioned, but that she just didn't feel like giving this gawddamn world a break...at least not that day. In short, the world really didn't deserve this girl. Here in this house she was free and rich and independent and brilliant...and could keep her strength.

What I'm saying is that she could keep her strength until it meant something to use it. I think this says something for the whole of British womanhood.

This girl wasn't my concubine...She was no man's whore. She didn't love me. She loved what was in this house...what this house represents. She was in love with four hundred paintings...and (voice drops a bit)...I remember she was really bad for business. I sold something off the wall here one day...she looked at me. She watched the man take the painting out and put it in his car... he drove off and she stood right there at the door. I guess she had a tear...really, she did have a tear because she liked that one painting that day. 'Course, she liked all four hundred. Hell, if I'd sold all four hundred to that one guy...that day, she'd a shot herself.

Took up a painting project of her own here...painted everything blue.

(Paints pipe handrail blue as EB talks.)

Painted one of the sinks blue. The back stairs. The door frames. The handrails out front. I'm the only house on the street with a number in blue. One day I came in and she'd painted the toilet seats blue.

I said...Christ, why didn't you paint the wall so you'd have something to look at...you can't see the seat...she said something I knew, but never put just that way...she said... (softly) "I can feel the blue."


(Gets up and goes to window, )

She could get something out of life. Most people can't. I can stand here in the morning after the sun's been up a couple of hours and see lunch buckets getting in their cars. Use to be bags, but people got more money now. More money, but less time. Really, they talk about four-day weeks and three-day weeks when the computer takes over...but that'll never be in our time. I'm the only man I know that could use the no-day week. I got the no-day week now . I get up when I want to. Go to bed when I want to. I may paint this morning ... if the sun is right. If not, I may go fishing.

Those fellas out there with the buckets...they talk about fishing. But they'll be talking about it in their offices and factories and then when they get home, they'll be too tired to fish. Or make love. Some of 'em be too tired to sleep. Wish every man I know could have my kind of no-day week. But it would have to be on my kinda terms. I don't want people to have the no-day week unless they accomplish something. Now they don't have to accomplish it for mankind and all that kind of high sounding stuff. I just think they should accomplish goals in their own minds.

There's an old guy down the street there...he's a colored neighbor of mine. I watched him chop down a tree in his yard and it took him all summer. He worked at that thing for a full two weeks before he finally got it on the ground. But he got it there. Then he got this other colored fella and they spent the next two weeks using a cross-cut saw. When he got it in little chunks about this long (measures a foot with hands), he spent the rest of the summer using an old wedge and flat axe to make it into firewood.

I went over there one day and his wife come out...she served us lemonade. Made with real lemons...had the peels swimming around. thought to myself, this man has accomplished something...even if it was just cutting down a tree. Even that woman's lemonade tasted good because it was real. Now every time I look at their house in winter and see smoke in the chimney, I think how much they must be enjoying that tree. Hell. it must have been ten years ago and that tree has been gone a long time...but any smoke that comes out of that house...to me at least...will be from that one tree. I never did know what the man did to make money. It really didn't matter.

He was a no-day man.

(Turns and walks over to a stack of canvases, leaning against the wall.)

I remember once painted out around Gahanna and there was a fallen tree...fallen trees always make good subjects for some reason. But all my fallen trees looked alike. Just like the

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