Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Theme Thursday: Shadow

Bright light floods my pores, finding cracks to be filled in by pliable triangle sponges dipped in liquid white, laying a foundation for my face. Long slender fingers of red lipstick trace my mouth, defining my mood. I can't help but smile, because I can't help but smile when I get to paint it on.

Clowns have that liberty.

My name is Sunshine, if the neon wig and billowy pants hung on springy suspenders did not give it away completely. Though you will never hear it from my mouth, I am mute, you see. My voice is the laughter of children's joy as they grab a gloved hand and spill in dizzying circles around me. Big red shoes flip flop as my legs pump in outrageous movements, matching the rhythm of my hands, casting a spell over them as I mime my story.

I am the center of their universe.

Bumbling off the stage with a see ya later wave, the shadows encroach with each swipe of the alcohol pad, as I transform back to me. Slipping out no one gives notice of the invisible man with the duffel bag as they chatter with excitement making plans to grow up to be a clown. Maybe its just the make up we crave, to transform us to who we hoped we would be.

Not knowing who we are, we try to become something we are not.

The spotlight of the face we create gives warmth like a dying sun, while in the recesses of our soul, we find our identity has been stolen, by our own attempts to manufacture the intimacy we all crave. If we never learn to love ourselves, can we ever hope to really find it?

I was a clown once.

Perhaps I still am at times.

When I give in to it's...

Shadow.

50 comments:

blueviolet said...

Wow, there's a lot more to a clown that the outer appearance. This is good writing!

Harnett-Hargrove said...

Not knowing who we are, we try to become something we are not....Great writing.
It seems to me, too, that a clown is a shadow side. I've always been slightly terrified of them, so I guess that explains a lot. -Jayne

Alan Burnett said...

As usual, you set the bar at a very great height for the rest of us to try and follow.

Deb said...

Hi ~ Guaranteed you hit alot of nerves and truths with this one. It has taken me a long time to understand and come to terms with who I am and to understand the ins and outs of that person. Reflective, honest writing ~ again. Thank you.

JeffScape said...

Interesting. I dig reverse-mask characterization (funny that we were talking about Watchmen earlier), and it works well here.

Nicely done.

*Some typos, I think... "pores" instead of "pours" in line one. And just "its" instead of "it's" in the penultimate line.

Tom said...

not so much a clown fan...but the children enjoying/loving the clown...what a picture! Always brings a smile to my face.

subtorp77 said...

Brian, way cool! It's like I'm there, watching you transform...

Baino said...

Got I hate clowns. Scary things they are. I wonder if they get a complex about being hidden and unidentified.

Oh and massive congratulations on the job! Now I have to get my thinking cap on. Haven't a clue what to post for this one!

Baino said...

Oops, I meant "God" before Jeff gets his ruler out and raps me on the knuckles. Hehehe

Hit 40 said...

Outstanding!! You made me want to go to clown school on Monday. Screw teaching.

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

And so the call, "Bring in the Clowns..." So very well done - both the descriptive and the reflective. I have not yet given up the "clown" that is pure frolic and joy.

In my 26 years of private practice as an educational therapist, (www.apogeelearning.com) working with children with defined special needs, it was the "clown within" that was able to help my students to get past the shadows of doubt and into the spotlight of acceptance and fearlessness. Humor, lightheartedness, faith, and a smile, along with "tools" for each "job" of life!

Great Post!

Thanks for visiting APOGEE Poet. Ahh, yes, bamboo, in response to your comment:

In joyous abandon the silence to greet
The chorus of sound as leaf and wind meet
This season’s winsome array now is heard
The sonorous sway of bamboo, the call of the songbird.

only a movie said...

Wow. And nice insight Harnett - aversion to clowns/aversion of shadow self.

Great stuff as always, Brian. My brain hurts a little bit. (in a good way).

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Interesting post - you are a very talented man - the juxtaposition of a clown and a serious writer who expresses with words what the clown expresses with movement. Such a great tandem dance between left and right brain.

How you write excites my senses as much as what you write.

otin said...

Sometimes my clown has a dark side! I love exploring all aspects of my shadow!

lakeviewer said...

Oh my! The deep and dark side of clowning.

willow said...

Uh-oh. Sorry. I hate clowns. But you knew that.

Betsy said...

OK...how old were you?

And...don't you have a photo? :)

Joanna Jenkins said...

I always wanted to go to clown school!
Fabulous post as always!

Goofball said...

I think if we conciously start to try to be someone or ourselves, we will never succeed.I'll never be authentic. We simply need to be?

SandyCarlson said...

Excellent. I really liked this very much. Especially:

The spotlight of the face we create gives warmth like a dying sun, while in the recesses of our soul, we find our identity has been stolen, by our own attempts to manufacture the intimacy we all crave. If we never learn to love ourselves, can we ever hope to really find it.

You open up the idea of clowning around.

Candie Bracci said...

Magnificent post Brian!
Despite the fact that clowns creep me out!lol
Have a nice day :)

Not For Jellyfish said...

Hiding in the shadows of make-up... Beautiful.

Beth said...

I've always wondered about clowns. Sometimes, they seem so sad underneath the happy face they paint on.

Sometimes I feel like a clown, too. Only my makeup isn't so pasty white.

Love your descriptive writing.

Pastor Sharon said...

Brian, this one is your BEST!!!!!!

I love it most! And I was a clown once too! Literally though! Went to clown school and got the diploma!

I loved being a character and acting silly behind that mask!

And. . . I do love me now. That took a journey of years.

Merisi said...

The clown in use - beautiful words!

I came over from Willow's because I enjoyed your comments there. ;-)

Gaston Studio said...

I love clowns. Beautiful writing Brian, just beautiful.

Poetikat said...

Lon Chaney once said, "There's nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight."

You have certainly captured the essence of this.

Don't we all want to hide behind that clown's face sometimes.

Kat

The Retired One said...

Shame on Jeffscape for pointing out a spelling and grammar error.
The piece was so well written, I hadn't even noticed. He must be a teacher with issues. ha
Anyway...
wonderful piece!
It reminds me of some of the other posts by women I have read over the last week, talking about not wearing makeup..and feeling ugly.
We all put on masks to a certain degree. I have realized that the older I get the less worried I am about that kind of thing and the freer I am to be me. I clown around with my humor. It is much more liberating.
Great stuff, Brian. You are are phenomenal writer.

R.J. Edwards said...

I still thing clowns are creepy but loved your story, as always.

VE said...

Beautiful writing...again. I find it interesting that the majority of adults are bothered by clowns in some way. I wonder why that is?

The Clever Pup said...

Da da da!!!
Great writing Brian. And "pores" IS correct.

I don't like clowns much either. Charlie Chaplin is enough for me.

Meeko Fabulous said...

Clowns give me the willies! LOL But I had never thought about the clown after the show and what he must look like without the make up!

subtorp77 said...

@Kat, you just had to quote the master, didn't you? There will never be another...

Brian Miller said...

dreadfully busy day...will respond to your comments in a bit...it was years ago that i was a literal clown for a brief period...and willow, i was waiting on your comment...lol. i did not expect so many with clown issues though...glad i took off the make up now...

mouse (aka kimy) said...

one clown story that I can dig.

I particularly like:

"my voice is the laughter of children's joy...."

sweet!

Lorraine said...

and the tears forever fall...mmmyou are such a writer, you know the sort that people would consider the classic, literate gente...I'm always in awe of your talent!

Nancy said...

Great writing, Brian. I'll bet you were a great clown because you have a warmth inside you that can't be hidden by make-up.

Gabby said...

Wonderful story as always, Brian. Beautiful imagery.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Vodka Mom said...

clowns give me the heebie jeebies.

your writing, however, does not.


bravo.

Wings said...

A clown, as well? What will we learn next? Good piece, Brian.

Daniel said...

This definitely seems like something you would do. I still can see in my mind that photo of you as the joker. A clown would certainly fit your ability to have fun and give to others. I liked this one. Blessings my friend.

Suldog said...

That was excellent! I have some relatives who do clowning for kids in hospitals and I think they'd love to see this. I'll let them know about it.

Otin said...

Thanks Brian, nice to know someone does not think that I am a psycho! lol

Crystal Jigsaw said...

On the surface we are able to be whoever we wish to be. I guess to be a clown means we can mask the surface too. Lovely post.

CJ xx

Lola said...

I've been a little erratic with my comments, but it's only because I am still gathering bits of myself after my travels. Sorry...

I however always come by and sneak a peek at your wonderful prose. I am in awe of your energy. You work, prepare a massive house-move, you parent 2 kids poetically and you are the best blogger online. You never miss a comment, or a reply to yours, and you post every day. HOW DO YOU DO IT?

This particular one made me smile and recall an author I think you may know, Heinrich Böll. He wrote a book called The Clown (I'm unsure of the translation, actually). A famous quote from it is "I am a clown, I collect moments."

Smiles,
~Lola

Kris said...

Clowns freak me out.

RickNiekLikeBikes said...

I think it's alright to enjoy the anonymity from time to time.

Lorraine said...

If ever they had a script for 'Tears of a Clown' this would be it...precious

Skip Simpson said...

I love your style of writing! Fantastic post!

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