His friends take shape in adjectives and action. I clothe them carefully in bright paper scraps and set them off exploring the might-have-been, the might-yet-be. All my friends know their faces and their history. What if, this time, a father had not died? What if a best friend died tomorrow? How can you grasp victory in defeat, or twist a triumph into tragedy?
Warm green eyes, hazel eyes, ice-blue eyes mocking and cold. Paint them with hints of ink in watercolor on rough thick paper. Paint hair joyous and flaming scarlet in gouache, tempera, acrylic, oil. Shade a paper robe in calligraphic sable, swirling the edges. Map out all these things and more. Paper forgives a line hastily drawn. The results are subtle or vivid, but always the same lives, the same faces. It is a kaleidoscope in the notebook as one man dies a hundred times, each time a different way.
I play at paper dolls, and read their lives between the lines.