A painter had many admirers. They not only liked his work, but they felt a kinship with the man, himself. To that end, the painter thought about how he could involve his audience in his work in some little way.
One day, the painter installed a little window in his studio, so that his admirers could come watch him from the hallway outside. He didn’t install glass, so that they could comment to him while he worked. Soon enough, the painter found that he enjoyed talking back and forth with the people who’d gathered at the window. He’d lay down his brush, wipe the excess paint from his fingertips, and take a moment to talk with the people who’d gathered there.
After some time, the painter started his day by talking with the growing crowd that had gathered at his little window. He’d chat amiably about the day before, about what part of his work he’d tackle today, and about whatever was on the minds of the people. Sometimes, these talks would last until nearly lunch, and the painter would find his brushes stiff and packed with dried paint. He’d spend a little while more talking with the people while soaking his brushes to loosen the paint.
Some days, he’d set not a single new stroke down atop another on the canvas. But he’d talk with his crowd.
When the end of the month came, the landlord stood amongst his friends at the window, demanding the next month’s rent. But the painter had sold nothing. He’d created nothing new. There was nothing to pay the landlord.
His friends came to the rescue. This warmed his heart. He felt that his experiences through the window had saved him, and proved the value of community.
But this was a single, solitary transaction. It was never to be repeated. Friends rarely seek the role of benefactor, least of all admirers who could only barely be considered “friends” in the sense that one might require for such a moment in time.
And the morning after his friends had paid his way, he sat back at his canvas, he primed his brushes and stirred his pots of paint, and he set to work. The window remained open. He made the occasional comment. He expressed warmth and regards to those who gathered, but he stuck to his work, and saved his community experiences for those times in between those where he focused on his work.
So, my painter friends: tell me about your window.
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