Author’s note: This piece of writing is more of a catharsis process and in no way compares myself to any of the esteemed artists—current, from the past or those who are yet to come. Everyone has a right to disagree and this piece does not represent the point of view of all artists. This model of writing is just a way of expression. Artists are the most romantic of all people. And by ‘romantic’ I don’t mean the lovey-dovey romantic. The best definition I’ve read of ‘a romantic’ so far is in Tell The Wolves I’m Coming Home, where Uncle Finn explains the same to his niece June, “A romantic, you barnacle, not the lovey-dovey romantic. Being a romantic means you see what’s beautiful. What’s good. You don’t want to see the gritty truth of things. You believe everything will turn out right.” And perhaps that’s what is wrong with us. The ultimate flaw. We believe that everything will turn out right in the end. We beautify the simplest of things. We see beauty in the ugly. We glorify the dead. We exaggerate the darkest of nights and brightest of days—the ones that may be blinding other people. While others may just be having a cup of coffee, we portray the scene as ‘sitting by the unclean window on a cloudless dark night, stirring the cup of foamy coffee thinking about a thousand things that he might have said, but instead having remained silent and regretting later as always.’ Artists observe a little more, ponder a little more and regret a little more—perhaps. And perhaps that is why their final pieces, their works of art are usually great pieces of fiction and fiction only—little to do with reality. For them when two young people are in love they have to enjoy a cup of coffee each, sitting by the fireplace and watching a movie, or having an intense conversation when they can totally sit in the same room, work on their own while silently communicating—there is nothing better that explains love between two people who could tolerate each other’s silence. We complicate things, simple doesn’t work. We have to make farewells painful, sunsets excruciatingly beautiful and sunrises underrated. Our writings and paintings try to capture the originality of the seasons and various times of the day according to the moods of the characters we are in. But we forget how the Creator has made it rain the same way for the one who has gotten his heart broken and the one who has just fallen in love. Artists try to shade every piece of their art with their romantic mood they are in—filling their own colors in sadness and in mourning, brightening the mood of happiness and celebration—but maybe people don’t need colors to express themselves of how they feel. Maybe they only need to say it, sing a song that relates, dance it out or even store that memory in a corner of their heart. Artists like to express themselves in their originality—there lies the real problem. Also we think in retrospect. That is our favorite tense—when things have been said, steps have been taken, regret has come over and everything has passed, we reflect. Things look more beautiful in retrospect—harmless, painless, black and white. Clear as crystal. Only we couldn’t see those things as clearly back then. And building on this phenomenon, we leave it up to fate that things would turn out right. They always have. They always will. We question, ‘how bad could it be?’ Certainly if it’s not as bad, it has to be beautiful.
I like small places. Places with low ceilings, faded rugs, round coffee tables, colored cushions and early morning rays of sun through open windows. Where you could sit at a corner, detached from the world and yet feel connected to everyone in the crowded room who is here to have breakfast, drink coffee, or read a book. Where you could meet your friends or the person you love and show them the secrets this world holds through that window from where the sun shines. Where you could listen to everyone’s voices and whispers and could tell the language they speak—of love, goodness and beauty—but not be able to tell what they might be thinking. Where you could marvel at the people and the life that exists outside that small coffee shop, like a silent movie, without judging their motives unlike those of big places and high ceilings.
Big places with high ceilings and glass floors and high tables make me anxious. They hold mysteries and secrets people are not sure to reveal. Big places give refuge to high pitched laughter which doesn’t reach the eye and to people who are more concerned about what purpose you bring them than whether you would like to have tea or coffee—they wouldn’t care if you like to have both. It’s difficult to gauge their feelings. So I choose small places with big hearts. Small places with memories of seeing each other the first time. Small places and dog-eared books. And paragraphs you’ve read a hundred times and still cannot get over them.
Small places and Sunday mornings and Friday nights, when you have all the time in the world to discuss with them, how time flies and why days change.
Small places where no one cares whether the wooden table is newly polished or why the rug still has coffee stains.
I choose small places because they make me realize of the connection I have with the things that are still alive, and with people who still believe in the magic of faith, truth, love and beauty.