Tara IsonWhat would you rather do than write?

Knit.

Read indiscriminately.

Watch TV indiscriminately.

Go to the dentist (this is sort of disingenuous; I love going to the dentist).

Clean my bathroom.

isonThis is what I’ll paint, she decides: shells.

She is staying in a beach house at the last edge of asphalt before sand, a home that belongs to her best friend’s grandmother, who is away recovering from hip replacement surgery. She is here, emphatically, to paint. Back home in San Diego, a gallery owner, impressed by Sarah’s art store display canvases daubed with rich Old Holland oils, had proposed an exhibit. If there were some interesting, recent work, perhaps. Paintings that expressed and defined who Sarah is, now. This was an important opportunity, she realized, something worthy of focus. But can’t you paint here?, her parents had asked. There are too many distractions here, friends, work, family, she’d replied, hitting the fam hard, like in famine.

You’ll be fine without me, she told them. I need to do this. I need to get away.