Portrait of a Writer

I haven’t always been a Writer.  In fact anyone who knows me well will tell you that my decision to take four years out of a burgeoning international development career to write my first book, with nothing you could call writing experience save a few tour reports and policy briefs, was met with a good deal of skepticism.  Its not that they didn’t think I was capable of it, but perhaps I hadn’t thought the idea through fully.  And to a large extent they were right.

The Job Centre weren’t prepared to support my ‘New Deal’ proposal either, but as I had no intention of looking for a job it felt dishonest signing on.  So I didn’t.  Having been made redundant three times in the previous nine months while the development sector structured, and re-structured itself, I can’t say I found being employed much fun anyway.  It had taken a while but I had finally got the message.

It had started in 2000 when I was visiting my sister in Damascus.  She had been poorly and instead of the usual round of visiting family and shopping there was nothing to do but sit and talk.  I was mesmerised  by her tale, the details of which I had never heard before, and promised that one day I would write a book.  I came home, got sidetracked and forgot all about it.

Years later, I was working in Beirut and Suzan had come to join me for a short holiday.  “And what about our book”, she had chided.  “Book? What book?” I had retorted.  I had more than enough on my plate at that time.  Taking on a book project was the last thing I wanted to do.  But truth told, I knew full well what she was talking about.  The interview tapes, stored in a battered brown case, had moved house with me no less than five times in the ten years since I had recorded them.  I began to feel the familiar prod that could only come from an all seeing, all knowing, never-forgetting God.

Jesus portraitAs I sat contemplating the huge task ahead, I was reminded of a portrait that hangs on my lounge wall.  It is of Jesus, and I painted it from a single line.  “Hum, don’t all paintings start out that way?” I hear you say.  They do, but more often than not one has something to work with.  I hadn’t wanted to copy-paint a portrait because every image I had ever seen of Jesus had a western slant: pale skin and blondish.  I wanted a complete, unadulterated image that was totally him, in my view.  However, all I saw when I closed my eyes to start painting that day was a single line towards the right of the page – his cheek bone.  Over the coming days more of Jesus’ image was revealed, but only as I needed it.  Features.  Skin tone and colour.

The portrait isn’t very good, but that is not the point.

About jazz64

Writer, photographer, filmmaker and general vagabond whose committed to inspirational stories and the art of influence.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.