Tools & Talismans #23 — Amy Bloom

T&T #23 Amy Bloom.jpg

Yes, #23. When I first began this project there were so many things that I was "hesitant" to paint. Oh let's see: fur, photos of people, wood, reflections, metal... yeah, I think those are the top 5, and so I skipped around a bit. If I go by the order of posting, I think I did that until Tools & Talismans contributer #33. But here I am, back at #23. This submission is from one of my all-time favourite writers: Love Invents Us, Away, and the short story collection Come to Me are a couple of Amy Bloom's titles — I hope anyone who hasn't heard of her will look her up.

This painting was particularly challenging because the photo was small and I couldn't see things clearly and so I “hesitated” and skipped ahead, and kept skipping ahead, and when I finally came back to it this week I decided I'd interpret and hope for the best — kind of a metaphor for life I think. I never read the words that accompany the photo until after I'm done painting so there are a few things I'll explain before I post Amy's words:

  1. The photo of her father is at center back. I like that I didn't know he was there, but nevertheless, there is a ghostly image of a person {and I'm feeling his skepticism}.
  2. The cartoon {which Amy doesn't talk about} has a caption that says: “Remorse sits in my stomach like a piece of stale bread. How does THAT sound?”
  3. And now, here's Amy:

I keep my desk as spare as possible but sometimes everybody and everything come crowding up. The photos are of my parents, my mother in her glamorous 20s, as a gossip columnist in Manhattan; my father, a journalist, in the Tivoli Gardens with a typical and skeptical look on his face. Ganesha is my talisman because who would not want the God of intellectual perseverance, curiosity, sexuality and candy on their side, every day? Pens and paper are the way in which I remind myself, most sharply. CalenMob is good but it has no muscle memory. The tomato can is a tribute to my friend, the painter Connie Brown, who has rows of them in her studio. And a few of the books that I rely on, for comfort, for the sentence, for the story in the corner. They are the friends I call at three a.m.

Amy Bloom is a writer and reader.


Tools & Talismans is a personal painting project where I document {in watercolor} the tools and talismans of 100 different women — creators and healers, thinkers and makers, wordsmiths and visionaries. Join me — I'll be sharing a new painting with you every Wednesday.

Would you like to have your very own Tools & Talismans painting to inspire, support and remind you of all the things that make you “you”, as you go about your days, grow your business and create your life? Get in touch so we can talk, I'd love to hear from you!