WHEN ROTHKO CALLED BRENDA, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT 

I’m an art collector. Abstract art. That’s my thing. Nothing beats going to the MOMA in NYC and surrounding myself with paintings by Klee, Kandinsky, Pollock, Mondrian, Stella, and Diebenkorn. Not that I collect those paintings. Are you crazy? Do I look like a millionaire? Of course not. No, I buy art on Etsy. Hey, don’t knock Etsy if you haven’t tried it. Anyway, the minute I hear the Rothko Exhibition is at my local art museum I’m in my car and down the driveway. Thirty minutes later I buy a ticket and enter the Main Exhibition Hall. The first painting I see is mammoth in size, a seamless blending of alizarin crimson, cadmium orange, and lemon yellow. Wow. How did he do that? I rush toward the painting for a closer look, but not before the museum guard intercepts me. “Move back, ma’am,” he warns. What? Can’t he see I’m an art collector? After I walk through the entire exhibition, I sit on a bench to feast my eyes. All those giant Rothkos. Together. On every wall. And that’s when I feel it. The positive life force pouring out of these paintings. It’s like they’re living, breathing beings. No kidding. But what kind of sense does that make? Everyone knows Rothko suffered from depression. I mean, the man committed suicide. Yet these paintings vibrate with happy, joyous energy. How crazy is that? After a while I grab my purse and stand up. Poor Rothko. Obviously, he’d never heard of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. Especially the first one. No, I’m not a Buddhist, but I learn things every day. I’m on Facebook, okay? “Life is suffering,” I say to the guard on my way out the door. He nods. “Yes, ma’am,” he says. And it’s true. Knowing that there’ll be ups and downs. That it’s normal. Especially the downs. It gives me peace. Too bad Rothko didn’t have my cell number. I could have told him that. And I would have too. I mean, really.  



Laura Stamps loves to play with words and create experimental forms for her fiction. Author of several novels and short story collections, including IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RIDE: CAT MANIA (Alien Buddha Press). Muses Prize. Pulitzer Prize nomination. 7 Pushcart Prize nominations. Mom of 5 cats. Twitter: @LauraStamps16.  www.laurastampsfiction.blogspot.com 

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