Paint to Live

I’ve never been able to fight the creative impulse. It’s an urge that hits me as fiercely as hunger or thirst. If I can’t paint, I starve. Of course, if I do paint, I get locked away. Because painting alone isn’t enough. My work has to be large, it has to be public, and it has to tell the truth.

I was lucky with my last project. Somehow, despite the surveillance, despite the camera on every corner, the neighbors whispering into phones, despite the everpresent eyes and the cries of safety and security and freedom through vigilance, nobody caught me.

It wasn’t my best work. And it wasn’t the most public. But it was true. And I knew my next endeavor, the project I could feel gnawing at me even as this one still glistened and dried under the sulfur streetlights, would be bigger, bolder.

I do not deface buildings. I bring my own canvas. As I unrolled the white sheet for my new painting, as I swept the brush across it, I imagined the censors arriving with their razors, slashing my work with each downward stroke.

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