What can you write about in a 500-word essay? I write in a condensed, “keep it simple, stupid” style, so I can get quite a bit into a few words. But still—some subjects are just too big for it.
I was thinking this morning, for example, about a friend of mine who hasn’t seen a Woody Allen movie since Allen left Mia Farrow and married her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. This brings to mind the general question, are the good and beautiful things that we create stained by our bad actions?
And how bad do we have to be to negate whatever good we have done?
This is not a topic for a 500-word essay.
I had another idea. I’m reading the book, Quiet by Susan Cain, which is helping me to feel better about being an introvert. Yes, I am introverted, shy, and sensitive—a perfect formula for anxiety every time I step out into the world.
But that topic also deserves more than 500 words. That’s why Cain wrote a whole book about it.
Here’s a thought: recently I was wondering where my motivation to paint comes from—the heart, the ego, or the soul?
How would one even know--from looking at the finished painting—where the artist found her motivation?
I’ve been more aware, as I paint, of what I’m trying to express. But I don’t think I’m ready to explore this topic in 500 words. I’d rather do it in 500 paintings.
Walking with a friend the other day, we briefly discussed our current health issues. (The older you get, the more of these you will have.)
My friend brought up this issue: how much time should friends spend talking about their health? It gets boring and depressing when that’s all they talk about.
Some people are stoics and never discuss their health. They will die before they reveal any of these secrets. Even at their funerals, the cause of death will be unknown.
But friends share their lives, inner and outer, so shouldn’t our health be an approved topic? Yes, but only if we are talking to each other.
If we start sharing our health problems with our children, we are opening the door to role reversal. The children will start telling us to floss and follow doctor’s orders.
There is no turning back.
So maybe this is the topic that works in five hundred words or less?
What is this painting's motivation?