I am 40 years old, and have never learned how to draw. This has bothered me my entire life. So I’m finally taking drawing lessons.
I quickly learned that I don’t have a surprisingly wonderful natural inclination toward drawing. I figured I didn’t. But finding a new talent would have been rad.
The thing that has struck me the most is how similar drawing and writing are. In both drawing and writing, we are trying to capture life in a way that enables the audience to relate. We are trying to capture moments, minutiae, emotions.
A friend of mine who is an artist told me that drawing is a learned skill. I kind of assumed people can either draw or they can’t. But like writing, a certain skill level can be attained for anyone. Maybe not a fantastic skill level, though. And that’s okay.
We used charcoal today to draw a stool with a drapey thing over it. That really sucked. What I’ve realized is that writing is my true love, and drawing is my crush that flirts back but doesn’t mean it.
I love it when I read a book and can’t stop thinking about it. And that’s exactly what I’ve found in Laura Ellen Scott’s The Juliet.
Set against the surprisingly rich backdrop of Death Valley, The Juliet is the tale of a cursed emerald whose most famous owner was a celebrated prostitute named Lily Joy. Integral to the legend of the emerald is the Mystery House, a glorified shack perched above Centenary, Nevada.
The story in the forefront is of a retired cowboy actor named Rigg Dexon who has taken up residence in the Mystery House. The blooming wildflowers bring tourists to his door, and draw him out of seclusion. What follows is a tale rich with both generosity and greed, fortune and disaster.
Scott gives us the emerald’s 100-year history in time-jumping chapters. She does this seamlessly, with no feeling of “where am I now?” There is a broad cast of characters, and each one is as fascinating as the next. It’s really fun to read about people who willingly forsake everything for a jewel.
The Juliet is mesmerizing and haunting. It begs the question: Is there really a curse that follows the Juliet, or is it just greed that does its owners in?