So much for having no curiosity, or not caring about a story, etc. I have now reached the stage in the novel in which Eugene Witla, the “Genius,” has an art dealer over to see his work. Over the past few years he’s scrapped by as an illustrator, but has slowly built up a body of work – 26 oil paintings.
There are all these negatives in front of him: it will cost way too much, even if the dealer likes it at all. And it is unlikely that they will like it, they are already overbooked and overcommitted, etc., etc.
We all, to some degree, know this moment of holding your breath and taking on what looks like a bleak situation. But you’re an artist and you live on dreams and so, you have no choice.
And then comes this gorgeous flood of encouragement, that the work is singular, that there’s nothing quite like it, that you have a great future. “…I will call them to the attention of those who know. I will speak to those who buy. It is an honor, I assure you, to do this. For you are an artist in every sense of the word – I might say a great artist.”
The waters are parting. Eugene can hardly hear it, can hardly believe it. In plain fashion, he can only manage to say yes, he thought they might be good. But his new wife feels and expresses enough for both of them. Tears welled to her eyes as the dealer catches them. By this time I was crying too.