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  • Kristan Higgins

How Hard Can It Be?

Updated: May 3, 2022


Last year, it occurred to me that I don’t have any hobbies. I mean, I read. I watch movies and TV and baseball. I bake less, now that Princess is away and Dearest Son eats like an athlete, sadly. I like to, um…clean. I’m an excellent window-shopper.

So I decided to find something new. McIrish and I were walking past an art shop, and I announced, “I’m going to become a painter.” We went in; a young man asked if he could help us. “I’d like to buy some squishy paints,” I said, “and some canvases.”

“Oil? Acrylic?”

“I don’t care,” I said. “The squishy kind.”

“What kind of brushes would you like?”

“The kind that smear paint around.”

The lad trotted off, and McIrish heaved a martyred sigh. You see, he is quite an accomplished artist, among his many other talents. I find this irritating, that he has so many abilities and I have so few—baby whispering and bed-making notwithstanding.

“I’m going to become a famous painter,” I said to take him down a notch or two.

“It’s not that easy,” he said.

“Really? Well, we didn’t know I was going to be a successful writer, either, right? I’m probably going to make a fortune off this.”

“I could teach you some things if you want,” he said.

“No thanks! I don’t want you to crush my muse.”

We got home and put the art supplies away, and a few months later, I remembered them and began my hobby.


This first painting is—clearly—a lighthouse on a dark night and not a peeled mozzarella stick on a blue background. Note the stormy sea, the ominous sense of impending doom. At first, it was a picture of our cat, but that didn’t turn out so well, so I smeared more paint around, and now it’s doom. Which I’m sure totally came through.


This is a picture of a lovely field (I know, I didn’t have to tell you that, you already understand my artistic voice). I’m sure you can appreciate the gentleness, the controlled naturalism (I just lifted that phrase off the Internet, FYI). In fact, I was cleaning off my brush and accidentally made a smear of red, and voila! Art just happened.


Ah, the sturm und drang of the human soul! Right? It was supposed to be a sunset, but those are harder than they look. So instead, this represents life, death, blood, birth, triumph and uh…other things.


This green one is because I was running out of other colors. I’m going to call it “Green Because There Were No Other Colors” and see if I can sell it to MOMA.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my new hobby, gang. Let me know if you want to buy one.


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