Puzzle of Nothingpublished in Ottawa by above/ground press
Two painters become bored with their subjects—daffodils, dogs, marinas.
Then by chance they read a quote by artist Mary Pratt that appeared in her obituary. “My only strength is finding something where most people would find nothing.”
Right then they decide to spend the rest of their lives looking closely at nothing, believing they have found the doorway into the sublime.
So far there is nothing of interest in this puzzle. It’s mainly Rolf working doggedly on a painting of his bathtub, Rita studying trash at the top of the driveway, some beige shading in the background.
But then the puzzle begins to shimmer. This is because Rita looks up and sees something where before she had always seen nothing of interest—the sky—and in particular, a towering cumulous cloud backlit by the sun. The cloud sears her sensations.
“The real secret of the arts,” said Zen master Shunryu Suzuki. “is to always be a beginner.”
When you finish this puzzle there will be nothing there.
as the ninth title in above/ground’s prose/naut imprint
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy
M.A.C. Farrant is the award-winning author of seventeen works of fiction, memoirs, and two plays. She has published eight books with Talonbooks, the most recent being her trio of miniature fiction: The World Afloat (2014), The Days (2016), and The Great Happiness (2019) and the current One Good Thing—A Living Memoir (2021), a BC Bestseller. She lives in North Saanich, British Columbia. https://talonbooks.com/authors/mac-farrant
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