Alive

There’s a wonderful moment when you’re making a puppet.

I’d made several heads, and this new one I called “the Golden Boy”. He had big painted eyes with heavy lashes, high cheekbones, and a lovely little feminine rosebud mouth. I broke with all the prescriptions of naturalism and painted his flesh a beautiful mellow shade of yellow and I gave him bright yellow hair, with a careful part on the righthand side. And then I figured out how to make a body for him. It took a couple of tries, in muslin. The first attempt was too tight, and it bunched across the front, from armpit to armpit. The second was roomier, but the bunching problem remained, and I understood that the issue was the curve in the cut under the arms. And then I got it right, and created a bright yellow dress for him, along with a red kimono to go over it. So the body was done. I slid it over my hand and arm like a sleeve, with two fingers where his neck would go, a thumb in one arm, and the remaining two fingers in the other. Then I placed the Golden Boy’s head on this new tailored body.

And suddenly, he changed.

I moved my fingers and my thumb, and he clapped his hands. I manipulated the two fingers in his neck, and he nodded his head. I bent my wrist, and he performed a deep bow. Overcome with shyness, he covered his face with his hands and hid against my sheltering chest. Then he opened both arms wide as my arm swooped through the air - and he flew.

He was alive.

BookA Printer's Son