Michele Bledsoe

The Resurrection of Gilly Bagoon and the Art of Keeping Promises

Gilly and Church relaxing at home.. circa 1986

Many years ago, my sister Patricia fell in love with a feral cat and named him Gilly Bagoon. She desperately wanted Gilly to come live in the house with us, but we already had a cat.

Ironically, his name was Church – after the resurrected cat from Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. Church was a handful. Crazy… and a biter. He used to climb my youngest sister like a tree – leaving gouges and scratches all over her legs and arms. She was covered in band-aids for most of her childhood.

Suffice it to say, my father did not want to bring another cat into the house. But Patricia was relentless. She was certain Gilly would get hit by a car and die.. and she fearfully explained this to my father every single night when he came home from work. This went on for some time.

My sisters were visiting their grandparents when the prophecy was fulfilled. Gilly Bagoon had been hit by a car and died. My father was beside himself.

He explained how he heard a car screech outside and KNEW immediately what had occurred. The poor young lady driving was horrified.. crying as she and my father examined Gilly’s limp body lying in the road. Too miserable and stunned to react, my father said nothing as the girl scooped Gilly up and drove off.

He readied himself for the wrath of my sister and the inevitable “I told you so!” he deserved and was prepared to endure for the rest of his life.

It was so sad. Poor Gilly. Patricia was heartbroken, inconsolable. Over and over she asked my father a single obsessive question.. demanding his response again and again:

“If Gilly was alive, could he live in the house?!?”

“Yes! Yes!” My father replied. “Of course he could!”

And life went on.

MANY MONTHS LATER…

I was doing laundry in the garage with the door wide open when a car pulled into the driveway. A young lady stepped out carrying something wrapped in a green towel. Unaware of what was coming, I walked out to meet her… and stopped dead in my tracks.

The girl was speaking.. I saw her mouth moving but I didn’t hear a word she said. Sure enough, the thing in the towel was Gilly Bagoon. I stared in shock as the girl set him down on the floor of the garage. I noticed that Gilly’s head had an odd tilt to the left as he limped slowly toward me.

The girl kept speaking. Something about injuries and inner ear damage..? I think I managed to thank her before she left.

After the initial shock, my thoughts went immediately to Patricia. We brought Gilly with us when we picked her up from school. It was a magnificent reunion.. and when we got home Patricia scooped Gilly under her arm and marched into the house without hesitation.

And then I remembered my father! I had to warn him of what was waiting for him when he got home! This was long before the age of cellphones, so I desperately tried to reach him at work before he left.

It was too late.

When I heard my father pull up in the driveway I ran to the door to intercept him, but Patricia was faster.

My father opened the door to my sister standing triumphantly in front of him with Gilly in her arms.

“GILLY’S ALIVE NOW!” she declared, “YOU SAID HE COULD LIVE IN THE HOUSE!”

My poor father.

Somehow, he managed to say the words:

“Yes. Yes, of course he can.”

Promises kept.

 

 

 

 

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Golf Pencils and the Art of Restaurant Dining

I usually don’t like going out to eat.

But, much to my delight..

a waiter handed me a piece of paper

and a little golf pencil.

I’d rather draw

than order antipasti.

.

.

 

Negative Space and the Art of Being Yourself

 

The Church of Instinct, As Above So Below and From the Old House by Michele Bledsoe

Just as the negative space

around an object

will define its shape..

You can tell a lot about a person

by what they like.

These things reveal something about us..

 

But art is different.

 

More than just a human-shaped outline

formed by the things we respond to..

When you create art

it IS you.

 

 

Steve Gompf, Oreo Cookies and the Art of Constructive Criticism

Portrait of Steve Gompf by Michele Bledsoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2018, the world lost a great artist

and I lost my friend.

A true creative genius..

Steve Gompf was one of the most wildly imaginative

and passionate artists I have ever known..

and he taught me the true meaning

of constructive criticism.

 

When we shared a gallery years ago

my work had become very gray.

Soft tones and faded colors..

I was struggling with my palette

and I had lost my way.

It was Steve who brought me back.

 

Wonderfully eccentric,

playful and engaging..

Steve was also as blunt as a sledgehammer.

 

He marched up to my work

and held an Oreo cookie against a “dark” area

in one of my paintings..

“That’s not dark!” he exclaimed,

THIS is dark.”

I was floored.

He was absolutely right.

After this artistic epiphany

my work improved dramatically.

 

When Steve asked me to paint his portrait

I had no words..

but I was thrilled at the opportunity

to pour out my love and gratitude

in a way we would both understand.

Remodern America and the Art of Divine Intervention

 

My husband Richard’s book is now available on Amazon.

Remodern America is educational, entertaining and inspiring..

Almost equally inspiring is the story behind the book.

It is an epic tale of detached retinas,

aquariums

and divine intervention..

but most of all,

it is a love story.

 

Shared Studios and the Art of Talking to Yourself

“And Then You Blink” by Michele Bledsoe

My husband and I paint back to back in our home studio.

We listen to music, we talk to each other..

and we talk to ourselves.

“Why are you still using this brush?” I scold myself in disbelief.

“#$%*@! Yes, yes… oompa loompa!” Richard shouts enthusiastically.

It is a strange disjointed conversation..

punctuated by wordless grunts

sentence fragments

and a variety of hoots

howls and whistles.

 

We are still in the same room

but we are gone.

Lost in our own worlds

just as it should be.