The Story Behind the Story: The Portrait

I've never been much of a fan of Pablo Picasso's work. His cubist paintings, especially, sail right over my head. (The only exception to that is his mural Guernica, which I don't completely understand but I totally get the message.) So, when a friend invited me to go with her to the Picasso Exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago last year, I surprised myself when I accepted the invitation.

The idea was to meet up with a group of her writer friends, tour the exhibit, have lunch, and then write something inspired by the exhibit. Knowing how I felt about Picasso, I did not have high hopes for being inspired.

I was wrong.

The train ride from Chicago to my suburb takes a little less than an hour and 20 minutes. My friend's stop came first, about 45 minutes into the ride. I had another 30 minutes or so until my stop. That's when my Muse hit me with a bolt of lightning. By the time the train pulled into the station, I had my story.

That night, I played with it and polished it, but in essence, it was done. I had "The Portrait."

Which just goes to show: sometimes inspiration can come from the places you least expect.

Click here to read "The Portrait."