This is a warning to all who are considering Anita's invitation and Shiloh's challenge.
Willow charcoal is used by artists to lay out the first lines of a portrait. Thin and delicate, it breaks easily, but these very qualities ensure that the artist will employ a light touch. Lines must not be deeply etched into paper in solid black while an idea is being born or they will transfer from paper to eye, to brain and changes will be nearly impossible.
Charcoal can be smudged, erased with the touch of a finger tip. The shadows left behind remind the artist where he hopes to go but do not force him to go there.
Why am I telling you this? Because all the arts share things in common and there are places where the arts turn dark.
If you must write here in the Chamber, hurry on with your plot, keep it moving swiftly, don't linger over characters or concentrate on details! Do you ever wonder what Delphine looks like, what the exact shade of her hair is when she sits reading and the light hits it just so, or if she tilts her head when she hears a strange noise? Don't ponder these things! Do not use specific words to describe her or employ your other senses! You've asked yourself what scent she used, haven't you? I knew it! Do not explore this question or ask yourself about the quality of her voice, if it's low and mellifluous or high pitched and raspy.
You still don't understand. Let me tell you a story. I used to like to draw portraits. Used to. I would start with the eyes, the mirror of the soul, they say. I knew if I could get a likeness there, I'd have success with the whole face. I drew mostly children and older people, people I knew well. One day a friend asked me to draw a portrait of her boss from a photograph. As usual, I began with the eyes.
I felt them looking back at me, but I'd experienced this feeling before on good drawing days, so I didn't worry. When I got to the mouth I had some difficulties, a smile just wouldn't come, the lips refused and I erased over and over again. I decided to switch to the hair. That was when I swore the eyes blinked. I discounted it, of course, until the lips formed a smirk and the eyes blinked again. I threw my drawing pad down and fled into the kitchen. When I came back, I crumpled the paper and threw it and the photo in the waste basket, but every time I opened my pad again the face was back, angrier and more snarly than before.
I took everything, drawingpad, photo, and charcoal outside and and did the only thing I could think of; I set fire to them.
To this day I can't get the sound of those screams out of my head.