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July 17, 2010

By vocation, the man was a writer of books but his avocation was painting of landscapes, nature, and whatever else he could see from the porch. The books were great sellers, a point always noted in the letter that accompanied his annual financial statement. The letter was always worded in a way that hinted he ought to write more books while the money was good. This didn’t concern him though, since the books were so closely related to his mood and wasn’t something that you could command yourself to do. Without his winter writing, he once thought, he would certainly fall into a deep, dark hole of depression that probably would require him to be institutionalized. Winter can do that to you if you don’t have a driving desire of purpose, he noted in his journal.

If the writing kept him sane, then you could say that the painting, on the other hand, was his true source of happiness. He never let himself consider it to be anything more than a hobby even though he had once sold a collection of them to someone in New York. The agent was surprised at the quality and after collecting a hefty commission, set out to encourage him to paint more. He continued the painting but never bothered to ship another canvas. It would be pointless to think of yourself as a painter if you painted the same subjects over and over again, he reasoned. So he painted the annual springs and summers that were viewed from the front porch, then stored them all in the house. During his winter writing season, they would serve to provide cheer to every room that he entered. Without the paintings and the writing, he would indeed go mad.