monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

2 minutes reading time (399 words)

Thinking of My Opa

Opa is the Dutch word for grandfather. Though my opa died in 1977, I think about him almost every day. More than anyone else I knew when I was growing up, my opa was my role model. He was a painter who worked out of his house in Plandome, New York. In my mind, Opa was the ultimate artist. He even wore a cap that was a little like an artist's beret. (He also drove a yellow Stingray Corvette, but that is another story altogether.) Opa worked very hard. After breakfast every morning, he headed up to his studio. Sometimes, if I didn't bother him or try to engage him in conversation, he let me watch him while he worked. What fun it was to see him turn little lines into people and animals and places. Opa made being an artist seem romantic. In my mind, he was like a magician, only he used pen and ink and water colours instead of rabbits and top hats.

These days, I work in my own little office upstairs in my house, but I can't help thinking that my creative life isn't especially romantic. I do try to get myself to the computer early in the day -- though I exercise first, which Opa didn't (he might have lived longer if he had!) -- but then I just sit here and work and work, even when I don't really feel like it. Also, this summer, I am aiming to write a minimum of 500 words daily (1,000 is even better) and I suppose that is also not a very romantic way to go about doing something creative. But, oh well, it seems to work for me. And one thing I do remember about Opa is that in order to get one drawing, he often did many drawings -- some landed in his garbage can, he painted others over with white paint and re-did them many times, breathing heavily as he worked. So maybe despite his beret, Opa was just a plain hard worker, too.

Once, when I told Opa I wanted to be a writer, he gave me this advice: "It's not enough to have talent. You also have to have drive. The drive is as important as the talent." So, Opa, if you happen to be watching from heaven today, know that your granddaughter Monique continues to be inspired by your memory. 

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Guest - Kim on Tuesday, 10 June 2008 21:16

Aww.... that's a really cute story Although I do agree that your way of describing your writing hours lacks romance!

Aww.... that's a really cute story :) Although I do agree that your way of describing your writing hours lacks romance!
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