Inspired by Rene Magritte’s surrealism, we have the opportunity with this great painting to think about the realism behind it. How many men kiss women dreaming of kissing someone else, and vice versa? What are the minimum standards of a loveable person these days? How big should the lips, the breast, the six packs be? How long should the eyelashes be? What should the skin tone be? How much are we seeing beyond the flesh, or are we even looking in the first place? Is love forbidden to the ordinary-looking person? Is a true love kiss that way out of reach?
The sheets on the faces act like masks we use every day to hide a person we might not feel so proud of. Are the sheets kissing in this painting? Has it ever occurred to you that this is who I am and to hell with who likes the way I look or not? Or do you lean more towards ‘Am I lean enough?’ ‘Am I tall enough?’ ‘Am I muscular enough?’ or ‘Am I sexy enough?’ And you waste your life trying to feel worthy, when you have always been.
Think of two people you might know; you feel that something is not adding up between these two people. How on earth are they still living with each other? It is obvious that he has a mistress, and that she has a lover, but they are still with each other pretending to be happy, but can anyone be happy like that? What’s the story behind their staying with each other? Is it their children? Are they going to break up after their children grow? Is it just a whim and they will make it up later? Can they still forgive each other afterwards? What might be a turning point for them? Do they really love those other people they are having an affair with? Whose fault is or was it? Why does each of them think he/she is right? Well, all these questions might be as obvious as everyday stories, but what is the new thing you are going to uncover in this relationship that is worthy of being put in a story everyone would want to read?
Can anything else, other than a family disaster, bring them back closer to each other? Can they ever take off these sheets and meet each other again, just like the first time? Can they still find that spark that made them love each other in the first place? Will they decide to leave each other and that’s it? Will they need to break up to know what they are missing and how much they mean to each other? Again, some other typical questions to ask, but what really matters is where you stand, and what you want to say in a story like this.
Write a short story, or a poem about what you can discern from this painting and share a link to your story with us here on Danny B. You can be generous and share a link to this writing prompt on your website or your social media.