The Artist Who Paints Sunflowers (Short Story)

My therapist told me – for once – write a happy story.

What a writing prompt for a gloom and doom writer such as myself. A difficult task, I’ll admit, what with all the death and tragedy and misfortune in the world. I sat at my writing desk, pouring a glass of whisky and pushing notes of cynicism aside. Like some Peter Pan, I instead grasped for blissful thoughts.

Then, I thought of Gertrude. A friend, you could say.

A twinkling lost soul in a lost generation. Worries never seem to stain her coat. I can’t recall where she lives, but wherever it is, summer is eternal. Her life is simple. Perched on her sunny balcony like an exotic parrot, she paints flowers at her wooden easel. Daisies, roses, poppies. Sunflowers are her favorite.

When Gertrude laughs, her head tilts back and expels champagne bubbles from her lungs. With Sinatra crooning through the radio, she slow dances with lovers in the living room. She relishes even the most boring of dinner conversation. A nymph perfectly content with simply existing.

Every morning, she returns to that easel, a servant to the art. She makes love to colors on a blank canvas. Gold drips from her paintbrush. Satisfaction curves her lips into a smile. Leaning back with a mugful of coffee, she appreciates her painting. A sunflower smiles back at her.

My darling Gertrude is fictional.

A mere wisp of delight on a page. Although I would not be surprised if some form of Gertrude walks the Earth today, an artist who paints sunflowers on a light soaked balcony. Still, there is a joy that comes with flights of fiction, isn’t there?

Perhaps my therapist was right about these so-called happy stories.


Wrote this story back in 2020. Needed a dose of delight this week. Hope you enjoy!

What’s one fictional character that makes you smile? Lemme know in the comments.

Write with heart.

– Lady Jabberwocky

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