He set up his work outside.
Right outside the window of his room, that looked out onto the street.
He bought a canvas with his penny bank money.
He’d set the canvas outside and would then run back to his room and watch.
Waiting for the passersby.
Waiting to see how they reacted to it.
Smiles. Laughs. Scoffs. Admiration.
He kept a tally.
Marking off his guess at how they were responding – guessing because he could never know for sure.
Keeping their scores so that at the end of the day he would know how to feel about what he had put out there.
He started doing this after the few times that he had shown his family his work.
He got a pat on the head from them, or no reaction at all.
The nothingness left him feeling blank.
And because he didn’t know to trust the very thing that called him to paint, he went out searching.
Waiting for the approval or rejection from others to determine the value of his own creation.