Helena brought home a drawing this week that at first glance seemed unremarkable. I will not reproduce it in its entirety here, for you would only be awed by its unremarkableness. It has me and her, and a third little girl she has a fondness for from the daycare, all holding hands, with flowy hair, bright eyes, flitty dresses, waltzing through fields of flowers and butterflies.
But the sly grin with which Helena presented it demanded I take a closer look.
It's overlaid with a darkness, a black sun and a lot of brown. My raised eyebrow is returned with her mischievous glint, but she lets me in on the secret: les mots de toilette.
Inspired by a sudden scarcity in crayon colour options, her artistic endeavour is a test of societal boundaries as well as an exercise in Oulipian constraint.
The idyllic scene is strewn with pieces of garbage, covered in shit, and ants, and worms, and all things brown. (These are also numbered, as if to keep them distinct from the "real" picture. Like footnotes, but without any text accompanying them.)
I ask her about one wholly unrecognizable form, with small dots trailing alongside. She blushes. "Des foufounes. Avec des gouttes de pipi."
The detail shown here is a burp. A brown circle for an open mouth, a pink round of tongue, and a dot of black as the burp's essence.
How would you draw a burp?