“The Green Expanse” by Mike Kaspar from Educe Literary Journal Issue Four, Spring 2013. Edited by Carrie Seymour.

Russell is an artist. He’s also half of a couple with Damon. As with all people, and especially all couples, his life is a perpetual balancing act. He has to continually re-evaluate which compromises are worth making and which are not. Sure, Damon has habits that set his teeth on edge, but “their relationship was dominated by times of accord rather than discord” and “they both fiercely protected this sanctuary they’d created together.” Yes, working temp jobs takes time aware from his art, but not starving does have its merits.

A fine arts painter, he is purposefully contemplative. Russell is nothing if not aware. He taps into memories in order to create his art and to better understand himself. At the start of the piece he’s just had a near death experience, and nothing brings things into focus quite like that. It shakes up his art and leaves him temporarily unable to create, but ultimately he perseveres and is better for the experience.

I deeply enjoyed this study of the nature of perception.