June 5th, 2007
The Blonde was in the tent, tall and lean, in the soft dark tent with the rest of us. We sat on cushions and blankets in a circle.
I felt strong & eager. My name was chosen for me: Garantan. Our names were created by the Blonde, based on nothing we were allowed to know.
Outside the snow was everywhere, fine & powdery & always falling. It felt like Maine, but no one knew for sure where we were.
Details emerged: we had been flown up to this wooded place: $1000 apiece to be a part of the colony. One by one we were to be eliminated until only the winner was left. We didn’t know what was to be won. We just knew there had been no other option but to accept this and come.
And so this name-choosing in this tent, this was part of the introductory ceremonies. The Blonde presided over them all. We feared her and wanted her, all of us, regardless of age or sex.
The days passed and I felt so radiant, so connected with everyone in the colony, even as I knew we’d soon be trying to outdo and eliminate each other with whatever viciousness was required of us. This harmony was in my skin and fingers. I wanted everyone’s eyes and laughter, even their hidden feelings, their secret hates. I wanted more and more of it. I wasn’t afraid of anything.
And yet I knew what my flaws had been. I knew in the beginning I had been almost pompous where everyone else had been humble. When I’d chosen my sacred words to represent me, I had picked colorful, audacious words, uncaring. And it had been noticed.
Still, I was often shy & scared, and I didn’t mind showing it. I got closer to people through this, and I knew it helped me advance further in the competition. I didn’t want to bury anyone, just paint as loudly as possible while exulting in everyone else’s colors too.
Time passed and I realized how many people from my daily life were there: coworkers, neighbors. So many faces I recognized. And as the contest drew closer to its end, our ideas of our importance swelled.