How to Paint Your Spirit Animal

I went to a painting class called Paint Your Pet. I can't paint. I have a pet. The way it goes, you send in a photo of your pet beforehand, and then someone sketches the outline of your pet, and then you show up for the painting class. That way, your pet doesn't look like an alien blob. We were instructed to paint the background first. I did mine: blue and green. Then I looked around and saw that almost everyone else had a blue and green background. Initially, I'd wanted to paint the background jet black, but I hadn't. Now I was sorry. Then it was time to paint the body. So I painted part of the dog's body black. (The dog isn't black.) I didn't like that. Now I had a boring background and a black dog. So I took a bunch of black paint and a bunch of red paint, and I swirled them together, and I painted everything on the canvas other than the dog's eyes, and nose, and tongue this color. At some point, the instructor came by and indicated that what I had done was wrong. I got the sense that he thought what I had done was bad. He didn't like what I had done, I surmised. So I told him something like this is where I was going, so I was going to go there. He didn't really say anything, or maybe he said something; I don't remember. It seemed like I had to wait forever to do the eyes, and the nose, and the tongue, but when I did them, I made the dog have crazy red eyes, and a swirly orange noise, and a weirdly pink tongue. By now, the instructor was avoiding me. Everyone else had followed the directions. I guess they had taken the assignment of painting your pet literally. They had nice looking paintings, but I was unaware what it was they were trying to represent. Sometimes in my fiction, a crazed black dog with wild eyes and a lolling tongue will present itself, and I guess that's what I was trying to paint. I was trying to be creative. I think I succeeded.

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