Whistler’s Mother’s Son
The painting known as Whistler’s Mother gave birth to a son, a painting of the painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler. The painting of Whistler, in turn, painted a painting of its mother, the painting of Whistler’s mother. This painting, the painting of the painting of Whistler’s mother, painted by the painting of Whistler the painter, gave birth, but this time to a daughter, a flesh and blood daughter who turned out to be the real-life Whistler’s mother. This daughter, Whistler’s mother, gave birth to a son named James Abbott McNeill Whistler, who immortalized her in a painting known as Arrangement in Gray and Black Number 1.
This story was first published in Whistler's Mother's Son, the author's short story collection, Pelekinesis, 2020.
Called “one of the innovators of the short short story” by Publishers Weekly, Peter Cherches’ most recent book is Tracks: Memoirs from a Life with Music (Bamboo Dart Press). His writing has appeared in scores of magazines, anthologies and websites, including Harper’s, Transatlantic Review, Flash, Bomb, Semiotext(e), and Fiction International, as well as Billy Collins’ Poetry 180 website and anthology. He has published three volumes of short prose fiction with Pelekinesis since 2013: Lift Your Right Arm, Autobiography Without Words, and Whistler’s Mother’s Son.
The Ekphrastic Review
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