Make Me a Mondrian: Corrupted at Last

split tree

Picture corrupted.

23,229 times over.

It’s not always easy to identify the dog that did not bark–or, in this case, which digital pictures among a cast of tens of thousands have disappeared and cannot be put together again.

I realized my little yellow bird was gone.  He had flown away into the ether. All that remains is one long-range shot of him warbling into a late spring wind from atop a dogwood dotted with hints of budding lime leaves.

I managed to accidentally erase from my computer every single JPG photo file, including thousands I foolishly–not having adequately absorbed my lesson–had not yet siphoned onto an external hard drive.

Apparently I have an internal “shadow drive,” which was the first attempted excavation site. Nothing. Zip.

Three increasingly desperate and expensive attempts to reconstruct pictures from my camera’s memory card ensued.  To find my little bird friend I ultimately clicked one-by-one through 28,040 files.  But he was among those which have gone, gone away.  Not a single brilliant yellow feather.

The bird’s portraits were among the lost.

But I found in my camera’s jumbled memories some glorious vistas I had never beheld, and which would not exist now but for my egregious mistakes.



Like the orange light in between a red “stop” and a green “go,” apparently there is an interim world between a successfully reconstructed image and an irrevocable “no picture available.”

Evidently abhorring a vacuum, shards of partially reconstructed pictures were switched around like puzzle pieces.  It is as if my computer were trying desperately to please me, to assemble fractured images into a whole–an unexpected and bright new reality supplanting the one I hazily remember.  Perhaps it is merely a technological artifact that the breakdowns are more common and surreal as I go back in time through those files.



A tree’s roots split off into equal portions of two blazing red sunsets.  Bricks slough off from their landscapes and gather together in walls of intense violet-blue or orange.  Slivers of sea and sky from different seasons are sorted and stacked into a Mondrian… and several Rothkos.  Portions of structures are transformed into neon matte colors, like a Warhol screen print.

Would a sane person have done any of this? Could I perhaps just have gone back to the grassy marsh and hoped to find another little yellow friend?

This jaunty bird was special.  Sometimes I am called–most often by birds–to make detours. Last weekend my subconscious spun me considerably out of my way, towards a stretch of the Atlantic where I’d never set foot.  The weekend before Memorial Day no on else was in sight.  And there he was: a single plump fellow singing out to the rising sun, calling out to his tribe, a lone bright dab of yellow in a tea-dyed marsh.

He’ll remain a sunny blur in my own shadowed memory.





Author: Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She attended law school near the the banks of the Charles River and loves that dirty water; she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter and @schnitzelpond on Instagram. Bonus points for anyone who understands the Instagram handle. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2023 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with the wee Wordpress buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.

10 thoughts on “Make Me a Mondrian: Corrupted at Last”

    1. Live and learn! 🙂 I’m still working on that glass-half-full thing, but I have to admit my computer came up with some wild and interesting artwork.

  1. I had a blast of fresh art with this post. You and your camera make a grrreat partnership. It some how reminds me of Wally Gilbert’s art work — his photographs . have inspired his art work — he has gone from Nobel physicist to almost-abstract artist — he creates art with his photographs of buildings. He is an incredibly successful artist now. Read his wikipedia entry.. You are a fantastic person. Thanks for being such special and talented human being. Have fun!

  2. LOVE

    On Sun, May 29, 2016 at 7:50 PM, Love in the Spaces wrote:

    > Stephanie posted: ” Picture corrupted. 23,229 times over. It’s not always > easy to identify the dog that did not bark–or, in this case, which digital > pictures among a cast of tens of thousands have disappeared and cannot be > put together again. I realized my litt” >

  3. I feel for you, Stephanie. Looks like it is time to make new memories.
    Good luck on the techno side.

    1. I actually prefer many of these pieces of artificially intelligent art to the pictures I took 🙂 Maybe the little yellow bird was leading me somewhere unexpectedly abstract.

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