An Artist Looks at a Writing Spider With a Different Point of View

Even though it was long ago I can still picture the lady. She was bent over and wrinkled. Her skin looked like aged leather. She had a cane that had been carved from a stick that was also bent and twisted from growing with a vine wrapped around it. I was a five-year-old boy growing up in the rural south and I was busy watching, noticing, and learning about the wonders around me.

It is a vivid memory. I was crouched down staring at a most peculiar spider which was spinning a most peculiar web when I heard the old lady’s most peculiar voice as she said, “Don’t point at it.”

“What?” I asked as my hand began moving up to point at the spider. My hand was gently pushed aside by the lady’s cane.

“That’s a writing spider,” she said. “If you point at her she will write your name in the web and you will die.”

Writing spider weaving its web

Writing spider weaving its web

That’s all I remember about that particular conversation but I filed the information in my mind under the category of “things not to do.” At that age, that particular category was not over-crowded. I was brave, terribly brave, and I was much more interested in finding things to do than in finding things not to do. I was definitely not interested in dying because I pointed at a writing spider. I had pirates to sword fight with and dragons to slay. I had paint to spill and track all over the hardwood floors and I had a charred stick that I had rescued from a trash fire that I would use to practice my writing lessons on my grandmother’s white carpet. Yes, I was busy. I had no time to be pointing at spiders.

Thirty years flew by and I was walking around one day with my son, J.R. There was a basic difference in J.R. and I in that I looked at things with the literal leanings of a writer and he was an artist. Actually, J.R., at the age of five, was already an accomplished artist and I have found out over the years that an artist looks at things with a different point of view. As we walked along that day I saw a writing spider. I told J.R. to put his hands in his pockets. He did. Then I told him about pointing at a writing spider. I passed on what the old lady had told me when I was about his age. And, believe me, I made sure he didn’t point at that spider. I didn’t want him to die from a spider pointing while I was in charge—what would I tell his mother?

Then, thirty more years went by like a bat out of hell and J.R. is now recognized as an accomplished artist and he has a home of his own. He also has a new daughter. I like to visit him every now and then. I was visiting him yesterday when he told me about his new pet. It was a writing spider that was building a web on the glass door leading to the deck. He crouched down to study the web and to see how it was developing.

"Isn't she beautiful?" he asked, showing me his pet writing spider

“Isn’t she beautiful?” he asked, showing me his pet writing spider

“I’ve been feeding it and watching it,” he said. “I’ve always wanted a pet writing spider. My wife is not impressed or excited about it.”

He thought for a moment and looked over at me. “You know, Dad, I never told you because I didn’t want you to worry but after you told me about writing spiders, I wasn’t all that much afraid of dying, I just wanted to see a spider write my name. I used to point at them all the time and I never died and they never once wrote my name in the web. But I still like to watch.”

I cringed as, with a devil-may-care attitude, he pointed directly at the writing spider

I cringed as, with a devil-may-care attitude, he pointed directly at the writing spider

 

Thanks for visiting johntheplantman

I paint pictures with words.

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Margaret
    Sep 28, 2014 @ 16:16:48

    I like your story about the writing spider. Mawi

    Reply

  2. Lucile S. Cobb
    Sep 28, 2014 @ 16:37:05

    Good one, love it.

    Sent from my iPad L. S. Cobb

    >

    Reply

  3. Paul Moses
    Sep 28, 2014 @ 16:47:20

    John, What a wonderful story. I was told the same myth as a child and I can remember believing it whole-heatedly. Last summer a huge writing spider took up residence across my back door. I locked the door and told my family not to open it. It was a French door so I watched the spider through the glass every morning while I drank my first cup of coffee. It was a truly beautiful creature. The spider was there every morning for about three weeks and then one mining it was gone. That was a sad cup of coffee. Paul

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Reply

  4. pbmgarden
    Sep 28, 2014 @ 16:48:14

    Great story. I had a writing spider in the garden a few weeks ago–they’re pretty intimidating at first.

    Reply

  5. Shari Evans
    Sep 30, 2014 @ 14:55:09

    Love that story, John! I had never heard the myth about pointing at a writing spider and had, indeed, never even seen one until we moved to this house. I really don’t care much for spiders and really hate it when I walk into their webs. This has been a particularly bad year for that as it seems there are more spider webs out there than usual this Fall. But I have yet to see a writing spider this Fall. That is the one kind of web that I welcome, as long as it isn’t in the way of my everyday movements. I always welcome them in my garden where they eat lots of bugs. Spider webs are quite interesting but the writing spider’s are definitely the coolest!

    Reply

  6. Karin
    Oct 05, 2014 @ 12:37:05

    I hope the frost will get that spider before he has a chance to write your name. If not – you will be missed!

    Reply

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