I am sure I have mentioned, at some time or another, how long I have lived in this house, nearly 38 years. I write this that you may understand how there exists many ‘time capsules’ within these walls, for I am far too sentimental to toss much. Anyway, I was putting Christmas wrap and ribbons away yesterday in this tiny room that first was my bedroom closet and then served as a nursery for the twins and then a nursery for Elizabeth. It is now one of those “time capsule”/craft rooms. Within the corners of this space, are old letters, letters from my grandmothers, old boyfriends, my mother, sister, and brother. I intend, one day, to reread them…ha!
Amongst the ripped open envelopes and ‘sealed with a kiss’ letters was a small journal dated 1974. I was a college student then and, of course, there was no social media, no “universe” to put thoughts into, so, I wrote them down in journals…imagine. I was studying painting at LSU and had just returned from a semester in Nice, France. Vincent Van Gogh was one of my favorite artists (still is) and I had just read Lust for Life and physically stood before The Starry Night and cried.
The experience of seeing his painting was monumental, for as I said, there was no social media. I had read about him and looked at black and white paintings in my art history book and then, there it was…The Starry Night hanging on a wall at the Museum of Modern Art…I am convinced that this feeling was so powerful because this painting was only in this physical place…The Starry Night was not ‘exhibited’ all over the internet and commercialized…there was only this real painting and I was standing in front of it…absolutely, I cried.
I could go into a rant right here about over commercialism and desensitization, but I will not. Instead, I will copy 2 entries from my journal from 1974…a time when art was real, letters were written, and journals were kept. Thankfully, Vincent did not have a smart phone or these letters to his brother Theo might not have existed…
I speak boldly to myself with these words, for I am guilty of using the internet for all correspondence. I continue to do this even though I understand how much I cherish these old letters from my mother, letters written in her hand on pieces of paper she had handy with simple messages she wanted to tell; each one signed ‘Love, mom’…treasures, I fear will soon be unknown to most.
Letters to Theo
“Indeed, I believe that there will come a time when it will not be necessary for me to earn a living in any other way than by painting,”
“I must also have a starry night with cypresses, or perhaps surmounting a field of ripe corn…I am in a continual fever of work.”
Sadly, for Vincent, the first wish never came true, but, thankfully, for all of us, the second one did.
Photo from Radio Monte Carlo.net and The Art Post Blog