Vincent's Yellow

a[n] [auto]biography and a love story.

Here we go…

But I must continue on the path I have taken now; if I do nothing, if I don’t study, if I stop searching, then I am lost, in misery. That is how I see things, persevere, persevere, that is what I must do. But what is you final goal, you may ask. That goal is becoming more clear, it will take shape slowly but surely, as the scribble becomes a sketch becomes a painting. As one works more seriously, and embroiders on the initially vague idea, the thought at first volatile and transient – until it takes on a concrete form.

Vincent van Gogh, July 1880

I opened a book this morning at the beautiful Deering Library at Northwestern University, and these were the first words I read. I thought it was quite fitting, given that today, as another playwright put it, the great work begins! By that, I mean I have begun a focused writing regimen of going to the library every morning (since I work in the afternoons), which includes voluntarily getting up at 7am. Not something I generally embrace.

Why do this to myself? Well, I have a self-imposed deadline to finish the first draft of the play, Vincent’s Yellow, by the end of the month. It’s necessary given the decision that the play will happen this summer. I spent all last weekend typing up all the various scenes I had tucked away in different journals, and all the ideas that I have been conjouring up for almost four years now. Yes, I remember it was April 2006 when I first stood in the Musee d’Orsay and my heart began to pound wildly. It still strikes me that that day I wrote in my journal that I had fallen in love with Van Gogh… Though really it was Vincent.

You see, for quite some time, as I read Vincent’s letters, it seemed there were two people existing: this idea of the man “Van Gogh”, and then the man who wrote these exquisite letters. Then I read his letter from 25 March 1888:

But — although this time it makes no difference at all — in the future my name must be put in the catalogue the way I sign it on the canvases, i.e. Vincent and not Vangogh, for the excellent reason that people here wouldn’t be able to pronounce that name.

A perfect metaphor for the misunderstanding of his character. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that he signed all his paintings Vincent, signs his letters Vincent, and yet we keep calling the guy Van Go — not even pronouncing it correctly (as was his very fear). Since then, I started calling him Vincent exclusively — except when people might not understand who I was talking about.

So, it was Vincent who took the blinders off my eyes, showing me color and Beauty. If it weren’t for him I never could have taken this video, of the sun emerging from behind the clouds on my last day in Amsterdam, and revealing one tree’s true colors.

The difference between dark and light often reminds me of the difference between a lot of art, and Vincent’s…

So one last thing before I go, Reader, I wanted to ask you: what would you like me to write about? My travels throughout Europe have, since I started this website, dominated the discussion. I’d really like a bit more dialogue between us, ideally, and fewer monologues.

Do you have any questions? Do you want to hear more about my writing? My research? I can easily continue on, giving you fun and (hopefully) meaningful tidbits as I go, but I would love to hear from you.

Please, let me know. It gets a little lonesome on this side of the screen sometimes… :)

Mon, January 11 2010 » Personal, Research

3 Responses

  1. Timmy Caldwell January 16 2010 @ 18:19

    I would like to see some of your poetry on the site, especially pieces inspired by Vincent and art.

  2. Amaia January 17 2010 @ 16:28

    Teresita, enhorabuena!!!
    Me encanta Vicent’s Yellow!
    Me encanta tu escritura llena de sentimiento.
    Me encanta el respeto y cariño con el que hablas de Vicent.
    Me conmueve, me sugiere…
    Sigue adelante!

  3. Teresa January 26 2010 @ 11:05

    Amaia – no te dije pero… me habias puesto super feliz con tu comento. Mil gracias por leer, y por decirlo…

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