Vincent's Yellow

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


August 25th, 2009
Hotel, first night in Arles

I had a dream where I time traveled. However, this was no run of the mill time travel. I used no power other than my own force, my will power. I sat in a room and said to myself, I will go back thirty years to before I was born – 1979 – and I had some things to tell my parents. It was my first attempt, a first test. The room began to swirl, my heart pounded, I fell to the ground. I felt myself continuing to fall and fall, down through a series of spirals, then climbing up to a plateau. All this time I never physically left the room, my oldest friend sat there and watched me. It was as though the room had turned into a falling elevator – but she felt nothing.

Once I had recovered, was on said “plateau,” I began to write. I said nothing to my friend, but scribbled notes nonstop. She asked me if I was okay, I nodded gruffly. My head was somewhere between the past and present, what I wrote could affect the past. I took notes on truths I discovered, about what my parents did or thought. My words created the past, changed the past, knew the past like I never could…

Perhaps someone else out there knows what I mean when I say that writing is time travel – particularly nonfiction. I feel that I have always tried to bring my reader into my skin with my work, but with the subject of Vincent van Gogh, well… If his paintings transport me, then my writing must transport you too, Reader. If his licks of paint touch me through the threshold of his paintings, I must bring your cheek within his reach. The more I write about him, the more I have come to understand his spirit. It is not the details of his life so much that interest me, nor the details of his paintings, nor of his fame. I gather all those pieces, and bend them into mirrors. I use them to reflect his light from around the sphere.

For look: people used to think that the earth is flat. That was true, and still is today, of, say Paris to Asnieres.
But that does not alter the fact that science demonstrates that the earth as a whole is round, something nobody nowadays disputes.
For all that, people still persist in thinking that life is flat and runs from birth to death.
But life too, is probably round, and much greater in scope and possibilities than the hemisphere we now know.
– Vincent van Gogh, June 1888

The sentence I usually use to describe Vincent’s Yellow is that it’s about Vincent van Gogh, and the relationship I feel I have with him. I was recently asked if I feel that relationship existed when he was alive too.

Here’s the funny thing about coincidences: as they increase in quantity, they transform. A few years ago, I would have been wildly skeptical of most of the things I now say with ease, but Vincent, and Yellow, have stretched me. I have not seen his ghost, but I have felt his heat. I have had coincidences build up beyond reason. I don’t have a name for what’s going on, but I assure you, it exists. In reaching towards Vincent, I reached towards Nature, towards the Sun and the stars, towards the past, towards something greater and higher. Something has reached back and holds on to me, and has made my path very clear. I have continued and will continue with this project, because I don’t see any other choice for me.

So my answer as to whether this relationship existed while Vincent was alive is simple. Knowing this connection exists, means I know it existed before me. If it existed before me, it certainly existed before him. Honestly, I think it is beyond time. I’m not sure where he is exactly, except that I feel him near.

But to look at the stars always make me dream, as simple as I dream over the black dots of a map representing towns and villages. Why, I ask myself, should the shining dots of the sky not be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? If we take the train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star.
-Vincent, July 1888

Mon, January 18 2010 » Personal, Research

3 Responses

  1. Judy Veramendi January 18 2010 @ 19:42

    Full of dreams and inspiration, this lifts us out of our present time into eternity…

  2. Timmy Caldwell January 18 2010 @ 23:09

    You sent me off into a reverie with this entry. Thank you for your exquisite words.

  3. Teresa January 19 2010 @ 00:13

    It was my pleasure. Thank you both for reading and responding. :)

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