Vincent's Yellow

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

The View

I have found it difficult to answer that question: how does it feel? And I’ve been asked it more than a few times. It feels weird. It feels amazing. I am proud of what I’ve done. I think it was good. Perhaps, unusually good.

I keep returning to Vincent’s phrase: “A canvas that I cover is worth more than a blank canvas.” I think I feel somewhat similarly.

It’s only now that I feel the benefit of some perspective. Even so, I feel silly talking at all. I learned many, many things. I learned the things I need that I thought I could get away without. I learned a good bit about my writing. I learned a good bit about performing my writing. I will still learn many more things in the months to come. My journal is full of reflections. I will keep looking back for some time now, I know.

For if I dove head-first down an ancient roaring waterfall, if I spent years mapping its terrain so that I might reveal its surprising depths and shallows (but not lose my head), if I then made that dive 16 times between July 29th and August 31st this year, then now I sit on the shore and consider it all once more — this time, seeing the entirety; this time, knowing it in my bones.

photography by Shannon O'Neil

During the run, I listened intently and quietly to the opinions of those around me who saw. I tried to absorb their points of view, and let them impact me. It is hard to know what is right, who is right, when opinions contradict, clash… the cacophony became dizzying at points. But there is always room for improvement, so I listen. I will keep listening to their words, and someday I’ll look at the script again and improve it.

This is not the end, but a new beginning for Vincent’s Yellow. I would like to tour with the show. To the Northeast (I’m thinking Massachusetts and New York City), and to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Of course, now I’m back in the position of the penniless artist, so we’ll have to wait and see what’s possible and when.

I am also going to begin the labor of putting the book together. I have many writings from the past four years since I met you, Vincent. It’s time to gather together the pieces – and bring in history, and myth, and you as well – and design the puzzle of a book I have in my head. It will stand as a tribute to the journey, to you, to a path not often chosen.

When I talk to people about how I feel about you, Vincent, there is one description that I think does it best: You are a man who took a path I always wanted to take but was too scared to choose. Your letters are a traveler’s diary, they showed me it could be done and warned of the ramparts that would have to be scaled. Your life speaks of the sacrifice necessary. Your myth reveals the rewards. Make art honestly, beautifully, with your whole spirit… and humanity will hear you. What you make may become eternal.

I will do my best from now on to remain faithful, dedicated. I am on the path.

What am I in the eyes of most people? A nonentity or an oddity or a disagreeable person — someone who has and will have no position in society, in short a little lower than the lowest.

Very well — assuming that everything is indeed like that, then through my work I’d like to show what there is in the heart of such an oddity, such a nobody.

This is my ambition, which is based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion.

Even though I’m often in a mess, inside me there’s still a calm, pure harmony and music.

Vincent van Gogh, 21 July 1882

Thu, September 9 2010 » Personal, Theater piece

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