Vincent's Yellow

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


Dear Reader,

I have felt many things over the past few weeks, and it’s made it difficult to clear my head enough to speak clearly here. I regret if my straying has made your curiosity wane (almost a rhyme there), it was not intentional. The other problem has been that my mother and I were commissioned to write a new project – a musical telling the history of flamenco – and not only was I not ready to start a new project, I never finished digesting the end of this one.

photography by Shannon O'Neil

To do Vincent’s Yellow, to offer up such intimate, deep matters for the eyes of all, one must create a wound. After exposing myself like this over and over, my desire is usually to heal, to curl up and – in brief – not to be on display anymore. For the sake of posting on this website, that side effect of performance was not helpful.

I also was distracted by the attention: negative attention that made me question the quality of my work (and my self-image as artist), positive attention that encouraged an encore – to tour, to restage, to re-do. But after much thought, I see I am not ready for this. In fact, I don’t truly *desire* to perform Vincent’s Yellow in the near future. I have been encouraged by many to do so, I have been offered opportunities that make me feel like a fool for rejecting. But my spirit calls – like a distant siren – for my book. I have the building blocks for it strewn all around me. It was always my plan to mount the play, then write the book.

I know I will perform Vincent’s Yellow again. And it will be even better then, more complete after my full journey.

photography by Shannon O'Neil

The truth is, I was always closest to him on the page…

Vincent has not left my side. He encourages me onward, reminds me to listen to my heart, he remains my mentor. He continues to whisper great wisdom all the time through the quotes from his letters I continue to post on facebook and twitter, whenever I can remember… On my desk now, in front of my keyboard lays a note card with words of his I am considering painting large, on my wall:

The weathercocks don’t make the wind east or north, any more than opinions make the truth true.

–Vincent 4 January 1884

I know, deep down, my show was more ritual than story. It showed, to a degree, what all this has been for me, but not all that will be in the book. The book will be more. The book will be travelogue, scrapbook, journal, letter… The book will be all.

I want you to know, Reader, that I have already chosen how I will mark the moment when I am finally done creating at the feet of Vincent van Gogh. I will get a tattoo of his work, a drawing of his cypresses (the painting that I have undoubtedly spent the most time staring at, sighing in front of).

thanks to

The tree will begin at my right heel, and swirl up the back of my calf. His signature will be put, simply, along the outside edge of my foot. It will be him with me always, it will be tying my bones to nature (the nature he taught me to recognize that I’ve always seen), and it will make me a tree walking. I do this for him, for me, and because my plan is to grow ever higher, to reach my roots down ever deeper, and to blossom for decades.

That is what Vincent taught me to do.

I thank you deeply for reading, and I promise there’s more to come very soon.

[production photos from Vincent’s Yellow, as seen above, are available for viewing in the new Production Photos gallery!]


Van Gogh’s Popcorn (aka social riffing on VG — a new section!)

Elizabeth Taylor gets to keep her Van Gogh painting despite a controversy over its Nazi confiscation

thanks to

A Starry Night Themed Wedding (an idea brought to my attention by Michelle‘s comment on the last post, thank you!)

thanks to

A Starry Night Hall

thanks to

In case you wonder why I care about these things, I see them as proof of the reach of Vincent’s influence. I know he would be confused and astonished by them… These events and images remind me of the power one artist can have, if she or he works honestly and beautifully enough.

Wed, November 17 2010 » Personal, Popular Culture, Theater piece

2 Responses

  1. Timmy Caldwell November 17 2010 @ 14:33

    By the time I reached the last line, I had goosebumps, and some sadness, and some happiness too. Congratulations on everything you achieved.

    I hope you know how remarkable this journey has been for those of us (like me) who have been lucky to be around for part of the process.

  2. Teresa December 14 2010 @ 23:42

    Somehow I didn’t see this comment until now.

    I’m glad you have enjoyed the journey. It’s been quite a big one.

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