Vincent's Yellow

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

Phases of the Artist

Dear Reader,

It has been too long. I wanted this entry to tell you that I have scans of all my writing about Vincent in my hands, that the truly creative work has begun. Unfortunately, my patience has been tested these past two months in the scanning of hundreds of documents, the resizing and cropping, the two printing companies that said they would not print my project, and the three rounds of reformatting as each company has their way of doing things.  A week ago I thought I would have to rescan every document;  I felt a kind of mental claustrophobia that I can’t remember ever feeling before. I finally settled on ordering about half my scans, and fixing the images and re-ordering as necessary.

I so desperately want to get to the meat of things, but the grunt work must come first. Only today I remembered Vincent’s frustration during the early years of his career as an artist, when he was mostly teaching himself (with a few mentors here and there) how to draw and paint… It continues to be so very remarkable to me how our thoughts mirror each other from over a century away.

But then I loathe myself so much for not being able to do what I’d like, and at such moments one feels as though one is bound hand and foot, lying in a deep, dark pit, powerless to do anything. Now it’s over, inasmuch as I got up last night and pottered around a bit, putting one thing and another in order… (26 January 1882 to Theo)

Yes. These are the highs and lows of creativity — confidence and passion sometimes drives you to utter despair when things won’t work. I’ve begun to recognize my own phases now, which helps even them out. But now, I’d like to share a little something from the book with you.

Three pieces of paper reappeared in my life after an over two-year state of tucked-away-ness in a plastic bag with all the museum maps, tickets, and other paraphernalia I collected in YellowEurope.

But these words were written before that trip: the night before I reached Chicago, the day I left New York City for Vincent. New York had taught me more than I ever imagined, but to start my own theatre company, to produce my own work, I knew it was too rich for my meager wages. I left many things I adored behind, including my financial independence, to come to Chicago, live with my parents for a year and make Vincent’s Yellow happen. That is what I mean when I write to Vincent that I left New York City for him.

I hadn’t read these words of transition since I wrote them. When I read them aloud a few weeks ago, I began to cry. Not because of the memories – I hadn’t actually read the letter yet! I cried because even then I did not realize I was in Holland.

It was Holland, Ohio, yes — not Amsterdam where I would arrive five weeks later — but Vincent was already with me. Could Holland be a state of mind? I’ll be meditating on that. Here’s taste number two of my book.

My goal is to have put the first chapter together by the end of the year. My plan is to start publishing the book online for free for a limited time, if possible, while I’m pursuing book publishers. I’m toying with the idea of transforming this website into the book itself. If online, the book will be released in segments, in the style of Dickens. If you are reading this now, I hope you will also enjoy reading the book for free within the next year!

~~~~~~~VAN GOGH POPCORN~~~~~~~

If you haven’t heard about the new biography Van Gogh: The Life, you’ve probably been living under a rock. It introduces a new theory that Vincent did not shoot himself at all, but that some mischievous boys in Auvers shot him accidentally, and that Vincent (already feeling a burden on his brother with a new family) took responsibility for the actions instead of ruining one or more of those young mens’ lives by pointing a finger.

This theory sounds quite possible to me (without having read the book yet), the motivations fit more with Vincent’s personality… However, it seems to me that the fact remains that we will never have any conclusive evidence. Once I read through the theory, perhaps I will find it to be most likely.

The truth is… we’ll never know for certain. The gun was never found. But I certainly enjoy this alternative ending, and the questioning of his death.

Perhaps this new theory will mean Van Gogh will no longer be so defined by his suicide?

One can hope.

~~~~~~UPDATE 11/16/11~~~~~~

Scans of my journal entries about Vincent are in my hands!

The time to edit has begun.

251 pages of my writing…

Creativity engine — GO!

Fri, November 11 2011 » Personal, Popular Culture, Research, Writing the Book

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