We watched another installment of Simon Schama’s “Power of Art”; this one was on Van Gogh. I didn’t know that he attempted a career as a missionary and was released for his “over-zealousness”. That zeal, that fervor exploded in color and paint a few years later. Perhaps the misfiring of his neurological circuits added to the visions he experienced, but that doesn’t make them any less real, does it? For the film, an actor portrays him eating an entire tube of chrome yellow. It is an intensely sensuous clip. It makes me want to feel the passion myself, love and zeal and lust in an explosion of warm color and bright hope. I wish I had art sliding around like finger paint beneath my skin.
I feel the need to make something. It’s going to end up being a pot of chili and some yeasty corn bread from scratch. I wish I had some clay or acrylics lying around to play with, but I suppose it’s just as well I don’t. I’d feel bad about wasting expensive materials just for the tactile exploration. Still, I feel a tension within me longing for creative release. Perhaps that’s because I haven’t been singing regularly for a while, or playing the piano. I miss getting caught up in the joy of expression. Do you suppose that our society suffers from creative repression on a massive scale? With all the technology we have to take creativity out of our hands, are we fueling a psychotic collapse? What if we staged a revolutionary return to physical creativity, set up mud pie and garden therapy stations, bread dough and needlework, improvisational dance and percussion…would we see a decline in depression, suicide and domestic violence?
My fingertips get a mild work out typing every day, but it doesn’t feel like enough. I used to do 8 hours of typing, telephoning, and staring at a screen in a cubicle every day. It got very old. I’m lucky to be done with that. I hope that we don’t press people into that kind of thing more exclusively as our society “progresses”. It seems pretty soul-killing. I’d like to set them all free in a wheat field with a box of squishy colors and a canvas and let them stay out all day until the sun sets. Then invite them to share a bottle of wine with me, some good crusty bread, and listen to them describe their experiences while they show me their work. I want to hear their zeal and watch it float free into the world…with mine.