The older I get I realize that the things I most
cherish are not things at all. It is about experiences,
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Friday, October 6, 2017
I have heard the saying: “Genius is the next thing to madness.” I’ve always inherently known this to be the case. That person who, in some aspect of their life, is incredibly gifted, many times creatively. This person, by all accounts, would not be considered “normal” by societal standards. Despite this, or because of this, they have this gift, this propensity to create. It lies dormant in them at birth and suddenly, seemingly bursts forward as if driven the need to be released.
I began pondering this statement recently as I approached my anticipated visit to Arles, France. The world reknown impressionist painter, Vincent Van Gogh, lived here for many years. I knew about Van Gogh the way the average individual knows of this man: he was the crazy artist who, in a fit of rage, cut off his left ear. The reality of this, however, is untrue. Yes, Van Gogh did cut off his left ear in a fit of rage. However, what many do not know is that this unique creative mind was plagued throughout his life by extreme highs and lows and periodically by psychotic episodes. He was institutionalized for treatment throughout his life until sadly, he committed suicide at age 37. Experts now suspect that Van Gogh suffered from manic depression or bipolar disorder. He lived in the 1800's. A time in which medications for this mental illnesses did not exist. He was therefore repeatedly sent to asylums to recover at times when his illness (and he) became unmanageable.
It is not surprising that Van Gogh channeled these periods of madness into some of the most revered masterpieces in artistic history: Café Terrace at Night, Starry Night Over the Rhone. These moments became conduits for an outpouring of creativity, many times prolifically (he produced over 300 paintings while residing in Arles).
I suppose that’s the thing about this saying: “Genius is the next thing to madness.” There is always a trade-off. For excessive highs, there are excessive lows. For excessive creativity, there is a line, however grey, that teeters on the verge of madness. Perhaps this is the price a person must pay for a mind such as this. It is just the price they must pay.
Monday, October 2, 2017
I am sitting on the craggy rocks where they met the sea; where they have stood sentinel for thousands of years. These rocks will continue to do so long after I am gone. I am in Vernazza, in Cinque Terre, Italy. It is sunset in early October, a bit cool with the sea breeze, but certainly not cold. In my hands I am holding a glass of wine which was made locally. I take a slow draw of this this wine as I watch the sun dip down over the horizon. The sky sets on fire with the colors of orange, pink, blue and purple as it reflects against the sea. The sun is setting over this achingly beautiful, sleepy village. It is putting the day to rest. I realize that at this time, in this moment, life is perfect.
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Q and I were walking to the train station this morning when a handsome Italian man started calling out "Blaire!". We turned when we heard him call out, but no Blaire appeared. We were at a crosswalk and the man ran up to me and gave me a bear hug and said "Blaire from San Francisco!"
I tried to tell him I wasn't Blaire. He eventually understood and tried to apologize in English. Q asked me why I looked "that way". I said that I was just wishing I could be Blaire from San Francisco for a day!