Thursday, July 12, 2012

Light Summer Reading

                Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, of Myanmar, is standing three feet away from Vincent Van Gogh’s painting: “The Church at Auvers,” at the Musee d’ Orsay in Paris. She’s in awe. Prayerful. Her eyes are raised up towards the swirling blue sky above the church. Who is she? I know she received the Nobel Peace Prize. She’d been under house arrest in Myanmar for two decades. She’s called “the opposition leader.” She’s very beautiful. There are flowers in her hair. This photo came in my daily newspaper. Good news for once. Inspired images. I am reminded of a Townes Van Zandt story – how Townes stared at this same painting, in the Van Gogh museum, for hours. Townes moved forward an inch every few minutes. Until he was six inches away, and guards threw him out.
                I am mentioning these things because I’m 678 pages into “Van Gogh: The Life,” which was published last year. Light summer reading, eh? There are almost 900 pages in this book.  So far Vincent has alienated his teachers, classmates, and relatives; slept with and impregnated bottom-rung whores; contracted syphilis; killed his father; cut off his own ear; and is killing his brother, Theo, who’s been supporting him. Reading this tome I’m beginning to feel like a man carrying a gigantic, aching heart around on my back. It’s getting heavy, ma.
                Now as I walk through sunflower fields, under flocks of black crows, here in Switzerland, I think of Vincent, and Townes, and Daw Aung Kyi. It alI worked out for Vincent. 100 years after he died. A truer account of all this might be Artaud’s: “Van Gogh -The Man Suicided by Society.”
                Summer! I’m working on a songbook and a Western opera. A horse opera? I’m painting pictures of the rooftops of Emmental. I’m writing essays for a Western magazine. I’m thinking of the fanatics of the Van Gogh heart who have passed through my life in the last few years: Freddy Nock, the great wirewalker – the master of air – and the most extreme athlete in the world. Soon he’ll walk three kilometers across the Lake of Thun, and give money to UNESCO. Chris Koch, born with no arms or legs, who hopped up to me in Calgary and gave me a Mesabi sweatshirt, from a ranch of the same name. Chris is busy travelling the world and filming it. Chris, like Freddy Nock, is an extreme athlete of the finest kind.  And finally, George Kimball, who passed away last year, one of the foremost boxing writers of the last century. We did a reading together in Lawrence, Kansas, at the Williams S. Burroughs house. George was on a feeding tube. Unable to eat. But touring his three books. A rock and roller to the end.
                These three souls proved to me that there are no limits to life when you believe in the power of your intent and will. These three inspire. Like Vincent. Townes. And the face of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.


Johnny J said...

Been waiting too long for this post. You find the most interesting people and books to acquaint yourself with, and to introduce to the rest of us. Brought to mind David Olney;'s song "Vincent's Blues" with a similar story behind it. That Olney and Townes had a connection is no coincidence. Thanks for the (occasional) blogs.

editor said...

Great to hear from you again.


Saddle Tramp said...

I absolutely concur with the two previous commenters.
I am sure that the silent majority feel the same.
Tom, you never fail to bring enlightenment to those of us less fortunate to travel your trail.

Another tandem of musician / painter (who went out painting) not all that long ago, had this to say. I hope it adds a little something to the mix.

" Van Gogh did paintings so good that upon walking out of the museum, I said. The sun disappoints me so "
- Don Van Vliet -

saddletrampVia: Kettleman City, CA and the road to Paso Robles...

donkeygal said...

Oh, how I have missed these blogs. Love reading your essays in Ranch and Reata. I also contribute to this wonderful publication. Just don't share the last name, like you and Charlie!

Blogger said...

There's shocking news in the sports betting industry.

It has been said that every bettor needs to see this,

Watch this now or stop placing bets on sports...

Sports Cash System - Sports Betting Robot

viviene joeli said...

thank you for sharing
viagra jakarta
viagra asli jakarta
viagra usa jakarta
jual viagra di jakarta
viagra obat kuat
viagra original usa
toko viagra di jakarta