Saturday, January 4, 2014

Boots and Bye, Bye


A Pair of Boots 1887
(hangs in the Baltimore Museum of Art)

The other day, I quoted Frank McCourt's artist friend on the uncommented directness of Van Gogh's boots. Today this image appeared somewhere in my field. Let me just say, I love Van Gogh in a deep, gut level kind of way. I'm not sure there is another artist who sees the world in a way so close to my own sight. His paintings make me feel existentially connected, and that's no joke.

This is not one of his paintings with which I am particularly familiar. He painted other boots that I know better. It also lacks the yellows and acid greens that are dominant in my favorite Van Goghs. Yet still, I like these boots very much. They are so well observed, so alive with their bootness. So many of his paintings buzz with palpable energy to me. In miniature on the screen these don't quite buzz, but I have a feeling that if I stood in front of them in Baltimore, that charge would be there. The hobnails and the laces and eyes and the swirl of the blue fabric underneath them all tickle me. I'd like to see the texture of the paint.

Reading: School stuff and my friend Jess's blog, which is fabulous and funny.

Writing: Morning freewriting in the morning, when I woke up.

Dinner: The last gasp of Christmas, at my in-laws, featuring a meal made by my mother-in-law, Tertia, of Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, green beans with mushrooms, and Waldorf salad. For dessert we had "creme," which is a cold grape juice soup with whipped cream floating in it. The meal was inspired by one that my brother-in-law's Norwegian-American mother-in-law made for Christmas dinner in Minnesota last year (I think).

Soundtrack: Phil Everly died. He was younger than I would have guessed he was. As a kid I had a found collection of 45s from the 50s and 60s (have I written about this here? I'd check but the search function is being screwy), which heavily influenced my personality development. I had singles of "Bye, Bye Love" (with a b-side of "I Wonder If I Care As Much") and "Wake Up Little Susie" (with a b-side of  "Maybe Tomorrow"). Both those songs are in my bones. Thanks, Phil.



Random thing: I stopped at the library on the way to dinner to pick up some things on hold. I was carrying a big pile of books as I approached the building, and an older man with a big pile of books came out the back door. "Whew!" he said. "You wouldn't believe it, but they've got a lot of books in there."


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