I just watched At Eternity's Gate, a biopic about the life of the master painter Vincent Van Gogh. It's a beautifully intimate art film, shot in a way to bring the audience to experience Van Gogh's life through his eyes. I love the story of his journey, and the dialogue. So much of what the character says about painting can be applied or interpreted in the light of writing, and also generally, living a creative life.
Some themes I extracted from the quotable quotes:
2. The solitude of creativity
The solitude of creativity
I think of myself as an exile, a pilgrim on this earth. Jesus said, Turn your heart away from things visible and turn yourself to things invisible.
I can make people feel what it's like to be alive. Because my vision is closer to the reality of the world. I can make people feel what it's like to be alive. I'll show what I see to my human brothers who can't see it. It's a privilege. I can give them hope and consolation.
I wanted so much to share what I see. Now I just think about my relationship to eternity.
This I can definitely empathise. Since doing something creative is very much about bringing something utterly and vulnerably unique about yourself into the real world, you can't help but feel quite alone and naked in the journey. Sure, loved ones, close friends and family can bear witness and be there with you and for you, but the burden of seeing that vision you want to bring to life can never quite be shared. We are all quite like exiles on this Earth, each 'trapped' in our own consciousness bubble, isn't it? Only you can see what you see in your mind.
In the film, I love how he comes across as someone who's beautifully alive, but in his own unique way. Taking walks everyday in the country side, watching the sunset and trees with wonder gleaming in his eyes. Glancing and painting as if gobbling down a feast after days of fasting. So, so alive. And from that sense of aliveness, a sense of gratitude, and a wish to repay that debt of gratitude by showing that aliveness to others.
I, too, wish to be close to that sense of aliveness. That's why I travel. That's why I seek novel, deep, transformative experiences. That's why I write those descriptive, sensuous posts that my five senses experienced. By keeping a record of that aliveness, I hope that it can be a beacon of hope and consolation, but not to others but to myself in times of apathy and indifference to life, when mundane routine and work overwhelms and numbs. But in the end, like what he said about "now I just think of my relationship to eternity", I think there's something eternal about that sense of aliveness. Something enduring happens when you plug enough and often to that depth. And for lack of the proper language to describe transformative experiences like that, "eternity" feels like the next best thing.
To be continued......