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Growing up, there was a print of Il Ponte Di Asnieres in our house. It fascinated me. The colors were so stark and yellow. It wasn’t unlike the color of the dust in the rural area where we lived. For years I thought the image in the painting was the place my parents came from.

Why did my parents choose that picture to bring with them? They had so little, they were allowed to take so few things. The monogrammed linens I understood. The silver candlestick I would have taken, too. But why that image? I never knew. But for years I wondered where that train was heading.

Often, I wonder where my parents got their strength, to start over in a strange land well into middle age. I wonder what it would have been like to grow up as someone else’s daughter, in a house that had a television. What would it have been like to have watched The Mickey Mouse Club? To have eaten Twinkies before the age of 20? But then again, that strict, rigid upbringing may have been exactly what I needed to become a writer.

If Vincent Van Gogh had lived a life of ease, of wealth, of comfort, would his paintings  have been as rich?  Would his brother have been as supportive? There is no time machine to show alternative lives. Or alternative paintings. We have the memories of Van Gogh’s tortured life and the glory of the paintings.

Comes a minstrel a-wandering,

Telling stories, singing songs.

Comes a minstrel a-wandering,

Won’t you come along?

He’s tunes to play and songs to sing-

A lute, a flute, a fiddle wild-

Fingers fly and voice trills

Enchanting each and every child.

Comes a minstrel a-wandering,

Over hills and through the pass.

Comes a minstrel a-wandering,

Winking at each comely lass!

He’s news to tell and stories, too-

Tales to chill and tales to thrill.

His voice echoes through the night

People listening with a will.

Comes a minstrel a-wandering,

Tattered, torn, limping some.

Comes a minstrel a-wandering,

Still he beckons, Come!

He sits beside the fire at night,

His voice rising in a song.

His listeners sit up straight and then-

Old ones smile and sing along.

Comes a minstrel a-wandering,

Folks will come from far and near.

Comes a minstrel a-wandering,

Come and listen, for he’s here.

     Vincent was born on March 30th, 1853.  At age 16, his uncle (also named Vincent) helps him get a job at the famous Paris-based art gallery Goupil & Co. at its Hague branch.  For the first few years he does well, and is transferred to London and Paris, but Vincent’s relationships with his employers and his family deteriorates as Vincent increasingly comes to see his life as an art dealer meaningless, like the “pretty pictures” he is forced to sell.  He is fired.  Vincent’s father is a preacher, and Vincent decided to try to become a preacher too, but is a failure at that as well.  He tries teaching and that doesn’t work out.  He falls in love with his cousin and she rejects him.  His father kicks him out of the house.  Things aren’t going well. 

     In 1880, at age 27, Vincent turns to art.  We all know the rest of this story: Vincent dies 10 years later, after having created an enormous number of paintings and drawings, but never selling enough to support himself and apparently never becoming successful.  How did he keep going those 10 years?  How did he not starve, have a roof over his head, and more importantly, keep working at his art without succumbing to the doubts and fears expressed by his family, his associates and himself?  His brother Theo.  That one person who believed in him, who supported him, who was his lifeline and touchstone. 

     Vincent wrote to Theo, shortly before he died: “At present I do not think my pictures are worthy of your kindness to me.  But once they are worthy, I insist that you will have created them as much as I, and that we are fashioning them together.”  Theo died six months after Vincent, but before he died he wrote to their mother, “Life was such a burden to him (Vincent), but now, as it often happens, everybody is full of praise for his talents…Oh Mother!  He was so my own, own brother.” 

Posted by Mari, for Vincent’s birthday, and dedicated to my husband Rod.  Although I am no Vincent, he is my Theo.

I can only speak from my own experience…

I am
Child & Daughter
Artist & Writer
Friend & Wife

They are
Parents & Teachers
Friends & Artists
Lover & Husband

I am nothing without them
With their love & encouragement I go on
In stubbornness I continue
With and without I go on

On a sad note, I came home today I found my brave little mouse dead in his little cage. He”s been sickly for about a week, but last night still came and got a treat from me before bed. I think the little guy just feel asleep. So I put his limp little body in a small chocolate box in a blanket of clean paper towel and a small cookie bit like he liked. I taped it shut and wrote on the box “you were my good and brave little mouse and I love you, I will see you again in another life”. I’m a little sad to have lost him. To some just a pesky rodent but, honestly, this little mouse was such a character. I will miss him.

trillian

The story of how Trillian came to me here: http://aletteke.wordpress.com/2006/08/10/brave-little-mouse/

he stands at the top of the stairway
and demands in a testosterone rage
that I tell him where I’ve hidden
his laundered shirts, blue and beige.

he’s been so worrisome lately
to his dad, and me, his mom.
driving recklessly on nearby streets,
slamming home at three a.m.

so i say to him, “Just go away
and take care of yourself.”
and I wonder what I did so wrong;
he was raised with common sense.

so he moved that very weekend
to a friend’s house ‘cross the town
and I never went to see him there
but I wished that he’d come home.

by twenty-two he mellowed,
i saw him driving down our street.
he said he’d bring his friends home
for “a decent meal to eat.”

I met them at the doorway
I didn’t know what to think
But my son, he smiled and hugged me
and he kissed me on my cheek.

“i’m sorry that it’s been so long,
that I did not call for help,
but I had to sort stuff in my mind
and plan my life myself.”

And I knew my son, he’d grown much,
more wise and yet still sweet.
and I welcomed him with open arms.
and pains in my heart, they ceased.

It is Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday on Friday and in honor of that day (March 30, 1853), the Bluestockings will be celebrating in the Taverna. If Vincent were to drop in (and who knows, in the ethereal world of Lemuria, he just might), he will probably bring his brother Theo who was a great support to him during his life. The question to discuss is this:  like Theo, who has supported you in your artistic endeavors, in small or big ways, financially, mentally, emotionally, in words or in actions. Post your piece to under the category: BS 30.03.07 Van Gogh & Mentor or comment below.

Our thanks to Mari for suggesting the topic this week.

It seems to me that the last time I came into the Taverna, it was a quiet little haunt. But now? The establishment has turned on the music, and the song is an excellent choice I might add. Let’s all take to the dance floor, and won’t we have fun!

Bo

Do you know Little Run-Along?

Little Run-Along slips around the corner

And leans against the door frame-

“Oh, there you are,” says Mama,

“Run along now and play.”

Little Run-Along brushes her brown curls

Out of her eyes

And sighs

“Yes, Mama,” and runs along.

Little Run-Along wanders up to the fence

And drapes her arms over it.

Papa looks over and says,

“Oh, there you are.

Run along now and play.”

Little Run-Along wipes her hands on her dress

And sighs,

“Yes, Papa,” and runs along.

Little Run-Along drifts into the kitchen

and slides into a chair.

Grandma looks up and says,

“Oh there you are.

 Run along now and play.”

Little Run-Along scratches her leg

 and sighs,

“Yes Grandma,” and runs along.

Little Run-Along climbs the stairs

 and sits on the top one.

Grandpa looks out a door and says,

“Oh, there you are.

 Run along now and play.”

Little Run-Along shakes her head

and sighs,

“Yes, Grandpa,” and runs along.

Little Run-Along plods over to the front steps

and sit on the bottom one.

Her puppy comes over and barks.

“Oh, there you are,” says Little Run-Along,

“Run along now and play.”

Her puppy whines and tucks his tail

And walks slowly away.

Little Run-Along watches him go

And then something catches in her heart

“Wait!” she says, “I’ll come too!”

Incense floats on

purple raiment and

fish breezes.

Monks chant

psalms of lament.

Sombre days stretch into

hair-shirt nights.

Easter is a

Resurrection away.

But first, the carnival

red with desire,

laughter day,

dances and sings its way

across the cobblestones.

Wild-winged streamers

caught by March winds,

flung backwards and up,

up, up to the Phoenix

whale-road, heading

straight for the sun.

But they cannot

fly forever and

soon the ashes flutter down,

down, down from above,

until they settle on

our foreheads,

thumbed by the morning

of the purple rain.

While reading an article, I came across a really good quote. But the person who said it was so unlikely. Turns out that many people said things we would think others said. So I turned it into a quick game. 6 quotes, 6 people. See if you can match them up!

Now, for another round of good dark Porter!

Here’s a picture I took recently of a raku pot I made two years ago and part of our bone collection.  We live near fields and woods and are regularly visited by foxes, raccoons, deer and ‘possums.  Sometimes they leave their bones behind and we collect them, if we can get to them before they’re eaten.  I made this pot with the thought in mind of keeping part of our bone collection in it and that’s why I designed it with the bone shapes on the outside.  I believe the skull is from a deer.  We love bones and I would dearly love to have a human skull.   I mean other than the one that’s inside my head.

This is my first attempt of rhymed verse since grade school ( and that’s very long ago).

The tempo isn’t just quite right
But I do so love the sentiment.

Sorry! I’ve been trying so many rhymes, I couldn’t resist that couplet when it popped into my mind. And here’s the poem.

A Gypsy Memory

I wander far from family tents
while camping in thick wilderness.
to far explore from all the rest.

Creeping so silent through thick underbrush
breathing so quiet, barely a hush;
the forest arms wrap me with restoring touch.

Then I open my eyes so very wide
and a dark, young girl I really do spy
in colours bright on a sweet Gypsy child.

Quite shy, she hides in a giant oak tree
and peeks around slowly so she can see.
Our eyes do meet, and smile do we.

We smile, oh, a most friendly smile
She beckons; we walk ‘most a mile
And seek her camp of Gypsies wild.

Down to a clearing in the vale
Bright caravans line the deep, green dale
Protected from both wind and gale.

Oh, fabulous tents and ornate spires
Amid the glowing, embered fires
Hear tambourines ring high and higher

In fascination, I can’t hold still
As gypsies sing with robins’ trill
And dance so free on misty rill.

The families from the Middle East
make rice and curry, a fine feast,
their welcome’s true for man or beast.

I find a hammock in the trees
and watch a honking pass of geese
My happiness shall never cease.

But then a yell from mountain high
My father calls and so I cry
“Yes, father, here I am” and sigh.

My Gypsy friend hides with her clan
All dancing and all singing banned
Tents fill with woman and with man.

And slowly I go up the path
to meet my Dad and we rush fast
for he feared we’d meet a Gypsy lass.

This story lies within my heart.
Forced so by race, we had to part
But Gypsies, they’d read my Tarot card.

They’d searched my fortune; it was read
A laugh-filled life and long, they’d said.
Soul mate and I, we’d live well wed.

The Tarot card I’d saved was Lovers.
The life I knew, the mem’ries, hover
surround my bed and quilted cover.

I dream of Gypsies.

“The craft of questions, the craft of stories, the craft of the hands–all these are the making of something and that something is soul.”                                                                           Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I am sure this quote has inspired Heather too, as this is what Soul Food Cafe is all about.

                                                                                                                                                                  “Arts and crafts are vitamins and minerals for the soul.”                                                             Dawn Jaekel

A new quote, never posted before.

When my friend Emily came to visit me, I wasn’t sure she’d enjoy the place. There’s no TV, no video games, no junk food. Well, except those cookies in the pantry. But Emily liked it, and each day she got a little more daring.

Then one day she went for a walk. She took the camera, but although I saw the pictures, and listened to her story, I still can’t believe it.

Official Lemurian Tavern


Authenticated by le Enchanteur

What is the Soul Food Cafe?

The Soul Food Cafe is an international group of writers and artists whose global mission is to promote writing and art-making as a daily practice through the use of interactive web-based technologies such as blogging and e-mail groups.

Exploring Lemuria

Lemuria is the fantasy construct where the participants of the Soul Food Cafe post their work, andThe Taverna di Muse is one of many places and realms within Lemuria. To see some other Lemurian destinations, select one below and start your journey:

Riversleigh Manor
Murmuring Woods
Cyberia, City of Ladies
The Hermitage
On the Road with Enchanteur
The Digital Atelier The Cave of the Ancients
Lemurian Abbey
Halloween Party, 2006
The Heroine's Journey
Aboard the Calabar Felonway
The Pythian Games
Isle of the Temple People
Isle of Ancestors
The Temple of Solace
Grand Tour
Lemurian Tour
The Gypsy Camp

Joining Soul Food

If you are an intrigued visitor now wanting to join the Soul Food Experience, visit the Soul Food Cafe for instructions. Or you may write the SFC owner and manager heatherblakey @ dailywriting.net .

Disclaimer– Copyright

The opinions expressed by contributors to Taverna di Muse on this blog as well as on public domains outside this blog are not to be construed as an endorsement by Heather Blakey or Lori Gloyd. Material appearing on this site remains the property of individual artists and writers.

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