Tuesday, April 16, 2013

make a wish on the fireworks

On February 17th, 1901, Picasso's dear friend and colleague, Casagemas, who was also a rising artist in Paris, shot himself in the temple outside a cafe in Montmartre.

For the next four years, Picasso only painted the worlds in shades of blue.

Also in 1901, Picasso painted a ludicrously audacious self-portrait. 
He stares at us, his audience, over his bright, Transfiguration-white silk shirtsleeve, his thick black hair hastily parted over his head, his matador-style red tie contrasting with the midnight blue background of the portrait. 
His piercing eyes would fool you into thinking that he is a confident, confirmed master-artist, in the prime of his career. 
They issue a challenge to you, daring you to think otherwise.
But if you look closely, you will see that bound up in the bravado is a strain of timidity.
And amid the insouciance, there is a minuscule grain of uncertainty.
His eyes are so new to the world.

Critics, apparently, accused Picasso of copying other styles of current fashionable Parisian painters, of being a copy-cat of Degas and van Gogh; they accused him of the mortal sin of artists: of not being original.
But, in the top left corner, in smooth, raw strokes of paint, are written the two bold words:
"Yo Picasso."

In several brushstrokes, Picasso asserted that though he was young, he was bursting with every bit of the same talent as da Vinci and Degas. Even though he still didn't know exactly what he had to say about the world that differed from their point-of-view.
He claimed that though he, like Anis Mojgani's two year old, could not be understood, because he spoke half-human and half-God, he had a small but steady voice, and he was going to use it.
He acknowledged that being talented is an eternal struggle to pine for the regard of the world, and yet to endeavor to ignore it.
In several strokes of paint, Picasso announced what every yearning young person on the verge of discovering their own greatness has ever felt:
Bursting inside of me, there is something that might overpower even myself if I unleashed it.
But whatever blend I am of copy-cat, originality, bravado, talent, sweat, tears, and passion, I am a force with which to be reckoned.


On April 16th, 2013, Judi Dench performed in a West End show called Peter & Alice.

It is, as you might guess, about the beloved childhood stories Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.
It's about their whimsical, possibly-troubled, overgrown children of creators--J.M. Barrie and Charles Dodgson. It's about the real-life children who were at the heart of those stories' creation, particularly Alice Liddell Hargreaves and Peter Llewelyn-Davies, and how they both loved and hated the stories that invaded their lives.
It's about growing up, and what exactly the mysterious boundary is between childhood and adulthood.

True love, as Mother Teresa insists, is surrender. 
You are allowing the other to shape the person you are becoming. 
It's silly in a very serious way to trust someone that much. 
To give yourself over to them so completely.
To hand them the match and say: 'burn this bridge. 
I've crossed it, and I'm not going back.

Maybe growing up is when you realize that your world crumbles when your heart is broken, but comes back together again in a few weeks or months, when you find that the world has kept turning.
Growing up, insists Judi Dench aka Alice Hargreaves is when you fall in love, and fall out of love. It's when your heart breaks and mends again.
It's when you look back and realize that something has changed you irreversibly, and that this moment is different from the last, and you can't go back to the person you were in the moment that just passed.
Maybe growing up is when you fall in love, choose an irreversible path, burn your first bridge, or cry your first tear, or the first time you feel lonely.
Maybe growing up is what you do from the moment you enter the world, and you never stop doing it.
Maybe growing up is simply the myth of children.
Only children who have never grown up are concerned with growing up.
Maybe "growing up" is just a child's nickname for living.

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