"Crap! I wish I hadn't seen Ricky on the sidewalk."

"You will be fine for 31 minutes. You will be dead in 32 minutes."

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Object Lessons

For many years, my father had a copy of this print hanging in his study:

Souvenir of Sydney Bechet (1952) by Nicolas de Staël
It was stored in my parents' bedroom closet for a few years, until my father hung it in my room.  For culture, I think.  We never spoke about it, and he never told me why he liked it or what it meant to him. 

Personally, I didn't think much of it.  How could I?  I could make out three men, I could make out horns.  The picture was too abstract for me, it felt clumsy.  I was at an age where I thought all art was supposed to be beautiful, accomplished.  An adult made this?  That didn't make any sense.   

Eventually, I asked my father to remove the painting so I could hang a poster of Farrah Fawcett-Majors on my wall.  I'm sure it broke my father's heart, sticking his painting back in a closet.  And for what, a couple of nipples?  

I haven't thought about the painting in years, and then I found an article on Nicholas de Staël this afternoon while I was looking for something else entirely. 

It brought back a lot of memories. 

He committed suicide, Nicolas de Staël.  He did it in 1955 by jumping off the terrace of his studio.  Eleven floors.  He was 41.

I've been thinking about suicide lately.  Not for me, but it's been on my mind.  I want to know what happens when hurting yourself becomes an irresistible proposition, when the brakes in your mind go out completely.

I mean, I don't want to know. 

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