Merigian Studios


What Would Eugene Write Now?

What Would Eugene Write Now?

This past week has been one of the busiest, even though we had a holiday on Monday to shorten the time spent caring for patients. I have not figured out the formula for harmonizing creating my art work and working in my medical practice. Both are growing as I pay attention to the calls from the past that echo through my mind. A few weeks ago, a good friend of whom I call the Professor gave me a few written paragraphs to read about the importance of solitude. I have come to realize that solitude is in fact, very important in everyone's life.

There are many different ways to find a place of solitude. Some enjoy getting into an automobile and driving until they can drive no more. Others choose to take a ride on a motorcycle and cruise to nowhere in particular. Still others find places like a county park or an old farm to just sit in nature absorbing the sounds, odors and breezes that come across them as they remain silent. Some choose to get near water and listen to the roar of waves or rushing sounds of creeks and streams. I have a fountain in my back yard and I sit and listen to the water as it falls into a reflecting pool. It’s soothing to my soul.

There is no question that the world has changed dramatically in the past fifty-eight years of my life. I was reminiscing with a patient yesterday about the changes I have encountered during my brief existence. Throughout my childhood and adolescent years, I remember listening to the Detroit Tiger baseball games on AM radio in the back yard while I sat at a picnic table just imagining being in the Stadium. Those color commentators did such a great job painting the game's unfoldment with mere simple but colorful words. They could tell stories.

We had one black and white television that was in the living room. It was old. We had three choices for channels: ABC, NBC and CBS. We did not watch much television, probably because we cherished playing in the alleyways and parks near our home. When the street lights came on, we had to be in the house. We washed up and most often just went to bed. I was not a great reader at that time, but my father had a rule that we had to read something for an hour every day. I read comic books and magazines instead of novels. I was a slow reader because I did not enjoy exercising my mind in that fashion. I preferred to imagine life different from the one I had. I liked reading about King Arthur and the Round Table, Greek and Roman mythology and enjoyed anything to do with the stories of White Fang.

We had two land line phones in the house. One was located in the kitchen and one in the sitting area of the living room. The phone seldom rang. We had postal service delivery Monday through Saturday. I remember being so excited when I received a letter. I had several pen-pals and always returned a letter after I received one. Composing a letter took time and effort, a week or two most often. Getting a stamp for the envelop and sending it off by dropping the letter in a mail box was an adventure in and of itself. I never knew ahead of time that the missive I carefully constructed would ever reach its intended destination. Most times it did because I received a letter back in about three weeks.

Time seemed to move slower when I was young. We had to find things to do to keep ourselves occupied. I remember having an endless number of stories and fantasies that I would make up in my mind and pondered the ifs and what a bout's almost on an hourly basis. I loved building go carts out of old shopping cart wheels, scraps of wood and metal. And repairing my bicycle. But the most fun was building model airplanes and imagining them flying in World War II. I had probably twenty or more than adorned the tops of our wooden window valences in the dining room. My grandmother thought it was cool to have those crazy planes well above our heads as we ate celebratory meals every holiday in that space.

I remember a time when solitude was the rule, not the exception. Today on a daily basis, I see patients who seldom if ever experience a significant amount of quiet reflective time in their lives. And to add to it, they are many times profoundly ill. When I studied Existentialism in college, I came to a realization that of the great thinkers of our time were plagued with ailments that kept them from doing anything but living in their minds. Now I see people everyday carrying a phone or a lap top or a tablet and it serves as their peripheral brain. Without it, they are lost. And regardless of how many times they are asked to turn it off, they keep it on just in case some calamity might happen and they would need to respond to it immediately. By the way, that has never happened. I often wonder how each patient would feel if I had my Smart Phone with me when I entered the room and peeked at it each and every time it went off. I suspect they would be profoundly annoyed, especially since they are paying me for my time and attention to their healthcare needs. I focus on them, only them.

The overabundance of social, news and consumer media has destroyed solitude for most people around the world. I have seen Facebook posts from everything from showing what people buy at the grocery store to a disturbing pimple that popped up on someone's face. Social sharing is replacing solitude. Even some posts show pictures of people acting as if they were in solitude while posing for their picture. As I sit and write this blog, I am sitting at my dining room table in a silent, quiet house. I can only hear the rustling of the trees, bird calls and my annoying Red Doberman barking in the yard for some retarded reason.

Everyone needs solitude. Some need more of it than others. Writing in The Journal of Eugene Delacroix (public library) in early January of 1824, the young artist addresses himself directly, as he often does in the diary:

Poor fellow! How can you do great work when you're always having a to rub
Shoulders with everything that is vulgar. Think of the great Michelangelo.
Nourish yourself with grand and austere ideas of beauty that feed the soul.
You are always being lured away by foolish distractions. Seek solitude. I your
Life is well ordered your health will not suffer.

That was an excerpt of his writings from 1824. I wonder what Eugene Delacroix would write now?

Posted by Amanda Sanders at 10:18 AM
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