Friday, November 30, 2012

New Socks In Darkness And Light

“I retain from nature a certain sequence and a certain correctness in placing the tones, I study nature so as not to do foolish things, to remain reasonable—however, I don’t mind so much whether my color corresponds exactly so long as it looks beautiful on my canvas, as beautiful as it looks in nature.”

Van Gogh
quoted in “Painting with the Impressionists”
by Jonathan Stephenson

Later, Hitchcock would make a sad boast to interviewers: an actual clause had been inserted into his Universal contract, he said, stating that he could make any film for the studio that he wanted, as long as it was budgeted under $3 million—and as long as it was't Mary Rose.

I bought socks today. Well, I ordered them
from Amazon. Twelve pairs of argyle socks.
Because I walk a lot I wear out socks
but twelve pairs should last me through the winter.

I read a book about Hitchcock today.
Hitchcock always had wanted to direct
a ghost story based on James Barrie’s play
called “Mary Rose” but the studio head
thought no audience would want to see it.
Hitchcock, so the Hollywood legend goes,
would slightly change the ending for his film
and instead of ending with the ghost’s fate
would have a narrator guide the viewer
back to the real world of mundane events.
And Hitchcock wrote the narration himself,
at least so the Hollywood legend goes,
a simple list of everyday events
contrasted against ghostly goings-on.
And the final words as Hitchcock wrote them
were the narrator’s sigh: “You understand.”

Next week when my new socks are delivered
I’m sure I’ll be writing things wearing them
and I’m hoping to do some painting, too.
I’m struck by the connection between words
and what words represent, and images
and what images represent. I think
there is something else, too, some other thing
behind whatever gets represented,
whether it’s done with words or images,
in the same way what gets represented
is behind the words and the images.

I’m sad Hitchcock never filmed “Mary Rose.”
He lived an event-filled life. I wonder
how Hitchcock’s life would have shaped a ghost film.
I don’t want to be foolish about ghosts
but I think if you are reasonable
the more closely you look at the real world
the more you see. Shifting, translucent things.
See-through things. I’m trying to understand.

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