So a frightful day after all, with a migraine that forced me to stay home. So ready for a solution, resolution.
Have you ever heard of the amazing painter, Remedios Varo? What about Julio Cortazar, my favorite author? The latter most likely if you know me, you have heard about by now. Long story. Anyhoo, Cortazar and Varo are the kind of artists that stop me in my tracks, they inspire and mystify me so.
In 1993, when I still lived in the DC area for the first time, I went to the National Museum for Women in the Arts and saw an exhibit of Latin American Women painters. I became extremely fascinated with the paintings of Remedios Varo and her longtime friend, English painter Leonora Carrington. Later, also during this same time period, I saw a catalog of Varos’ at the National Gallery of Art, and, near broke as I always was at the time, I still purchased the thick, heavy book.
I’ve always been looking for who I might have been in another life, in part because I seem to remember so many time periods before I have direct experience of them. I find this out with period movies, books, art history, museums, galleries … dreams, memories I can’t quite place. I am both afraid and in awe of tall sailing ships and seagoing vessels, and am terrified of dark, deep water.
So, when I found that Varo passed away in 1963, and I was born the following year, well, could I have been her somehow? Well, who can say? But I wonder, inexplicably, although she is technically so much more skilled as a painter than I am, and I have little interest in encoding my thoughts into paintings. I’m more inclined to explore that sort of imagery and code in my writings, fantasy, poetry. Still. Waves of mystery shudder around me when I read the book, so it’s rare. Same thing happens when I read Cortazar, only a paragraph at a time.
Today, feeling somewhat better after resting almost the full day, and that sad sort of restless that comes with the caffeine of Exedrin Migraine and so much time at rest, I gazed at my reading options: John Muir’s Last Journey, The Corrupted Land, The Impact of Western Man, all the Chopra books which I could study again, the Mexican Muralists, and Remedios Varo. I sat there in the bed, dizzy, and read, getting dizzier.
I would put one of her paintings here but there is so much available to the Google instant touch that I will leave that exploration to you, but she is magical and mysterious and definitely in code.
I look at the notes and questions on the screen for Aunt Nell’s Time Machine, think of Cafe El Tacuba in Mexico City which has been open since 1917 or something, she could have gone there, my Great Aunt Ladybug could go there and have a lovely enchilada with spinach poblano cream sauce. I personally dreamed last night of Mexican crime caves, where no one is truly safe anymore. I’m afraid of very much travel in literal time and space, but very much interested in time travel of other kinds, of the mind and imagination.
It inspires me to read that she was so loving and kind and such a great friend, yet was able to make her own statements to the Surrealists, her friends, to the Mexican Muralists, her friends — about women’s work, women’s minds and meaningfulness — and spin it into such symbolic, medieval, modern fairy tales, frozen in time, layered and layered with meanings, both ancient and of her own questioning, doubting journeys.
Commercials and action flicks in the other room, where Jason is enjoying his time in his own way, admirable and fine — Chipper the angel who visits us back and forth during the days of the weekend. I think later, there are so many choices now compared to when Varo was alive, for our precious free, leisure time which we have earned, in our modern time. Books have always taught me so much, experiences, TV and movies, media, yes, the internet, the world at our fingertips, so much to learn. What about writing the book of your life? imaginary lives? What about finding things the old fashioned way in addition to someone famous’ book list? Both are valid, but what about being drawn, pulled in, by a gut instinct, something that scares you and fascinates you all at once? I much prefer the latter, I trust it more in the end.
Reminds me of the Quest Psychology — and how people in Eat, Pray, Love had to remind her that her peace was inside her, the quest, was also inside her all along?