Rest Space


Thoughts of You – Jack Vettriano

I had a postcard of this print hanging in my room for a long time when I lived in Edinburgh the second time. It’s funny to think of living in this city in so many different capacities. I was just saying to Andrew last night that I ran into two people from my past at the musical last night (I went to see my friends Emily and Caroline in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying). It was a show directed by the director and musical director of Songs For a New World, the musical I’ll be in this year with Emily. But I also ran into two people that I have known in other capacities in my experiences in Edinburgh, and they both looked like they wanted to avoid me.

“One of them,” I told Andrew, “Probably liked me a lot when I was emotionally co-dependent and dramatic because he must have felt like I needed him, like we understood each other. And then I changed, and now he doesn’t know who I am.”

“The other one,” I continued, “Well, he probably hated me for being clingy and insecure and chaotic because I know that my energy used to be a lot for other people to handle. And then I changed, and now he doesn’t know who I am. But he doesn’t even know that he doesn’t know. To him, it’s likely that I’m the same as I’ve always been.”

And then I was faced with the people of my future: my two directors, my 8 friends from St. Giles who all sat together to support our friends, my new co-star in the show that will change a lot for me. This morning, all I could think of was Jack Vettriano’s paintings, and how easy it would be to crawl into one of them. According to some people, “Jack Vettriano’s paintings are as daring as rich tea biscuits,” and he is a lessor Edward Hopper. I love Hopper too. And I do love his depth and significance. But Vettriano does feel safe, and that is a good – even helpful – space/role for some art to occupy. We don’t always need to feel stretched and challenged and pushed. Sometimes we want a painting to acknowledge how the world can stop, how the room can hold us, how the window can keep us, how the chair can support us, and there doesn’t need to be anything more significant than that pause. The rest.

I read a great article this morning: A Book I Haven’t Read by Stephen Sparks.

When I occasionally suffer pangs of guilt and worry that I’m making fraudulent claims or deceiving people who put their trust in my taste, not to speak of my sense of honor, I remind myself that there are innumerable things I love without fully understanding that I’m nevertheless excited to recommend: one doesn’t need to understand the mechanics of flight or the origin of nebulae to recommend looking up. The Hungarian language is incomprehensible to me, but I will nevertheless ask for silence when Laszlo Krasznahorkai reads from his work. I don’t fully grasp the convolutions of natural selection, but am thrilled that it’s resulted in gray whales migrating past Point Reyes. And that geology, another thing I only understand the contours of, has made Point Reyes possible.

Reacting to a situation from my past with my past self’s characteristics is a form of fraud. Reaching for the future with old fears of the future is just as deceptive. All we can do is stop now, in a safe holding place, take stock of where we are and where we’ve been, then let it go and continue on in the direction in which we are currently moving.

Stop. Rest. Release. Onward. It’s the same process as walking.

Good morning, T.




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