Mallarmè Black Ink

Monday 22nd August, 2016

We got the apartment by Vondelpark. It’s our last night in the Jordaan before moving to the new apartment tomorrow as early as possible. I need my own space. I ran around all day with the children in-tow buying sheets and homeware stuff, all of us jet-lagged. The children were so loud and uncooperative in the department store, too tired poor things. But, Jon is of course working, so the children must accompany me everywhere. I felt embarrassed and had to call upon all my inner resources of kindness not to raise my voice at them, but was overly terse despite my best efforts.

I seem to be numbing myself on wine to combat the stress of moving to the other side of the world. I just ordered a second glass. I found a charming brown bar in the Jordaan, in which to write. I love these old brown bars, or bruin cafés. Well, I hardly drink that much, still more than before. I left the children tucked up in bed asleep. Jon finally got back after a twelve-hour day. He’s a workhorse. He says he’ll be flying to Italy tomorrow for the night. I feel a bit abandoned, so I decided to go out and get some air.

I keep thinking about flowers in black ink. Art is at the forefront of my consciousness. There are a lot of charming little galleries here in the Jordaan. I am somehow bereft of the melody, the vital chord of poetry right now, perhaps because I’m jetlagged. Creativity needs charging, plenty of oxygen to breath, to circulate.

This is the city of tulips, so perhaps I’ll paint tulips in black ink, set against the worship of colour, tulips in involute pose. My artwork always uses a lot of colour. It will be a good contrast, the vibrant reds, turquoises and pinks, against a metier of black: a discharge of deaths organic matter. I feel the starry web of deaths intricacies pulling at me, taking me apart, re-making me over to this new life. Perhaps these black tulips will be self-portraits: glimpses of my soul in reformation.

Mallarmè’s muses about the writer’s attempt to grapple with his/her existential conundrum and make sense of the universe through adopting black ink. For him writing in black ink is a drive to make order in an otherwise chaotic world. Perhaps black ink can serve this function for me too. Uprooting one’s life leads to a scrutinising and reorganising of one’s own faculties. It’s good and necessary, but also painful and confronting. When travelling one somehow manages to catch glimpses, little fragments of one’s self dis-embalmed. Perhaps children reflect this state of things, they act out everything, put their emotions on display, as if working through the fluxes.