Sunday, August 30, 2009

Edgar And Vincent

There is a traveling exhibit of newly found items that belonged to Edgar Allan Poe. And this summer it came here, to Charlottesville. That city is about a half hour’s drive from our home. Of course we had to go. It was being shown at U.V.A., the university where Poe studied and lived. And right across the street from the exhibit is Poe’s old dormitory room, preserved and sealed up just as it was when he stayed there so very long ago. Here are some of the pictures I took. They took the front door off of his dorm room, and sealed it up with clear plexiglass. So you can’t enter it, you have to take pictures thru the glass. You can see my reflection in it as I take one picture. As for the exhibit itself, they didn’t allow cameras in the room, so I had to take this picture of his writing desk from outside the entryway. Good thing I had a long zoom! Notice that there’s no back on his small, pathetic looking writing chair. How uncomfortable looking!! No wonder his stories were so full of pain. Besides hair raising tales, Poe wrote quite a few lovely poems. Of course he’s best known for “The Raven”, but check out his gorgeous “Annabel Lee” and “A Dream Within A Dream.” Poe was completely unappreciated in his time and lived in poverty. He could barely eak out a living by selling horror stories to what used to be called “penny dreadful” magazines. Vincent Van Gogh had similar problems. In his despair and melancholy, he cut off his ear, perhaps as a way to shut out the rejection. Even silence would be better. He could not support himself with his art and had to live on money that his more grounded brother gave him. Too bad Poe did not have a rich brother. They both died sorrowful and in plenty of debt. But creation seems to come out of suffering, so perhaps we would not have as much output from them if they’d been content. I really can’t think of any great artists or writers who were joyful. Van Gogh had to live and paint away from home. Thus again showing us the truth of Jesus statement “No prophet is accepted in his hometown.” Noah and Jesus are both good examples of this. Why do you think that is? Maybe we think ”Oh, that’s just Joe from down the street. Nothing special about him; he’s just one of the guys.” We say and do things to our family and close friends that we would never say to someone we don’t know very well. Perhaps we want to make a good impression on people we don’t know well, and have just forgotten to appreciate those close to us. They already know our good and bad traits and love us for who we are, so it doesn’t matter anymore. You know the old saying “Familiarity breeds contempt”. I wouldn’t go that far, but I think it breeds laziness and ungratefulness. The people who love us the most seem to be the ones we take for granted. Philippians says”Let your gentleness be evident to ALL.” 1st Peter tells us “A gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth in God’s sight.” I think so many people are hollering and yelling to make their point nowadays that they seem to forget this. I know I do at times. But it’s worth remembering, because here’s our reward. “He whose…speech is gracious will have The King for a friend.” Proverbs 22:11.

1 comment:

DawnTreader said...

Thanks for turning my attention to this post. Thought I'd leave a comment here since it seems no one did back when you wrote it!

Yes, no wonder it was horror stories that came out of Poe's pen, sitting on that chair...!

By the way, what's up with the bed. That seems to be tilting, too...