Posted in Art, Musings

By what vague tag known? More reflections on the morning pages.

In my 2012 morning pages I read of a dream that had been inspired by a recent Gauguin exhibition:
I am walking through Gate 5 in Sausalito. I have returned to the Spring of 1969 when I, an aspiring artist, first fled family and the frenzied suburbs of Southern California for the frenzied psychedelia of Marin County.  The dream is suffused with the prismatic hue of dawn.  House boats float on the sparkling water in fantastic shapes of blue and violet.  An exotic woman in a colorful, patterned pareo approaches and tries to sound out my name-tag:  “C-R-R-A…”  She looks like one of Gauguin’s proud Polynesian beauties.  I am on LSD.  I have traveled back to California’s hippy golden age, lost in time, marooned on the desolate onramps of infinity.
Gauguin must have borne issues of self-identity and a cargo of repressed guilt after he fled home, family and the frantic, Parisian scene to set sail for the Polynesian Islands.
His thick jungle foliage casts blue, amorphous shadows that flood the pink, kelp-twined sands with death’s relentless vegetal tide.  Nubile girls offer fruits to an adze-hewn god.  A frieze of women sit on a low bench, their archaic gestures echo the stark, rhythmic symmetry of  Egyptian art.  The primary colors advance toward the picture plane, where flat, delineated shapes and pattern interweave with the rough weave of the sail cloth on which it was painted.
I see him ascending the green mountain with his poison vial, marooned in his tormented paradise; a man broken by syphilis, bourgeois aesthetes and the French colonial police.  The last question posed by his magnum opus remains:  Where have we been?   What are we?  Where are we going?
My dream–and it’s multi-leveled reflection in the morning pages–might shed some light.  Why does Gauguin’s aura rise in the Sausalito dawn?  How does his frustrated dream reflect my own rootless life?  Can I find an answer among the messages to my past, present and future self?  What am I?  On what standard hoist the emblem of my younger self?  By what vague tag made known?


I am an artist, writer and sailor in the Pacific Northwest.

3 thoughts on “By what vague tag known? More reflections on the morning pages.

  1. Your post weaves in and out of similar reflections, especially in preparation for writing the next project. Art, morning pages, complex family relationships. …interesting parallels which also leaves me wondering if my own storytelling will resurrect Gaugin color as well as yours. Lovely writing.

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