Just A Bubble

by - August 02, 2013

We are what we create. Creation is a part of us and gives you an opportunity to step inside someones mind. When reading a book you're going on a hunt. You're trying to establish pararllels between the words written down and the writer himself. It sometimes gives you an explanation of why a character moves, does or thinks a certain way. However, sometimes we see things that aren't there.

I once took classes in Art & Symbolism. It was very interesting to see how a little detail can change the whole meaning of a piece. For example you can look at "The Life of Man" by Jan Steen. This artwork was painted around 1665, a time where everything had to mean something in the name of the Dutch Reformed Church. Going by the title and the scenery, you're first hunch is that it's a reflection of the day-to-day life of the average citizen. You see people having fun and enjoying themselves, but joy always had to come with a brutal lesson.

The painting is like a stage (hence the depicted draped curtain across the top). As the dutch saying goes: "De wereld is een schouwtoneel; Elke speelt zijn rol en krijgt zijn deel" (Translation: The world's a stage; Each plays his role and gets his share"). Basically what comes around, goes around and these people who are acting grotesque will soon see their creator... dum, dum duuuum.

You can't see it that well on the painting, but in the upper left corner sits a little boy. He's blowing bubbles and like a bubble which will suddenly burst, our life may suddenly come to an end. Next to the boy is a skull. And no, he isn't imitating Sherlock Holmes. This the 17th century, get your mind to it! In the 17th century when a skull popped up on a (Vanitas) painting it meant that death is always around the corner, which in Sherlock Holmes' case is quite true...

But going back to the point I was making: You can analyse every painting you see and sound smart around your friends, but sometimes there's nothing more to see than that's depicted. Sometimes painters portrayed flowers, not because beauty is fragile and like the lifespan of a flower we all soon die (dum, dum duuuum), but because they wanted to show off how good they were in portaying flowers.

Just some flowers by Pieter Wagemans, or is it?

At the moment I'm reading The Liar by Stephen Fry. It all begins with the words: "Not one word of the following is true". So in my mind I try to let go of the image of Stephen Fry and go in open minded. However I can't help to discover references to sir Fry and doubting that those words are applicable to the main character and not the writer. That the image of the writer and do's and don'ts of the main character are linked, but not true... if that makes sense. Also the Evening Standard reviewed the book starting with: "Stephen Fry's autobiographical novel...", which means in my eyes that the lie about the truth is infact false.

The book is sometimes confusing and dazzling and quite brilliant, but there's a lot of sex in it and therefore it stumbles a bit for me. Which makes me think of a dutch writer who's known for his novels to be a bit explicit (he said he's in the noble war against the taboo around sex... good on him).
I've read one book of his, ironically the only one without the sex & stuff. The book's called Troost by Ronald Giphart (Ronald Giphart being the writer, not the title). With Troost he wanted to make a statement as to how we're not satisfied with books alone. We want more than just a book. We want to know everything about the writer and the meaning behind it all (linking the written words with the one who put them there). We most preferably want to see the back of his tongue. We want to be engaged in the process, but without straining ourselves.

There are a lot of platforms where people can express themselves. It's accesible, easier and often just some buttons away. A book is less luring to the nowadays youth, because there's so much information floating around. They are already cluttered, so the easier way out is to mindlesly watch bad television than to read a book. Having said this: the youth is reading more than ever and saying that books are outdated is outdated on itself.


Sources: Picture 1/ Picture 2/ Picture 3/ Picture 4

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