Forlag Wave Books
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Vincent van Gogh, whose depression, some say, was likely related to temporal lobe epilepsy, famously saw and painted the world in almost unbearably vivid colors. After his nearly unsuccessful attempt to take his life by shooting himself in the gut, when asked why he should not be saved, he famously replied, "The sadness will last forever." I imagine he was right.
Goethe describes blue as a lively color, but one devoid of gladness. "It may be said to disturb rather than enliven." Is to be in love with blue, then, to be in love with a disturbance? Or is the love itself the disturbance? And what kind of madness is it anyway, to be in love with something constitutionally incapable of loving you back?
At one point in history, to approximate the color of ultramarine, which comes from lapis, which for quite some time was available in only one mine, in what we now call Afghanistan—Sar-e-Sang, the Place of the Stone—and had to be journeyed out via hundreds of miles of treacherous trade roads, Westerners would churn up cheaper pigments with blood and copper. Generally speaking we don't do this anymore. We don't store our oils in the bladders of pigs. We go to the store. If we want to know what a phosphene is, we don't mash our fists into our eyes. We Google the word. If you're depressed, you take a pill. Some of these pills are bright blue. If you're lonely, there's a guy on Craigslist two blocks away who says he has an hour to kill and a dick longer than a donkey's. He has posted a photograph to prove it.
It calms me to think of blue as the color of death. I have long imagined death's approach as the swell of a wave—a towering wall of blue. You will dream, the world tells me, has always told me. You will descend into a blue underworld, blue with hungry ghosts, Krishna blue, the blue faces of the ones the loved. They all drowned too. To take a breath of water: does the thought panic or excite you? If you are in love with red then you slit or shoot. If you are in love with blue you fill your pouch with stones good for sucking and head down to the river. Any river will do.