The Blues

23 Oct

From Nancy Preston’s website (friend of Sybil)

I used to wonder what color depression was.  I remember reading about Sybil and her blue period and her blue paintings and blue seemed to me like the appropriate color, but now it has come out that Sybil was lying to please her Dr. Wilbur.  In “A Girl Not Named Sybil,” Debbie Nathan states that Sybil  made her multiple personalities up because she wanted to keep Dr. Wilbur in her life and Dr. Wilbur wanted to advance in her career, so they lied to each other.  The role in Sybil that helped to make Sally Field a star, in the same way another similar role  made Joanne Woodward a star in Three Faces of Eve and won her an Oscar, is based on a fake malady (New Tork Times Oct. 14).  The actress is still good but the portrait of  Sybil, while faithful to some kind of psychosis is not the true picture of Sybil.  Sybil apparently had problems but she was not multiple.

But I am getting sidetracked.  It’s the color blue that made me think of Sybil.  Blue is one of my favorite colors, but it does suggest to me a certain moodiness or restlessness of the spirit.  According to Big Site of American Facts (just the kind of site I would recommend to my students :>)), the early settlers termed a certain lowness of spirit “the blue devils” or “the blues” and this term was then appropriated to the African American music that developed out of the spirituals and experiences associated with slavery.  In “Weary Blues,” Langston Hughes describes just how I feel today: “I got the Weary Blues/And I can’t be satisfied.”

When I’m in this frame of mind, I’m very fragile and I’m never sure exactly what to do with myself.  One thing that did not work today was watching the news.  CNN always prides itself on being everywhere and getting every shot, so when the commentators started talking about Zanesville, Ohio and all the dead animals, they went on the property and took a long shot of all the corpses.  I had to turn away.  Between that and pictures of a bloodied Gaddafi, I’ve had enough images of death.

One thing that usually works for me is my alternation of running and walking, which I do at Cornell Plantations.  Today the physical aspect did help me and for awhile I was able to “step out” of myself.  I didn’t see the heron, but I can still see green and the rhythm of the running helps to shift me out of the blues into a different color, orange maybe.  And I had a piece of chocolate cake, which no one will ever convince me is bad for you.

2 Responses to “The Blues”

  1. claireaperez October 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    This is a beautiful picture to match the words and feelings of your blog post.

  2. Thank you. I wasn’t sure about reading this for the group.

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