Have you ever experienced the feeling of being upside down after reading a book (or listening to music or seeing a painting)? You get blown away and everything around you seems to vanish. The older I get, the less it happens to me.
Last year, when I was in the Amsterdam Hermitage, I saw The Dance by Henri Matisse. Suddenly I saw it. I understood the power of this huge colorful painting. I understood expressionism. My art history teacher told us once, totally ecstatic: “Isn’t that great, how these dancers want to dance out of the painting.” I still can’t see it in a photograph.
But standing there, I suddenly understood what he meant. It was the frame that did it. The dancers seemed to want to push it away. It was not the only Aha that day. I also got the feeling in front of a Kandinsky. The audio guide played classical music from that period and the painting suddenly sprang to life. Never thought it would lead to something between me and Kandinsky. But maybe it happened, because I didn’t expect it at all.
And today and yesterday I had the feeling again, while reading Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck. Every word in this book is to the point. Contributes to an incredible suspense. The story grabs you from page 1 until the last one. It’s a nice portrait of the time. Very cinematic too. The book immediately sprang to life in my imagination, including the characters, who have that a great American accent as seen in the old movie. Barely 120 pages, but what a classic!