Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Donald Roller Wilson -- A Strong Night Wind: A Sad Day for Me

I didn't want to begin my new Donald Roller Wilson blog post on a sad note, but I have to do it in order to get to what the point of this post is all about. It is with great sadness that I write these words, and I wasn't even aware that it was going to be such a heart-wrenching thing until about twenty minutes prior to sitting down at the computer to write this.

Back in 1994, I bought Donald Roller Wilson's book, "A Strong Night Wind". This was no easy task, seeing as how I only made about $125.00 a week working in a grocery store deli, and the book was $65.00 at Books-A-Million. I remember that I had to actually put in an order for the book, and none of the clerks even seemed to remotely know what (or who) I was talking about. I will never forget the first day that I actually took the book home from Books-A-Million--it was almost like a parent bringing their newborn baby home for the first time. I had to jump through all kinds of hoops to even FIND the book, and now it was in my hands!

I just remember sitting down that night and staying up until I don't know how late, looking at all of the pictures of Roller's paintings in amazement. For those who are still somewhat new to Roller, his world of imagery is a world that you can easily get caught up in, no doubt. You truly feel like you are IN the paintings--it's hard to describe. I don't know if it's a form of escapism or whatever, but there's something actually comforting about Roller's paintings, even though they can be kind of whacked-out and strange. Here's another example of Roller's work:

I had to include the title for this one (It tells its own story):

The Daughter's Shoes

Mrs. Mystery's daughter's shoes
Were smoking late last night
(Some toeless platform sling backs without tongues)

When morning came, Patricia woke
And knew she couldn't wear them
(From all the heat, they'd burn the ladder's rungs)

So she held still - she didn't climb
And Mrs. Mystery waited
(She held the breath which strained inside her lungs)

Mrs. Mystery's daughter's shoes
Went up in smoke last night
(Some soulless platform sling backs without tongues)

The Reason My Day Was Sad

Okay, back to my story. So I have Roller's book, A Strong Night Wind, and I have had it since I was in college back in '94. This is a book that I can truly say is a treasure to me. I think this is true partly because I had to work my butt off to get it (remember my extremely broke budget at the time), and plus it's just an amazing book in every respect. Well, I had packed up this treasure along with Roller's other book, "The Dreams of Donald Roller Wilson", into a cardboard box, to prepare for our move into our new home. During all of the shuffle of moving and getting things settled, I had left a bunch of boxes in the garage, with the intention of putting them in other places later. The Roller box was among those in the garage.

Well, not too many days after, our water heater (which is in the garage) busted, flooding the entire garage. Unfortunately, the Roller box was on the floor of the garage, and was affected by the deluge, even more than I thought at the time. In the midst of us cleaning up the water, getting a repairman to replace the water heater, staying at a friend's house in the meantime, etc., etc., the Roller box just sat there, and actually just dried out all on its own. I really didn't think that too much damage was done, until tonight when I finally pulled A Strong Night Wind out of the box.

I am terribly sad to say, the book got pretty messed up by the water damage. Many of the pages are stuck together, and almost all of the pages have that "wavy" look, of having been water-logged but then drying out improperly. It was truly a very sad moment for me, because I never wanted anything to happen to that book. Thank God it wasn't completely destroyed or anything like that, but it was definitely a HUGE bummer to me.

I said all that to say, I love A Strong Night Wind, and I'm going to begin to include some excerpts from the book, as they give a lot of insight into the thought processes that Donald Roller Wilson uses to develop his amazing paintings. Look for more details in future long until then.