The Writing on the Wall

Writing on the wall says, "The wind is rising. One must try to live."

"The wind is rising! ...We must yet strive to live!" –Paul Valéry

This time in 2017, my husband and I vacationed in Spain. As we walked home to the rising sun after a club night in Ibiza, I saw this writing on this wall. It was in French, which I couldn't read (goals: learn French one day), but I have an affinity foWriting on a wall in Ibizar messages on walls, pavement, etc., and keep a photo collection of such things.  

I love how strangers will place messages around that mean something to them. I wondered if it was some romantic, bohemian poet who loved the club scene who wrote this. Natural curiosity led me to find the meaning, and to Google I went! 

It translated into, "The wind is rising! ...We must yet strive to live!" I thought—"Wow, I don't know what that means." So, being that I'm not immune to narcissism, why not make it about me?

My take on this is about making the most out of life. At the time, I was in my fifth month as a full-time artist. March of 2017, after a 12-year career in advertising, I quit my full-time position as a graphic designer, which was a big jump. I took Ray Bradbury up on his advice to "build your wings on the way down." 

I now juggle my art practice with freelancing graphic design part-time. One day I'll get to do my art full-time, but it's a process. These past five years have been many trials in getting out of my comfort zone, especially with the pandemic.

I quit that job because I wanted a life where I loved every single day. Not just the weekends, holidays, or vacation days. I chose my art over comfort. So for me, it was a—life has struggles, keep going, sort of message.

Reading this quote made me think of a gust of wind and that feeling of excitement you get that reminds you of your connection to this world. Do you know that feeling? I get that feeling after painting; I also get that when I travel. My best life is about travel and art. And that's why I paint my travels, to make my life into art. 

After a search, I found that these two sentences were indeed not about me. Nor were they written by a sexy, bohemian, club rat poet. A French poet named Paul Valéry wrote this poem in the 1920s called "Le cimetière marin" (The Graveyard By The Sea), and this was a line from it. You can read the poem in its entirety (both French and English) HERE.

Leave a comment