Working with yellow wallpaper all around you -- it's impossible.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote her famous story The Yellow Wallpaper based on her own experience -- as a patient suffering the "Rest Cure" and staring at that miserable but supposedly cheerful wallpaper all day -- used the colorful covering as inspiration (if you can call it that) to create her powerful tale about madness, women and creativity. Ever since reading it, I've been fascinated by yellow wallpaper. I notice it everywhere. I even imagine yellow wallpaper.
So after much stress from a simultaneously troublesome and glorious year (thank you, Guy), I felt I needed some sort of well, "Rest Cure" myself, but with the hopes of writing. I holed up in an antique Inn and chose to ... rest. But. I wasn't prepared for the yellow-hued wallpaper. No writing was accomplished -- I never dressed out of my black nightgown those long days, and never wrote a thing. Instead, movies, pictures, masks, crowns, tinsel and noise makers from New Year's Eve were brought out. That was nice. And fun. I actually smiled without caring how freakish my full grin and tangled teeth usually look in photos -- especially and because of that worrisome wallpaper all around me. I fell in love with that winsome wallpaper. But the next day there, I became ill: Yellow wallpaper.
As Perkins wrote:
"It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw -- not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things. But there is something else about that paper -- the smell! … The only thing I can think of that it is like, is the color of the paper! A yellow smell."
No, it didn't smell, but it wasn't a soft baby chick, it wasn't a dandelion, it wasn't ... something ... and then it wasn't something else. What was it? It's possible I wanted Gilman's yellow trapped woman to appear. I only hoped it wasn't me. Perhaps it was. The day after obsessively taking these pictures, my eyes are still suffering a severe reaction from, of all things, wrongly prescribed eye drops (Too much staring? I deserve it. I can't produce regular tears ... I want to cry, but they don't flow ... a bizarre, frustrating feelingt). Perfect. An eye sore. No crying. Peeling. Yellow wallpaper. The curious eye issue is slowly getting better. But the doctor says... different drops, heal the ducts, remove the stress. How about some (of course) rest. Yellow wallpaper. (Maybe the wallpaper is actually red.) But, no. Yellow wallpaper.
So, here's the photos. If you look at the last picture presented, multiple images of Jean Arthur appear across my mask. I have no idea how this phantom set of tracers happened. My back was to her as she tried to resist Joel McCrea's charms. Perhaps Jean Arthur's the woman in the yellow wallpaper. A good omen. But I'm not going back to check: Yelllow wallpaper.
Click on lower right side of slide show for full images.