American Art – Part I of IX: Kimberly Clark
In the words of one writer, “Kimberly received a Master of Fine Arts degree in 2011 from the University of Washington, a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Painting and Drawing from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA in 2009 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, PA in 2001. During her undergraduate studies, Kimberly trained as a muralist in Philadelphia, where she worked for 10 years as a mural designer, painter, restorer and instructor. She has completed commissions throughout Pennsylvania and in Chicago, IL and Santa Cruz, CA. Kimberly has shown her work in national group exhibitions. Her work focuses on natural imagery. She draws inspiration from the landscape, closely observing the play of light as it alters color and form, throughout the day, and the seasons.
A Poem for Today
By Rachel Hadas
Ida and Isidor Straus sleep side by side
eternally in an Egyptian galley
fronting their Woodlawn mausoleum.
Symbolically they lie. Their boat is small;
nor was her body recovered from the Titanic.
And yet the image of the voyage holds.
Why not embark? A river runs behind me
on the other side of this dark window.
A dream called Night Boat
arranged us side by side in a black craft,
sailing the river of forgetfulness
until the stars went out.
It was poetic license. I didn’t dream that boat.
The boat was dream, and we were passengers
balanced on the slippery cusp of daylight,
unless you had already disembarked
in some shadowy port,
leaving me to sail along alone.
Musings in Winter: Sylvia Plath
American Art – Part II of IX: Kathy Gore-Fuss
In the words of one writer, “Kathy is a graduate of the University of Washington. Her work has been included in numerous shows: among them; the Bellevue Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Whatcom Museum of History and Art, Prographica, and Blindfold Gallery. She has conducted Artist in Residencies through the Washington State Arts Commission and held adjunct faculty positions at Pacific Lutheran University, The Evergreen State College and South Puget Sound Community College. She is a recipient of an Artist Trust GAP award and has been selected for numerous commissions. She resides in Olympia, Washington.”
A Second Poem for Today
By Allen Ginsberg
I speak of love that comes to mind:
The moon is faithful, although blind;
She moves in thought she cannot speak.
Perfect care has made her bleak.
Musings in Winter: Hunter S. Thompson
“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”
Born 18 February 1860 – Anders Zorn, a Swedish painter, printmaker, etcher, and sculptor.
“In Mexico, an air conditioner is called a ‘politician,’ because it makes a lot of noise but doesn’t work very well.” – Len Deighton, British military historian, novelist, graphic artist, cookery writer, and author of “The IPCRESS File,” who was born 18 February 1929.
A few quotes from the work of Len Deighton:
“Do you ever make silly mistakes? It is one of my very few creative activities.”
“When they ask me to become president of the United States I’m going to say, ‘Except for Washington D.C.’”
“England’s civil war had ended in a consensus as the English discovered that they hated foreigners more than they hated their own countrymen.”
“It doesn’t take much to make the daily round with one’s employer work smoothly. A couple of ‘yessirs’ when you know that ‘not on your life’ is the thing to say. A few expressions of doubt about things you’ve spent your life perfecting. Forgetting to make use of the information that negates his hastily formed but deliciously convenient theories. It doesn’t take much but it takes about 98.5 per cent more than I’ve ever considered giving.”
Musings in Winter: Marcus Aurelius
American Art – Part III of IX: Sarah Takahashi
Artist Statement: “The portrait is one of the most widely recognized forms of visual art- both the simplest and most complex of subjects. As simple as the depiction of the angles of a face or as complex as nature (human or not), the portrait as a theme has remained prevalent throughout art history. The face is the first shape that babies recognize and continues to appeal to us on a visceral level. Faces, therefore, are the medium I use.”
A Third Poem for Today”
“The Past Is Still There”
By Deborah Garrison
I’ve forgotten so much.
What it felt like back then,
what we said to each other.
But sometimes when I’m standing
at the kitchen counter after dinner
and I look out the window at the dark
thinking of nothing,
something swims up.
“When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited.” – Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Indian mystic and spiritual teacher, who was born 18 February 1836.
Some quotes from the work of Ramakrishna:
“Different creeds are but different paths to reach the same God.”
“Common men talk bagfuls of religion but do not practice even a grain of it. The wise man speaks a little, even though his whole life is religion expressed in action.”
“Only two kinds of people can attain self-knowledge: those who are not encumbered at all with learning, that is to say, whose minds are not over-crowded with thoughts borrowed from others; and those who, after studying all the scriptures and sciences, have come to realise that they know nothing.”
“One man may read the ‘Bhagavata’ by the light of a lamp, and another may commit a forgery by that very light; but the lamp is unaffected. The sun sheds its light on the wicked as well as on the virtuous.”
“God is in all men, but all men are not in God; that is why we suffer.”
“The winds of God’s grace are always blowing, it is for us to raise our sails.”
“Do not seek illumination unless you seek it as a man whose hair is on fire seeks a pond.”
“The goal of life is not the earning of money, but the service of God.”
“God can be realized through all paths. All religions are true. The important thing is to reach the roof. You can reach it by stone stairs or by wooden stairs or by bamboo steps or by a rope. You can also climb up by a bamboo pole.”
Musings in Winter: John Updike
“Not only are selves conditional but they die. Each day, we wake slightly altered, and the person we were yesterday is dead. So why, one could say, be afraid of death, when death comes all the time? It is even possible to dislike our old selves, these disposable ancestors of ours. For instance, my high-school self—skinny, scabby, giggly, gabby, frantic to be noticed, tormented enough to be a tormentor, relentlessly pushing his cartoons and posters and noisy jokes and pseudo-sophisticated poems upon the helpless-high school—strikes me now as considerably obnoxious, though I owe him a lot: without his frantic ambition and insecurity I would not now be sitting on (as my present home was named by others) Haven Hill. And my Ipswich self, a delayed second edition of that high-school self, in a town much like Shillington in its blend of sweet and tough, only more spacious and historic and blessedly free of family ghosts, and my own relative position in the “gang” improved, enhanced by a touch of wealth and celebrity, a mini-Mailer in our small salt-water pond, a stag of sorts in our herd of housewife-does, flirtatious, malicious, greedy for my quota of life’s pleasures, a distracted, mediocre father and worse husband—he seems another obnoxious show-off, rapacious and sneaky and, in the service of his own ego, remorseless. But, then, am I his superior in anything but caution and years, and how can I disown him without disowning also his useful works, on which I still receive royalties? And when I entertain in my mind these shaggy, red-faced, overexcited, abrasive fellows, I find myself tenderly taken with their diligence, their hopefulness, their ability in spite of all to map a broad strategy and stick with it. So perhaps one cannot, after all, not love them.”
Italian Art – Part I of II: Michelangelo
“If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” – Michelangelo Buonarotti, Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer, who died 18 February 1564.
A Fourth Poem for Today
“Our Holy Howling Mother”
By Alice D’Alessio
Here is this vast, savage, howling mother of ours, Nature, lying all around, with such beauty. H.D.T. from Excursions
Bad news, Henry,
it’s hard to find Her anymore,
She’s been so scraped,
so raped, so scavenged.
And yet you’d be amazed to watch us
seek the relics left behind—
each lonely riff of trees,
each butterfly. Girded with late reports
we hurry to be the one who gets there first
who pokes the camera
at the purple prairie clover
chases the tattered Mourning Cloak
through ditches, races home
to post the photos on the web.
Yes, we fret about Her savage howling—
louder now in hot dry creek beds
and blown-off mountain tops.
But we are lulled by the sight
of an Oriole at the feeder
as Our Mother rumbles deep in her core
breathes fire and wind
Musings in Winter: Victoria Erickson
“Although I deeply love oceans, deserts and other wild landscapes, it is only mountains that beckon me with that sort of painful magnetic pull to walk deeper and deeper into their beauty. They keep me continuously wanting to know more, feel more, see more.”
Italian Art – Part II of II: Willy Verginer
Musings in Winter: Heinrich Zimmer
“Anger … it’s a paralyzing emotion … you can’t get anything done. People sort of think it’s an interesting, passionate, and igniting feeling — I don’t think it’s any of that — it’s helpless … it’s absence of control — and I need all of my skills, all of the control, all of my powers … and anger doesn’t provide any of that — I have no use for it whatsoever.” – Toni Morrison, American novelist, editor, professor, winner of the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 1988 American Book Award (for “Beloved”), and recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature for being a writer “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality,” who was born 18 February 1931.
Some quotes from the work of Toni Morrison:
“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”
“I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.”
“She was the third beer. Not the first one, which the throat receives with almost tearful gratitude; nor the second, that confirms and extends the pleasure of the first. But the third, the one you drink because it’s there, because it can’t hurt, and because what difference does it make?”
“As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.”
“Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another–physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion.”
“I never asked Tolstoy to write for me, a little colored girl in Lorain, Ohio. I never asked [James] Joyce not to mention Catholicism or the world of Dublin. Never. And I don’t know why I should be asked to explain your life to you. We have splendid writers to do that, but I am not one of them. It is that business of being universal, a word hopelessly stripped of meaning for me. Faulkner wrote what I suppose could be called regional literature and had it published all over the world. That’s what I wish to do. If I tried to write a universal novel, it would be water. Behind this question is the suggestion that to write for black people is somehow to diminish the writing. From my perspective there are only black people. When I say ‘people,’ that’s what I mean.”
Musings in Winter: Steve Maraboli
American Art – Part IV of IX: Brianna Lee
In the words of one writer, “Brianna Lee is a native California artist with a love of beauty and the human form. Born into an artistic family in Visalia, CA, her passion for art was encouraged and nurtured at a young age.
Pursuing a degree in Fine Art, Education and Western Art History, she attended the University of California, Santa Cruz. Ms. Lee later moved to Los Angeles to study contemporary and traditional painting techniques.”
Musings in Winter: Anne Morrow Lindbergh
A Fifth Poem for Today
By Anne Sexton
It is in the small things we see it.
The child’s first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.
if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.
if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off your heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.
when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you’ll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you’ll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you’ll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.
Musings in Winter: Ansel Adams
From the Music Archives: George Harrison
18 February 1977 – George Harrison releases “True Love.”
A Sixth Poem for Today
“The Vinegar Man”
By Ruth Comfort Mitchell
The crazy old Vinegar Man is dead! He never had missed a day before!
Somebody went to his tumble-down shed by the Haunted House and forced the door.
There in the litter of his pungent pans,
the murky mess of his mixing place
Deep, sticky spiders and empty cans
with the same old frown on his sour old face.
Vinegar – Vinegar – Vinegar Man!
Face – us – and – chase – us – and – catch – if -you – can!
Pepper for a tongue! Pickle for a nose!
Stick a pin in him and vinegar flows!
Glare -at-us- swear -at-us- catch – if – you-can!
Ketchup – and – chow – chow – and -Vinegar -Man!
Nothing but recipes and worthless junk;
greasy old records of paid and due
But down in the depths of a battered trunk,
a queer, quaint Valentine torn in two?
Red hearts and arrows and silver lace,
and a prim, dim, ladylike script that said
“With dearest love, from Ellen to Ned!”
Steal – us – and – peel – us – and – drown – us -in – brine!
He pickles his heart in a valentine!
Vinegar for blood! Pepper for his tongue!
Stick a pin in him and
…once he was young!
Glare -at-us- swear -at-us- catch – if – you – can!
“With dearest love” to the Vinegar Man!
Dingy little books of profit and loss
(died about Saturday, so they say),
And a queer, quaint valentine torn across . . .
torn, but it never was thrown away!
“With dearest love from Ellen to Ned”
“Old Pepper Tongue! Pickles his heart in brine!”
The Vinegar Man is a long time dead:
he died when he tore his valentine.
Editor’s note: “I found this poem in a 100 year old book of poems for children. The author had included a gentle admonishment to be kind to the many ‘queer’ people who live among us. I think every childhood has some ghosts of Vinegar Men. Mine included a low functioning man who mowed lawns for his living and who was terrorized by teen boys who called him ‘Cherokee Chuck’ and made mock war dances around him in order to evoke his peculiar rage.
I like the way this strange little poem captures the idea of the ‘other’ we think we have pegged as having a mysterious backstory, which is, of course, truth.”
Musings in Winter: Albert Schweitzer
American Art – Part V of IX: Nancy Guzik
In the words of one writer, “For the past twenty-eight years Nancy Guzik has been quietly perfecting not only her skills, but the focus of her work. The result is an engaging warmth and honesty of expression. Her underlying themes are always of faith, and trust, and love.
As Nancy’s technique has matured, her inner search remains as a constant. Her work cannot be described simply in words, because the images she creates are her messages. Nancy seeks to reveal how extraordinary the most ordinary of things are. It is the quiet wisdom of this insight that drives her art.
Nancy studied at The American Academy of Art in Chicago and The Lyme Academy of Fine Art in Old Lyme, Connecticut. However, it was her close association and ensuing relationship with Richard Schmid that brought her painting to its full potential. Nancy and Richard married in April of 1998.”
Musings in Winter: Anna Quindlen
“I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.”
“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.” – Nikos Kazantzakis, Greek writer, philosopher, and author of “Zorba the Greek,” who was born 18 February 1883.
Some quotes from the work of Nikos Kazantzakis:
“This is true happiness: to have no ambition and to work like a horse as if you had every ambition. To live far from men, not to need them and yet to love them. To have the stars above, the land to your left and the sea to your right and to realize of a sudden that in your heart, life has accomplished its final miracle: it has become a fairy tale.”
“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their
“God changes his appearance every second. Blessed is the man who can recognize him in all his disguises.”
“Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.”
“I was happy, I knew that. While experiencing happiness, we have difficulty in being conscious of it. Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it do we suddenly realize – sometimes with astonishment – how happy we had been.”
“I said to the almond tree, ‘Sister, speak to me of God.’ And the almond tree blossomed.”
“You have your brush, you have your colors, you paint the paradise, then in you go.”
“Look, one day I had gone to a little village. An old grandfather of ninety was busy planting an almond tree. ‘What, grandfather!’ I exclaimed. ‘Planting an almond tree?’ And he, bent as he was, turned around and said: ‘My son, I carry on as if I should never die.’ I replied: ‘And I carry on as if I was going to die any minute.’
Which of us was right, boss?”
“Every man has his folly, but the greatest folly of all … is not to have one.”
“Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean sea.”
“We come from a dark abyss, we end in a dark abyss, and we call the luminous interval life.”
“All those who actually live the mysteries of life haven’t the time to write, and all those who have the time don’t live them! D’you see?”
“When an almond tree became covered with blossoms in the heart of winter, all the trees around it began to jeer. ‘What vanity,’ they screamed, ‘what insolence! Just think, it believes it can bring spring in this way!’ The flowers of the almond tree blushed for shame. ‘Forgive me, my sisters,’ said the tree. ‘I swear I did not want to blossom, but suddenly I felt a warm springtime breeze in my heart.’”
“All my life one of my greatest desires has been to travel-to see and touch unknown countries, to swim in unknown seas, to circle the globe, observing new lands, seas, people, and ideas with insatiable appetite, to see everything for the first time and for the last time, casting a slow, prolonged glance, then to close my eyes and feel the riches deposit themselves inside me calmly or stormily according to their pleasure, until time passes them at last through its fine sieve, straining the quintessence out of all the joys and sorrows.”
“When shall I at last retire into solitude alone, without companions, without joy and without sorrow, with only the sacred certainty that all is a dream? When, in my rags—without desires—shall I retire contented into the mountains? When, seeing that my body is merely sickness and crime, age and death, shall I—free, fearless, and blissful—retire to the forest? When? When, oh when?”
A Seventh Poem for Today
“Even the Dead”
By David Lee Garrison
Even the Dead Will Die Someday~ Miguel de Unamuno
Bury me in this graveyard,
lost among farms and forests,
where even the dead are dead;
where epitaphs can barely be read;
where the outline of a hand carved
in a slab points toward the sky
and demonstrates the faith
of all the men and women who lie
here in the hope of resurrection;
where stones record longings for
a stricken child, son killed in war,
wife or husband gone before;
American Art – Part VI of IX: John Henry Twachtman
In the words of one historian, “John Henry Twachtman (August 4, 1853 – August 8, 1902) was an American painter best known for his impressionist landscapes, though his painting style varied widely through his career. Art historians consider Twachtman’s style of American Impressionism to be among the more personal and experimental of his generation.”
American Literary Genius – Part I of II: Mark Twain
18 February 1885 – Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is published.
Some quotes from “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’:
“Just because you’re taught that something’s right and everyone believes it’s right, it don’t make it right.”
“That is just the way with some people. They get down on a thing when they don’t know nothing about it.”
“Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and a body ain’t got no business doing wrong when he ain’t ignorant and knows better.”
“Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And hain’t that a big enough majority in any town?”
“Stars and shadows ain’t good to see by.”
“We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world and it’s efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don’t know anything and can’t read.”
“I felt so lonesome I most wished I was dead. The stars were shining, and the leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and I heard an owl, away off, who-whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog crying about somebody that was going to die.”
“We catched fish, and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness. It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn’t ever feel like talking loud, and it warn’t often that we laughed, only a kind of low chuckle. We had mighty good weather, as a general thing, and nothing ever happened to us at all, that night, nor the next, nor the next.”
HERE IS ONE OF THE MOST GLORIOUS MOMENTS IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE ( HEMINGWAY CONSIDERED THIS TO BE THE “REAL” END OF THE NOVEL.):
“‘Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send.
I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn’t do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking–thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I’d see him standing my watch on top of his’n, ‘stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he’s got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper.
It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:
‘All right, then, I’ll GO to hell’–and tore it up.”
“But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.”
American Art – Part VII of IX: Michael Howard
In the words of one writer, “Michael Howard graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (1988) and completed his graduate degree in painting at the University of Cincinnati (1991). He has had solo exhibitions at Inova; the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee; the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design; the Francine Seders Gallery, Seattle; the Association for Visual Artists, Chattanooga; Pierce College, Lakewood, Washington; and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Recently his work was included in Colors of Gray at Prographica and Decoy, a show he curated at Francine Seders Gallery (both in 2012). Howard has received the Betty Bowen Award (Seattle) and the Mary Nohl Fellowship in the professional artist category (Milwaukee). Michael Howard currently lives and works in Seattle.”
Musings in Winter: Anais Nin
“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”
American Literary Genius – Part II of II: Wallace Stegner
“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed … We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.” – Wallace Stegner, American historian, novelist, short story writer, environmentalist, recipient of the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (for “Angle of Repose”), recipient of the 1977 National Book Award for Fiction (for “The Spectator Bird”), and generally acclaimed during his lifetime as “The Dean of Western Writers,” who was born 18 February 1909.
Some quotes from the work of Wallace Stegner:
“It should not be denied… that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations, with absolute freedom, and the road has always led West.”
“One cannot be pessimistic about the West. This is the native home of hope. When it fully learns that cooperation, not rugged individualism, is the quality that most characterizes and preserves it, then it will have achieved itself and outlived its origins. Then it has a chance to create a society to match its scenery.”
“Most things break, including hearts. The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus.”
“Touch. It is touch that is the deadliest enemy of chastity, loyalty, monogamy, gentility with its codes and conventions and restraints. By touch we are betrayed and betray others … an accidental brushing of shoulders or touching of hands … hands laid on shoulders in a gesture of comfort that lies like a thief, that takes, not gives, that wants, not offers, that awakes, not pacifies. When one flesh is waiting, there is electricity in the merest contact.”
“It is something—it can be everything—to have found a fellow bird with whom you can sit among the rafters while the drinking and boasting and reciting and fighting go on below.”
“You can plan all you want to. You can lie in your morning bed and fill whole notebooks with schemes and intentions. But within a single afternoon, within hours or minutes, everything you plan and everything you have fought to make yourself can be undone as a slug is undone when salt is poured on him. And right up to the moment when you find yourself dissolving into foam you can still believe you are doing fine.”
“Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted comprehend.”
“That old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air … Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.”
“Wisdom. . .is knowing what you have to accept.”
“It is an easy mistake to think that non-talkers are non-feelers.”
“It is the beginning of wisdom when you recognize that the best you can do is choose which rules you want to live by, and it’s persistent and aggravated imbecility to pretend you can live without any.”
“There it was, there it is, the place where during the best time of our lives friendship had its home and happiness its headquarters.”
“He used to tell me, ‘Do what you like to do. It’ll probably turn out to be what you do best.’”
“Is that the basis of friendship? Is it as reactive as that? Do we respond only to people who seem to find us interesting?… Do we all buzz or ring or light up when people press our vanity buttons, and only then? Can I think of anyone in my whole life whom I have liked without his first showing signs of liking me?”
“Be proud of every scar on your heart, each one holds a lifetime’s worth of lessons.”
“Towns are like people. Old ones often have character, the new ones are interchangeable.”
“You’ll do what you think you want to do, or what you think you ought to do. If you’re very lucky, luckier than anybody I know, the two will coincide.”
“Youth hasn’t got anything to do with chronological age. It’s times of hope and happiness.”
“Some people, I am told, have memories like computers, nothing to do but punch the button and wait for the print-out. Mine is more like a Japanese library of the old style, without a card file or an indexing system or any systematic shelf plan. Nobody knows where anything is except the old geezer in felt slippers who has been shuffling up and down those stacks for sixty-nine years. When you hand him a problem he doesn’t come back with a cartful and dump it before you, a jackpot of instant retrieval. He finds one thing, which reminds him of another, which leads him off to the annex, which directs him to the east wing, which sends him back two tiers from where he started. Bit by bit he finds you what you want, but like his boss who seems to be under pressure to examine his life, he takes his time.”
“I wonder if ever again Americans can have that experience of returning to a home place so intimately known, profoundly felt, deeply loved, and absolutely submitted to? It is not quite true that you can’t go home again. I have done it, coming back here. But it gets less likely. We have had too many divorces, we have consumed too much transportation, we have lived too shallowly in too many places.”
“[The modern age] knows nothing about isolation and nothing about silence. In our quietest and loneliest hour the automatic ice-maker in the refrigerator will cluck and drop an ice cube, the automatic dishwasher will sigh through its changes, a plane will drone over, the nearest freeway will vibrate the air. Red and white lights will pass in the sky, lights will shine along highways and glance off windows. There is always a radio that can be turned to some all-night station, or a television set to turn artificial moonlight into the flickering images of the late show. We can put on a turntable whatever consolation we most respond to, Mozart or Copland or the Grateful Dead.”
“In a way, it is beautiful to be young and hard up. With the right wife, and I had her, deprivation became a game.”
“Pleasant things to hear, though hearing them from him embarrasses me. I soak up the praise but feel obliged to disparage the gift. I believe that most people have some degree of talent for something–forms, colors, words, sounds. Talent lies around in us like kindling waiting for a match, but some people, just as gifted as others, are less lucky. Fate never drops a match on them. The times are wrong, or their health is poor, or their energy low, or their obligations too many. Something.”
“She has had no role in my life except to keep me sane, fed, housed, amused, and protected from unwanted telephone calls, also to restrain me fairly frequently from making a horse’s ass of myself in public, to force me to attend to books and ideas from which she knows I will learn something; also to mend my wounds when I am misused by the world, to implant ideas in my head and stir the soil around them, to keep me from falling into a comfortable torpor, to agitate my sleeping hours with problems that I would not otherwise attend to; also to remind me constantly (not by precept but by example) how fortunate I have been to live for fifty-three years with a woman that bright, alert, charming, and supportive.”
“Civilizations grow by agreements and accommodations and accretions, not by repudiations. The rebels and the revolutionaries are only eddies, they keep the stream from getting stagnant but they get swept down and absorbed, they’re a side issue. Quiet desperation is another name for the human condition. If revolutionaries would learn that they can’t remodel society by day after tomorrow — haven’t the wisdom to and shouldn’t be permitted to — I’d have more respect for them … Civilizations grow and change and decline — they aren’t remade.”
“If there is such a thing as being conditioned by climate and geography, and I think there is, it is the West that has conditioned me. It has the forms and lights and colors that I respond to in nature and in art. If there is a western speech, I speak it; if there is a western character or personality, I am some variant of it; if there is a western culture in the small-c , anthropological sense, I have not escaped it. It has to have shaped me. I may even have contributed to it in minor ways, for culture is a pyramid to which each of us brings a stone.”
Musings in Winter: Jack Kerouac
American Art – Part VIII of IX: Carolyn Krieg
In the words of one writer, “Carolyn Krieg has had numerous solo or two person shows, including Seattle Art Museum; Art Museum Missoula, Montana; William Reagh Los Angeles Photography Center; Sun Valley Arts Center, Idaho; Dahl Fine Arts Center, Rapid City, South Dakota; and Goddard Center for Visual and Performing Arts, Oklahoma.”
An Eighth Poem for Today
“Working in the Rain”
By Robert Morgan
My father loved more than anything to
work outside in wet weather. Beginning
at daylight he’d go out in dripping brush
to mow or pull weeds for hog and chickens.
First his shoulders got damp and the drops from
his hat ran down his back. When even his
armpits were soaked he came in to dry out
by the fire, making coffee, read a little.
But if the rain continued he’d soon be
restless, and go out to sharpen tools in
the shed or carry wood from the pile,
then open up a puddle to the drain,
working by steps back into the downpour.
I thought he sought the privacy of rain,
the one time no one was likely to be
out and he was left to the intimacy
of drops touching every leaf and tree in
the woods and the easy mutterings of
drip and runoff, the shine of pools behind
grass dams. He could not resist the long
ritual, the companionship and freedom
of falling weather, or even the cold
drenching, the heavy soak and chill of clothes
and sobbing of fingers and sacrifice
of shoes that earned a baking by the fire
and washed fatigue after the wandering
and loneliness in the country of rain.
Back from the Territory – Art: The work of Fairbanks, Alaska painter Claire Fejes (1920-1998)
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
A Ninth Poem for Today
By William Stafford
When there was air, when you could
breathe any day if you liked, and if you
wanted to you could run. I used to
climb those hills back of town and
follow a gully so my eyes were at ground
level and could look out through grass as the
bent in their tensile way, and see snow
mountains follow along, the way distance goes.
Now I carry those days in a tiny box
wherever I go, I open the lid like this
and let the light glimpse and then glance away.
There is a sigh like my breath when I do this.
Some days I do this again and again.
American Art – Part IX of IX: Kathy Liao
In the words of one writer, “Kathy Liao received her M.F.A. in Painting at Boston University. She completed her undergraduate studies at University of Washington with a B.F.A. in Painting and Drawing and B.A. in Psychology. Liao has exhibited nationally in Boston, New York, and locally at Blindfold Gallery, Lisa Harris Gallery, ArtXchange Gallery, and Kate Alkarni Gallery. Kathy Liao is currently represented by Prographica Gallery. She is the recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshield Foundation Grant, Brooks Fellowship from Anderson Ranch, Jentel Fellowship, and Boston University College of Fine Art Merit Scholarship. Kathy Liao currently teaches at Gage Academy of Arts and Cornish College of Arts. In the past, she has taught and lectured at Seattle University, University of Washington, Boston University, and Winslow Art Center.”