Sentient in San Francisco – 7 October 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 7 October 1935 – Thomas Keneally, who, in the words of one writer, is an “Australian novelist, playwright, and essayist. He is best known for writing Schindler’s Ark, the Booker Prize-winning novel of 1982 which was inspired by the efforts of Poldek Pfefferberg, a Holocaust survivor. The book would later be adapted to Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture.”

Some quotes from the work of Thomas Keneally:

“Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”
“But then what is the alternative to trying to tell the truth about the Holocaust, the Famine, the Armenian genocide, the injustice of dispossession in the Americas and Australia? That everyone should be reduced to silence? To pretend that the Holocaust was the work merely of a well-armed minority who didn’t do as much harm as is claimed-and likewise, to argue that the Irish Famine was either an inevitability or the fault of the Irish-is to say that both were mere unreliable rumors, and not the great motors of history they so obviously proved to be. It suited me to think so at the time, but still I believe it to be true, that if there are going to be areas of history which are off-bounds, then in principle we are reduced to fudging, to cosmetic narrative.”
“The principle was, death should not be entered like some snug harbor. It should be an unambiguous refusal to surrender.”
“Personal finances are like people’s personal health, crucial and tragic to the sufferer but tedious to the listener.”
“The taste one gets of death in dreams I find more penetrating and atmospheric than the ordinary fear one might suffer while awake.”

Art for Autumn – Part I of II: Ron Reeves Meadow (American, contemporary)

Below – “Iris and Bud”; “Compassion” (bronze vase sculpture); “Rose and Light”


Remembering a Musician on the Date of His Birth: Born 7 October 1955 – Yo-Yo Ma, a French-born American cellist.

Art for Autumn – Part II of II: Lev Meshberg (Russian, 1933-2007)

Below – “Aquarium III”; “Still Life with Bananas”; “Chair”

Worth a Thousand Words: The Waipio Valley, Hawaii.


Contemporary American Art – Nigel van Wieck: Part I of III.

In the words of one writer, Nigel Van Wieck “is a British figurative painter and he’s working in the tradition of American realism. He has been living and working in New York, USA, since 1979. The fact that the artist is actually English is not apparent, in the least not in his works. They recall too much the works of American Realist artists, with whom he came in contact with after moving to America.”

Below – “First Floor”; “Tri Rail”; “The Builder”; “The Roofer 1”; “The Roofer 2”; “Sunbather.”


Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 7 October 1849 – Edgar Allan Poe, an American poet, short story writer, and critic.

“Ulalume”
by Edgar Allan Poe

The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere—
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year:
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir—
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

Here once, through an alley Titanic,
Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul—
Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.
These were days when my heart was volcanic
As the scoriac rivers that roll—
As the lavas that restlessly roll
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
In the ultimate climes of the pole—
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
In the realms of the boreal pole.

Our talk had been serious and sober,
But our thoughts they were palsied and sere—
Our memories were treacherous and sere,—
For we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year
(Ah, night of all nights in the year!)—
We noted not the dim lake of Auber
(Though once we had journeyed down here)—
Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

And now, as the night was senescent
And star-dials pointed to morn—
As the star-dials hinted of morn—
At the end of our path a liquescent
And nebulous lustre was born,
Out of which a miraculous crescent
Arose with a duplicate horn—
Astarte’s bediamonded crescent
Distinct with its duplicate horn.

And I said: “She is warmer than Dian;
She rolls through an ether of sighs—
She revels in a region of sighs:
She has seen that the tears are not dry on
These cheeks, where the worm never dies,
And has come past the stars of the Lion
To point us the path to the skies—
To the Lethean peace of the skies—
Come up, in despite of the Lion,
To shine on us with her bright eyes—
Come up through the lair of the Lion,
With love in her luminous eyes.”

But Psyche, uplifting her finger,
Said: “Sadly this star I mistrust—
Her pallor I strangely mistrust:
Ah, hasten! —ah, let us not linger!
Ah, fly! —let us fly! -for we must.”
In terror she spoke, letting sink her
Wings until they trailed in the dust—
In agony sobbed, letting sink her
Plumes till they trailed in the dust—
Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.

I replied: “This is nothing but dreaming:
Let us on by this tremulous light!
Let us bathe in this crystalline light!
Its Sybilic splendour is beaming
With Hope and in Beauty tonight!—
See!—it flickers up the sky through the night!
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming,
And be sure it will lead us aright—
We safely may trust to a gleaming,
That cannot but guide us aright,
Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night.”

Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her,
And tempted her out of her gloom—
And conquered her scruples and gloom;
And we passed to the end of the vista,
But were stopped by the door of a tomb—
By the door of a legended tomb;
And I said: “What is written, sweet sister,
On the door of this legended tomb?”
She replied: “Ulalume -Ulalume—
‘Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!”

Then my heart it grew ashen and sober
As the leaves that were crisped and sere—
As the leaves that were withering and sere;
And I cried: “It was surely October
On this very night of last year
That I journeyed—I journeyed down here!—
That I brought a dread burden down here—
On this night of all nights in the year,
Ah, what demon hath tempted me here?
Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber—
This misty mid region of Weir—
Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber,
This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.”

Below – “Ulalume” as illustrated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, circa 1847–1848.


Contemporary American Art – Nigel van Wieck: Part II of III.

In the words of one writer, “At first it was the American Realist paintings of the late 19th century that impressed Van Wieck, such as those of Thomas Eakins or Winslow Homer. But even stronger was his fascination with the work of Edward Hopper, whose art he thought was exemplary and in whom he perceived a kindred spirit.”

Below – “The Watertower Man 1”; “Workmen on Ladders”; “The Welder”; “Roller Skates For Hire”; “The Sweeper”; “The Artist.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 7 October 1966 – Sherman Alexie, a Native American novelist, short story writer, poet, filmmaker, and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Sherman Alexie:

“Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community.”
“’I used to think the world was broken down by tribes,’ I said. ‘By black and white. By Indian and white. But I know that isn’t true. The world is only broken into two tribes: The people who are assholes and the people who are not.’”
“These are things you should learn. Your past is a skeleton walking one step behind you; your future is a skeleton walking one step in front of you. Maybe you don’t wear a watch, but your skeletons do, and they always know what time it is. Now, these skeletons are made of memories, dreams, and voices. And they can trap you in the in-between, between touching and becoming. But they’re not necessarily evil, unless you let them be.”
“At least half the country thinks the mascot issue is insignificant. But I think it’s indicative of the ways in which Indians have no cultural power. We’re still placed in the past. So we’re either in the past or we’re only viewed through casinos.”
“If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one reads.”
“Can you hear the dreams crackling like a campfire? Can you hear the dreams sweeping through the pine trees and tipis? Can you hear the dreams laughing in the sawdust? Can you hear the dreams shaking just a little bit as the day grows long? Can you hear the dreams putting on a good jacket that smells of fry bread and sweet smoke? Can you hear the dreams stay up late and talk so many stories?”

Contemporary American Art – Nigel van Wieck: Part III of III.

Artist Statement: “I remember the day I wanted to be a painter, I was 10, at school in a painting class. The teacher demonstrated how to paint a sky by wetting a piece of paper and then running a brush loaded with blue paint across the top of the paper; as the blue paint ran down the paper, it diluted eventually becoming white thus creating a realistic sky. I then painted my own sky, and put a man in the foreground, it was magic and I was hooked.”

Below – “The Harlem Line”; “The Coat Check Girl”; “On the Way to Herravura”; “The Ticket Sales Girl”; “Mates”; “Full Moon.”

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