Sentient in San Francisco – 26 September 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 26 September 1949 – Jane Smiley, an American novelist and recipient of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “A Thousand Acres.”

Some quotes from the work of Jane Smiley:

“Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.”
“A child who is protected from all controversial ideas is as vulnerable as a child who is protected from every germ. The infection, when it comes- and it will come- may overwhelm the system, be it the immune system or the belief system.”
“But what truly horsey girls discover in the end is that boyfriends, husbands, children, and careers are the substitute-for horses”
“I was depressed, but that was a side issue. This was more like closing up shop, or, say, having a big garage sale, where you look at everything you’ve bought in your life, and you remember how much it meant to you, and now you just tag it for a quarter and watch ’em carry it off, and you don’t care. That’s more like how it was.”
“Leaving any bookstore is hard, especially on a day in August, when the street outside burns and glares, and the books inside are cool and crisp to the touch; especially on a day in January, when the wind is blowing, the ice is treacherous, and the books inside seem to gather together in colorful warmth. It’s hard to leave a bookstore any day of the year, though, because a bookstore is one of the few places where all the cantankerous, conflicting, alluring voices of the world co-exist in peace and order and the avid reader is as free as a person can possibly be, because she is free to choose among them.”
“Like most of the educated, I do harbor a fondness for the sins of my ignorant past.”
“You know what getting married is? It’s agreeing to taking this person who right now is at the top of his form, full of hopes and ideas, feeling good, looking good, wildly interested in you because you’re the same way, and sticking by him while he slowly disintegrates. And he does the same for you. You’re his responsibility now and he’s yours. If no one else will take care of him, you will. If everyone else rejects you, he won’t. What do you think love is? Going to bed all the time?”

Art for Autumn – Part I of V: Michael Lynch (American, contemporary)

Below – “Red Willows”; “Early Spring Squall”; “Billy Goat Mountain”

For Your Information: 26 September is both National Pancake Day and National Dumpling Day in the United States.


Art for Autumn – Part II of V: Richard MacDonald (American, contemporary)

Below – “Daybreak” (platinum); “Joie de Vivre” (bronze); “Nightfall” (bronze)


Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 26 September 1952 – George Santayana, a Spanish/American philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist.

Some quotes from the work of George Santayana:

“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”
“Sanity is a madness put to good uses.”
“To be interested in the changing seasons is . . . a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”
“The world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter; and in these, the spirit blooms timidly, and struggles to the light amid the thorns.”
“To be happy you must have taken the measure of your powers, tasted the fruits of your passion, and learned your place in the world.”
“Fanaticism consists of redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.”
“Everything in nature is lyrical in its ideal essence, tragic in its fate, and comic in its existence.”
“Memory… is an internal rumor.”
“Beauty as we feel it is something indescribable; what it is or what it means can never be said.”
“There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.”


Art for Autumn – Part III of V: Susannah MacDonald (American, contemporary)

Below – “South Beach, Florida”; “Fourth of July in the Harbor”; “Piccadilly Circus”


For Your Information: 26 September is Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) Day in the United States.

Art for Autumn – Part IV of V: Rob Macintosh (South African, contemporary)

Below – “Table Mountain”; “Winter Siesta”; “Elephant Territory”


Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 26 September 1962 – Mark Haddon, an English novelist and poet.

“Trees”
by Mark Haddon

They stand in parks and graveyards and gardens.
Some of them are taller than department stores,
yet they do not draw attention to themselves.

You will be fitting a heated towel rail one day
and see, through the louvre window,
a shoal of olive-green fish changing direction
in the air that swims above the little gardens.

Or you will wake at your aunt’s cottage,
your sleep broken by a coal train on the empty hill
as the oaks roar in the wind off the channel.

Your kindness to animals, your skill at the clarinet,
these are accidental things.
We lost this game a long way back.
Look at you. You’re reading poetry.
Outside the spring air is thick
with the seeds of their children.

Art for Autumn – Part V of V: Bill Mack (American, contemporary)

Below – “Mystery” (bonded bronze); “Odyssey” (bonded sand); “Millenia Image” (acrylic)


For Your Information: 26 September is National Good Neighbor Day in the United States.


This Date in Art History: Died 26 September 1953 – Xu Beihong, a Chinese painter.

Below – “Portrait of Ms Jenny”; “Galloping Horse”; “Orchids”; “Portrait of a Young Lady”; “Liao Jingwen”; “Portrait of Madam Cheng.”


Worth a Thousand Words: Leopold Kowalski (French, 1856-1931): “Posing with Posies.”

This Date in Art History: Born 26 September 1874 – Lewis Hine, an American photographer and social activist.

Below – “Climbing into the Promised Land – Ellis Island” (circa 1908); “Child laborers in glasswork, Indiana” (1908); “Little Lottie, a regular oyster shucker in Alabama Canning Co.” (1911); “Power house mechanic working on steam pump” (1920); “Baseball team composed mostly of child laborers from a glassmaking factory. Indiana” (1908); “Adolescent Girl, a Spinner, in a Carolina Cotton Mill” (1908).


Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 26 September 1888 – T. S. Eliot, an English poet, playwright, essayist, literary and social critic, and recipient of the 1948 Nobel Prize in Literature.

“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
by T. S. Eliot

’S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma percioche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.’

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? …

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.


This Date in Art History: Born 26 September 1957 – Michael Dweck, an American photographer.

Below – “Mermaid 105”; “Mermaid 117”; “Dave and Pam in Their Caddy”; “Jessica and Kurt”; “Flag”; “Frenchy.”

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