This Date in Art History: Born 12 July 1884 – Amedeo Modigliani, an Italian painter and sculptor.
Below – “Jeanne Hébuterne”; “Head of a Woman with a Hat”; “The Cellist”; “Young Woman”; “Alice”; “Nude Sitting on a Divan.”
This Date in Literary History: Born 12 July 1918 – Doris Grumbach, an American novelist, memoirist, biographer, literary critic, and essayist. In the words of one writer, “Grumbach remains an important author for the focus she brought to women’s lives and women’s struggles in the redefinition of women’s roles from the 1950s onward. “
Some quotes from the work of Doris Grumbach:
“Old age is somewhat like dieting. Every day there is less of us to be observed.”
“Talk uses up ideas. Once I have spoken them aloud, they are lost to me, dissipated into the noisy air like smoke. Only if I bury them, like bulbs, in the rich soil of silence do they grow.”
“My old friend, water, my good companion, my beloved mother and father: I am its most natural offspring.”
“We were determined by public opinions of us. Would we think we existed without outside confirmation? And how long would we live apart from others before we began to doubt our existence?”
“Searching for the self when I was entirely alone was hazardous. What if I found not so much a great emptiness as a space full of unpleasant contents, a compound of long-hidden truths, closeted, buried, forgotten. When I went looking, I was playing a desperate game of hide-and-seek, fearful of what I might find, most afraid that I would find nothing.”
“The reason that extended solitude seemed so hard to endure was not that we missed others but that we began to wonder if we ourselves were present, because for so long our existence depended upon assurances from them.”
This Date in Art History: Born 12 July 1884 – Andrew Wyeth, an American artist.
Below – “Christina’s World”; “Branch in the Snow”; “Night Sleeper”; “Frostbitten”; “Only Child”; “Day Dream.”
This Date in Literary History: Died 12 July 1966 – D. T. Suzuki, a Japanese author known for his books and essays on Buddhism, Zen (Chan in Chinese), and Shin.
D. T. Suzuki was instrumental in introducing a variety of Far Eastern philosophies to Western audiences. When I first began my study of Asian civilizations, I was fortunate to discover a copy of Suzuki’s “An Introduction to Zen Buddhism.” It is still on a shelf in my library.
Some quotes from the work of D. T. Suzuki:
“Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points.”
“When traveling is made too easy and comfortable, its spiritual meaning is lost. This may be called sentimentalism, but a certain sense of loneliness engendered by traveling leads one to reflect upon the meaning of life, for life is after all a travelling from one unknown to another unknown.”
“When we start to feel anxious or depressed, instead of asking, “What do I need to get to be happy?” The question becomes, ‘What am I doing to disturb the inner peace that I already have?’”
“The more you suffer the deeper grows your character, and with the deepening of your character you read the more penetratingly into the secrets of life. All great artists, all great religious leaders, and all great social reformers have come out of the intensest struggles which they fought bravely, quite frequently in tears and with bleeding hearts.”
“The truth of Zen, just a little bit of it, is what turns one’s humdrum life, a life of monotonous, uninspiring commonplaceness, into one of art, full of genuine inner creativity.”
“You ought to know how to rise above the trivialities of life, in which most people are found drowning themselves.”
“Zen opens a man’s eyes to the greatest mystery as it is daily and hourly performed; it enlarges the heart to embrace eternity of time and infinity of space in its every palpitation; it makes us live in the world as if walking in the garden of Eden.”
“In the spiritual world there are no time divisions such as the past, present and future; for they have contracted themselves into a single moment of the present where life quivers in its true sense. The past and the future are both rolled up in this present moment of illumination, and this present moment is not something standing still with all its contents, for it ceaselessly moves on.”
Below – “red i”; “glimpses no. 19.2”; “coffeecup no. 1”; “injambakkam no. 4”; “seated figure no. 9”; “injambakkam no. 34”; “in this here place, we flesh no. 2.”
This Date in Literary History: Born 12 July 1817 – Henry David Thoreau, an American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, tax resister, historian, and author of “Walden” and “Civil Disobedience.”
Some quotes from the work of Henry David Thoreau:
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”
“It’s the beauty within us that makes it possible for us to recognize the beauty around us. The question is not what you look at but what you see.”
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”
“Simplify your life. Don’t waste the years struggling for things that are unimportant. Don’t burden yourself with possessions. Keep your needs and wants simple and enjoy what you have. Don’t destroy your peace of mind by looking back, worrying about the past. Live in the present. Simplify!”
“The only people who ever get anyplace interesting are the people who get lost.”
“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this, or the like of this. I wish to live ever as to derive my satisfactions and inspirations from the commonest events, everyday phenomena, so that what my senses hourly perceive, my daily walk, the conversation of my neighbors, may inspire me, and I may dream of no heaven but that which lies about me.”
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
Contemporary Argentinean Art – Guido Mauas
Below – “Sunday”; “Portrait of my old man”; “Walker”; “Man Adjusting his Face”; “Nocturnal Thoughts II”; “Vi.”
This Date in Literary History: Born 12 July 1904 – Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet and recipient of the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature.
“Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines”
by Pablo Neruda
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
Write, for example,’The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.’
The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
Through nights like this one I held her in my arms
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.
She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.
To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.
What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is shattered and she is not with me.
This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.
My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.
The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.
I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.
Another’s. She will be another’s. Like my kisses before.
Her voice. Her bright body. Her infinite eyes.
I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.
Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.
Below- Edvard Munch: “Melancholy”