Sentient in San Francisco – 20 November 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 20 November 1918 – John Bauer, a Swedish painter and illustrator.

Below – “The Fairy Princess”; “One evening around midsummer, they went with Bianca Maria deep into the forest”; “Still, Tuvstarr sits and gazes down into the water”; “Freja”; “Lena Dances”; “Self-portrait.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 November 2016 – William Trevor, an award-winning Irish novelist, playwright, and short story writer.

Some quotes from the work of William Trevor:

“As the surface of the seashore rocks were pitted by by the waves and gathered limpets that further disguised what lay beneath, so time made truth of what appeared to be. The days that passed, in becoming weeks, still did not disturb the surface an assumption had created. The weather of a beautiful summer continued with neither sign nor hint that credence had been misplaced. The single sandal found among the rocks became a sodden image of death; and as the keening on the pier at Kilauran traditionally marked distress brought by the sea, so did silence at Lahardane.”
“As a writer one doesn’t belong anywhere. Fiction writers, I think, are even more outside the pale, necessarily on the edge of society. Because society and people are our meat, one really doesn’t belong in the midst of society. The great challenge in writing is always to find the universal in the local, the parochial. And to do that, one needs distance.”
“She is embarrassed to be alive and no one on earth can fully console her.”
“My fiction may, now and again, illuminate aspects of the human condition, but I do not consciously set out to do so: I am a storyteller.”
“Only love matters in the bits and pieces of a person’s life.”
“He traveled in order to come home.”

This Date in Art History: Born 20 November 1900 – Helen Bradley, an English painter.

Below – “The Park in Manchester”; “The Wakes Comes to Lees”; “The Rainbow”; “O Love is like a Red, Red Rose”; “It was he first Saturday in May”; “We Are Bringing Home the Holly and the Ivy.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 November 1910 – Leo Tolstoy, a Russian writer and author of “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina.”

Some quotes from the work of Leo Tolstoy:

“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking.”
“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.”
“A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. The larger the denominator, the smaller the fraction.”
“Patriotism in its simplest, clearest, and most indubitable meaning is nothing but an instrument for the attainment of the government’s ambitious and mercenary aims, and a renunciation of human dignity, common sense, and conscience by the governed, and a slavish submission to those who hold power. That is what is really preached wherever patriotism is championed. Patriotism is slavery.”
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
“Real wisdom is not the knowledge of everything, but the knowledge of which things in life are necessary, which are less necessary, and which are completely unnecessary to know.”
“People try to do all sorts of clever and difficult things to improve life instead of doing the simplest, easiest thing-refusing to participate in activities that make life bad.”
“My piece of bread only belongs to me when I know that everyone else has a share, and that no one starves while I eat.”
“I believe that order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure human sympathy is more valuable than ideology.”
“Just as one candle lights another and can light thousands of other candles, so one heart illuminates another heart and can illuminate thousands of other hearts.”
“Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly.”

Contemporary British Art – Melanie Goemans: Part I of II.

Below – “St. Mary’s Street, II”; “River Great Ouse (Elegy II)”; “Inked II”; “St. Mary’s Street I”; “Wayside IV (Churchyard Wall)”; “Around the Cathedral VI (over Bishop’s wall).”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 November 1936 – Don DeLillo, an American novelist, essayist, playwright, author of “Underworld” and “White Noise,” and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Don DeLillo:

“The true life is not reducible to words spoken or written, not by anyone, ever. The true life takes place when we’re alone, thinking, feeling, lost in memory, dreamingly self-aware, the submicroscopic moments.”
“I’ve come to think of Europe as a hardcover book, America as the paperback version.”
“As technology advances in complexity and scope, fear becomes more primitive.”
“What you see is not what we see. What you see is distracted by memory, by being who you are, all this time, for all these years.
In this country there is a universal third person, the man we all want to be. Advertising has discovered this man. It uses him to express the possibilities open to the consumer. To consume in America is not to buy; it is to dream. Advertising is the suggestion that the dream of entering the third person singular might possibly be fulfilled.”
“That’s why people take vacations. No to relax or find excitement or see new places. To escape the death that exists in routine things.”
“Why shouldn’t the death of a person you love bring you into lurid ruin? You don’t know how to love the one you love until they disappear abruptly. Then you understand how thinly distanced from their suffering, how sparing of self you often were, only rarely unguarded of heart, working your networks of give-and-take.”
“And what’s the point of waking up in the morning if you don’t try to match the enormousness of the known forces in the world with something powerful in your own life?”

Contemporary British Art – Melanie Goemans: Part II of II.

Below – “After the Rain”; “Inked I”; “Mme. Butterfly” (diptych); “Summertime”; “Eleven Swans”; “All the flowers that you planted, II.”

A Poem for Today

by Linda Pastan
“The Birds”

are heading south, pulled
by a compass in the genes.
They are not fooled
by this odd November summer,
though we stand in our doorways
wearing cotton dresses.
We are watching them

as they swoop and gather—
the shadow of wings
falls over the heart.
When they rustle among
the empty branches, the trees
must think their lost leaves
have come back.

The birds are heading south,
instinct is the oldest story.
They fly over their doubles,
the mute weathervanes,
teaching all of us
with their tailfeathers
the true north.

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