Wandering in Woodacre – 20 December 2020

Contemporary British Art – Felicity Gill

Below – “Facet 3”; “Fab”; “Nicole”; “Facet 7”; “Facet 4”; “Embrace II.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 December 2008 – Adrian Mitchell, an English poet, novelist, playwright, and journalist.

“Human Beings”

by Adrian Mitchell

look at your hands
your beautiful useful hands
you’re not an ape
you’re not a parrot
you’re not a slow loris
or a smart missile
you’re human

not british
not american
not israeli
not palestinian
you’re human

not catholic
not protestant
not muslim
not hindu
you’re human

we all start human
we end up human
human first
human last
we’re human
or we’re nothing

nothing but bombs
and poison gas
nothing but guns
and torturers
nothing but slaves
of Greed and War
if we’re not human

look at your body
with its amazing systems
of nerve-wires and blood canals
think about your mind
which can think about itself
and the whole universe
look at your face
which can freeze into horror
or melt into love
look at all that life
all that beauty
you’re human
they are human
we are human
let’s try to be human


Contemporary Turkish Art – A G Ehsan

Below – “Halftone series No:5”; “Halftone series No:4”; “Darkness verse No:4”; “Darkness verse No:1”; Untitled; “Blue.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 December 1954 – Sandra Cisneros, an award-winning American Chicana novelist, poet, and author of “The House on Mango Street.”

Some quotes from the work of Sandra Cisneros:

“You can’t erase what you know. You can’t forget who you are.”
“If you know two cultures and two languages, that intermediate place, where the two don’t perfectly meet, is really interesting.”
“The beauty of literature is you allow readers to see things through other people’s eyes. All good books do this.”
“The most powerful speaking you can do is the speaking that comes from your heart and your love.”
“Maybe all pain in the world requires poetry.”
“You can never have too much sky . You can fall asleep and wake up drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad. Here there is too much sadness and not enough sky. Butterflies too are few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still, we take what we can get and make the best of it.”
“Once you can open yourself to joy, you feel as if you’ve transformed your sadness into illumination, which is really all that art is. All we want to do is transform the negative emotions into light. We want to compost them into light.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Matvey Dergachev

Below – “Open window”; “1/4 of the year”; “Portrait in the shadows”; “Ball”; “Mouse.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 December 1954 – James Hilton, an English novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, and author of “Lost Horizon” and “Goodbye, Mr. Chips.”

Some quotes from the work of James Hilton:

“I dislike organized games, swimming pools, fashionable resorts, night clubs, music in restaurants, and political manifestoes; I enjoy driving from coast to coast, good food and drink, a few friends, dogs, the theatre, long walks, music and free conversation.”
“What a host of little incidents, all deep-buried in the past — problems that had once been urgent, arguments that had once been keen, anecdotes that were funny only because one remembered the fun. Did any emotion really matter when the last trace of it had vanished from human memory; and if that were so, what a crowd of emotions clung to him as to their last home before annihilation? He must be kind to them, must treasure them in his mind before their long sleep.”
“When it comes to believing things without actual evidence, we all incline to what we find most attractive.”
“When you are getting on in years (but not ill, of course), you get very sleepy at times, and the hours seem to pass like lazy cattle moving across a landscape.”
“The first quarter-century of your life was doubtless lived under the cloud of being too young for things, while the last quarter-century would normally be shadowed by the still darker cloud of being too old for them; and between those two clouds, what small and narrow sunlight illumines a human lifetime!”

Contemporary British Art – Pippa Young

Below – “Self-perpetuating”; “Self-restraint”; “The half truth”; “Self-imposed”; “Self-inflicted”; “Silent memory.”

Died 20 December 1968 – John Steinbeck, an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, author of “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Travels With Charley in Search Of America,” and recipient of the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Nobel Prize in Literature,

Some quotes from the work of John Steinbeck:

“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
“It has always seemed strange to me… the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”
“Books are the best friends you can have; they inform you, and entertain you, and they don’t talk back.”
“And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.”
“To be alive at all is to have scars.”
I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.”
“It is a time of quiet joy, the sunny morning. When the glittery dew is on the mallow weeds, each leaf holds a jewel which is beautiful if not valuable. This is no time for hurry or for bustle. Thoughts are slow and deep and golden in the morning.”

Contemporary Macedonian Art – Mirko Vujisic

Below – “Behind the Cloud”; “Unfinished Dream”; “Soul”; “Nostalgia”; “Interior Portrait”; “Julia’s Letter.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 December 1997 – Denise Levertov, an award-winning British-born American poet.

“Losing Track”
by Denise Levertov

Long after you have swung back
Away from me
I think you are still with me:

You come in close to the shore
On the tide
And nudge me awake the way

A boat adrift nudges the pier:
Am I a pier
Half-in half-out of the water?

And in the pleasure of that communion
I lose track,
The moon I watch goes down, the

Tide swings you away before
I know I’m
Alone again long since,

Mud sucking at gray and black
Timbers of me,
A light growth of green dreams drying.

Below – Alona Lukianchuk: “Solitude 2” (photograph)

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