…and time to turn some pages. Books are collecting on my night stand, coffee table, and dining room. Some started, some remain in wait.
A simple list, in no particular order, for you to decipher:
Foxcatcher, by Mark Schultz (with David Thomas) – Reading this to get the background on the film, which I’ve seen several times. Simply, almost naively written (I blame the ghost writer), an intriguing look into wrestling champion Mark Schultz, his brother Dave, and the odd, and eventually deadly, relationship with John du Pont at Foxcatcher Farm.
Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees, by Lawrence Weschler – the life of contemporary artist Robert Irwin, his philosophy, and his approach to artistic creation.
The Book of Life, by J. Krishnamurti – the book that had a tremendous impact on Mark Shultz in both his professional and personal life. Further research…
Notes for a Memoir: On Isaac Asimov, Life, and Writing, by Janet Jeppson Asimov – a personal and insightful memoir of Asimov written by his wife. Taken in doses of only a few pages at a time leaving some thinking room for myself…
Portrait of an Artist by Laurie Lisle – a biography of Georgia O’Keeffe whose life and artwork have always held a fascination for me. This one was bookmarked about a quarter of the way thru when I packed it away for our move. Just rediscovered…
Pain Erasure, by Bonnie Prudden – Trigger point therapy for back and neck problems. This one has been my go-to for many years. Need it again…working on a self-help tool…
What can I say…about as eclectic as my eating habits…
[h/t to Alex Belth over at Bronx Banter for the lead-in to the artwork…]
From an interview with painter John Redmond:
Light is the focus of my work and the “subject” is just a foil for it. I am mostly interested in how we view the world around us and light is what we see, not things, so light is my main focus.
I like to paint places that feel familiar to me so I usually paint very near where I grew up in Chester County Pa. Landscapes are paintings where I want to describe the feeling of light in a space and somehow capture the feeling of that place. It is not so much about how beautiful the landscape is to begin with but more how I can find beauty in something that is part of my everyday life.
More over at The Art Room…
[h/t to Alex Belth at Bronx Banter for the lead in to the artwork…]
Passing Through a Small Town
by David Shumate
Here the highways cross. One heads north. One heads east
and west. On the comer of the square adjacent to the
courthouse a bronze plaque marks the place where two Civil
War generals faced one another and the weaker surrendered.
A few pedestrians pass. A beauty parlor sign blinks. As I tum
to head west, I become the schoolteacher living above the
barber shop. Polishing my shoes each evening. Gazing at the
square below. In time I befriend the waitress at the cafe and
she winks as she pours my coffee. Soon people begin to
talk. And for good reason. I become so distracted I teach my
students that Cleopatra lost her head during the French
Revolution and that Leonardo perfected the railroad at the
height of the Renaissance. One day her former lover returns
from the army and creates a scene at the school. That evening
she confesses she cannot decide between us. But still we spend
one last night together. By the time I pass the grain elevators
on the edge of town I am myself again. The deep scars of love
already beginning to heal.
[from Shumate’s book, High Water Mark: Prose Poems, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004]
From the 2014 film, Whiplash:
An obsessed and driven student. An obsessed and driven teacher. And jazz.
Watch what comes before, then this pivotal scene, then the hypnotic rollout at the end…
Watch it more than once. Then ask yourself that question…where is that line?
Jessica Hagy at indexed…often humorous, generally insightful, this time spot on…
It’s not always just about the data…
…and those minor skirmishes and small victories should be savored and enjoyed…
© Jim Benton
Benton’s full site is here…
Isaac Asmiov explains in a memoir by his wife:
Homo sapiens alone of all the known objects in the universe can look forward to inevitable death; he alone can sigh for the might-have-beens. It is the penalty of humanity. Shall we accept the gifts of humanity; the consciousness of beauty; the exaltation of abstractions; the knowledge that makes gods of us; — and not accept the penalty, too?
To refuse the penalty is to refuse the gifts; to live in a false world of our own making is to deprive ourselves of the real world—and in the real world, with all its faults, has a grandeur and glory for which there is no substitute.
The chapter in the book this came from is “Imagination” – and to put this all in context, it comes from a section that discusses our telling of tales whether they be poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. That we are the only living species on this earth that can tell those tales since we are the only ones capable of the grief of the past and the dread of the future.
It’s a bit of a devil’s bargain – light doesn’t exist without dark, joy doesn’t exist without pain, love doesn’t exist without indifference. We need one to understand the other, to see the other.
This was brought home recently in a discussion among cancer patients and caregivers about diagnosis, treatment, and the long recovery, when someone asked “when can I be called a survivor?”.
The actual definition is that you’re a survivor at the moment of diagnosis. You have cancer. You’re still here.
But the question itself is much more complex since the diagnosis of cancer carries with it the deepest threat—and greatest dread—that we’ve ever felt. Because it is at the moment of diagnosis that we suddenly realize the most sudden and deepest grief of loss. The loss of what we have and what we might have in the future.
It is also in that moment, that we become human.
And as we become human, we become vulnerable.
As as we become vulnerable, we are open to all that is around us, both the light and the dark.
Some of us are changed physically more than others. Others face more physical difficulty post-treatment than others. But all are changed emotionally and are more aware not only of the difficulty of what we face, but the wonder of drawing breath and living in the moment.
The cancer patient that asks “when am I a survivor” is really asking “am I going to die”. With that question, comes the heavy burden of the grief of loss, but ultimately the sudden recognition of the preciousness of what we have. The future is important but we also become more demanding of the here and now.
No one can tell the future. No seer, no physician. But one thing for certain is that the sun will rise and the sun will set and in between is the grandeur of all that we have and all that we are capable of.
And all the tales that can be told…
[Book excerpt from Notes for a Memoir: On Isaac Asimov, Life, and Writing by Janet Jeppson Asimov…]