Monday, July 31, 2006

Baroque and can't be fixed

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Fourth World

Perhaps, my post to today should be called Musings ON the moribund.

Franz Kafka wrote of his Father:

"Hence the world was for me divided into three parts: into one in which I, the slave, lived under the laws that had been invented only for me and which I could, I did not know why, never completely comply with; then into a second world, which was infinitely remote from mine, in which you lived, concerned with your government, with the issuing of orders and with annoyance about their not being obeyed; and finally into a third world where everybody else lived happily and free from orders and from having to obey." (Dearest father, 148)

I dreamed of my own Father last night and cried. Like Kafka I had a strained relationship with mine. Like Karl in America, whose Father sent him off across the ocean after he was seduced by a scullery maid, I took off away from mine and never managed to really come back before he died. The third world that Kafka references has never seemed like my own third world. To me that world is one where others willingly obey and I long so to live in a fourth world resembling the third world of Kafka. I do not understand the will to obey and live with orders that seems so prevalent in the rest of the outward world.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Knowlege. Sin or progress?

Friday, July 28, 2006

To Dream

"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream." Shirley Jackson

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Easy reading is damn hard writing.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Can you tell I'm having a hard time writing right now? No free time. No thinking time. To the left is a picture of Rappacinni's Daughter - from one of my favorite
  • Hawthorne
  • stories. She is raised in a garden of poisonous things. It is a haunting and delightful story.

    Regarding Sophist bastardry

    Mendacity is a system that we live in. Liquor is one way out and death's the other.

    Tennessee Williams

    Tuesday, July 25, 2006

    Poisonous Things

    Why are so many poisonous things so beautiful?

    Monday, July 24, 2006


    No matter how old I get, I always feel that eventually I will have to decide what I should do with my life. I am envious of those who have a calling, because no matter how hard I try to find my vocation, I am pulled hither and thither by the curse of great potential. This puts to mind a quote by Marcel Proust, who said,"People can have many different kinds of pleasure. The real one is that for which they will forsake the others." Unfortunately, this still does not help me choose between the figurative arts and the literary ones. Those desert island puzzles keep me amused for hours and still I can not choose between my Shakespeare and my Beethoven, between my Arbus and my Mann. Perhaps the beauty of different media is the breadth of expression one can produce in trying to evoke the same emotion or concept.

    How different are these media dealing essentially with the same topic and yet each quite poignant in its effect:

    O Solitude! If I must with thee dwell,
    Let it not be among the jumbled heap of murky buildings.

    John Keats

    Which pleasure would I forsake for the other, the painting or the poem? My response can only be that I am unrepentently thankful that I do not have to make such a choice.

    Sunday, July 23, 2006

    Faulkner and Sophist bastardry

    In a blog on Wiiliam Faulkner, teacher John B. poses a fascinating question upon which I love to muse myself. For my own purposes I often reframe ithe query about whether our great writers must be sophist bastards in terms of suffering and misery, but I believe the issue is one and the same. Must one suffer for art and in turn be insufferable (to others and perhaps even to oneself). Along with this is the idea that these artists commit suicide either slowly via alcohol or drugs (Faulkner, Hemingway etc.) or all at once (Woolf, Plath, Kleist, etc.) Certainly it is part of the modernist myth of the "great" writer, painter, composer etc that one must suffer for one's art and that most "great" men (another part of the myth) do so. I have been assured by teachers of literature that it is not necessary to either suffer nor be a bastard, but somehow our culture loves the story of the suffering genius. I leave you, however, with the more optimistic words of Katherine Anne Porter:

    “The real sin against life is to abuse and destroy beauty, even one's own -even more, one's own, for that has been put in our care and we are responsible for its well-being.”

    Katherine Anne Porter

    Saturday, July 22, 2006

    Achieving one's dreams?

    Henry Spencer, Did you run away with your radiator lady or isn't everything fine after all?

    A Book

    A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.

    Franz Kafka

    Friday, July 21, 2006

    Environment as Determinant of Self

    I'm living in a borrowed flat for a few months and have been
    remembering something one of my University Professors said once in an art class about our environment creating us. This new place is like something out of an architectural digest item - clean and elegant and completely alien to my cluttered, dung beetle existence. The lay-out is open with prisitne lines and minimalist decor and has all the zen qualities that I long for in life and have up to this point seemed to elude me. Gregor Samsa in Kafka's marvelous story undergoes a terrible metamorphosis sinking back into an animal existence after a sexual slip that leaves the apple of knowledge rotting and embedded in his carapace. Dare I hope for the opposite kind of metamorphosis as I live in an entirely ordered and graceful environment? Will I even be able to work without the pressure of four walls closing continuously in on me? I fear that it will be too great a change all at once and rather than evolving slowly into a higher winged being, I will explode from the lack of oppressive atmosphere. At least the computer hook-up is in a small basement room where I can hide from my own progress/process or lack thereof.....

    (This above is definitely not the environment I want to create me and perhaps an argument to the contrary of my Professor's claim! Interesting to see how some personalities remain unchanged regardless of the essentials!)

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Rain after dryness

    It rained today with a barrage of drops on the tin roof overhead. What a reassuring sound! It was a day of accomplishing the detail work and now there is the rain to drum away the doldrums of quotidienne activities. A nice shiraz and a bit of Dickens should round off the day quite nicely. Here is a happy memory of a sunny day that gives me the same feeling of content as today's shower.

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    Back From Holiday

    What a lovely time I had on holiday. I am so relaxed now. I have no brillliant observations to make, no cynical comments and no deep thoughts. I am floating on the surface like a slime mold that has bubbled up from below the ground. No doubt in a day or two I will be back to my morose old self, but in the mean time I am and I enjoy.

    Thursday, July 13, 2006


    Boring as it may seem. I'm off on vacation and may not get a chance to post over the next few days. So for your viewing entertainment I've enclosed a Lisette Model image to contemplate and enjoy.

    Between Pain and Nothing

    William Faulkner famously stated in the Wild Palms, "If I had to choose between pain and nothing, I would always choose pain." Funny, although I consider myself Buddhist, I have to admit that I would also choose pain. Perhaps this means I should reconsider my self-classification. For some reason we consider suffering noble. Goethe said he did not want anything to do with a religion that worships suffering and so he moved on to pantheism. Still, those things we are weaned with are so hard to reconfigure at a later time, and how can one not be awed by the sublime beauty of that tormented face on the crucifix or the visage of Laokoon just before he cries out as he and his sons are carried by the monster off to the sea.

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    Of Acorns and Mackerels

    Philip Roth recently said on an NPR interview, "Write fiction and you relinquish reason. You start with an acorn and you end up with a mackerel." This seems appropriate for writing and I wonder if it also applies for the other arts. In writing I do find that the characters tend to take over the narrative and demand certain actions even if they are contrary to my original intentions. This is not the case for me in painting or other arts. Indeed some pictures change as they are worked upon, but not in the way the events and characters do. I wonder if there are some people who are dominatrices of fiction and who write exactly what they plan - no less, no more and no nonsense. Perhaps I am a wimp to let my characters push me around so, or a masochist because I enjoy them doing so.

    This blog is a bit of an acorn for me in its newness and I certainly hope I will end up with something other than a mackerel, maybe a nice piranha or blue ringed octopus.


    Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    Sewing and Arbus

    There has been no time for cosmic musings today. I had hoped to issue a thought-provoking comment each day, but today was a get up too late and be in a fog the entire day kind of situation. I did manage to get my treadle sewing machine that I bought on e-bay (yes you can buy cast iron objects on e-bay!!) working today and that was cosmic victory enough for one day.

    I've been thinking a lot about Diane Arbus and her wondeful protraits. Such faces one rarely sees. I wonder if it is just the conglomeration of numbers of peole that allows one to see such marvelous faces in the big city or whether the city creates the faces. Do we learn to hide the loneliness and disappointments in towns and rural places or do towns
    chisel different types of diappointments onto the faces of their inhabitants?

    First Thoughts

    I have been inspired by the blogs of the Fourth Person on this very website ( ) to try my hand (and more to the point my brain) at blogging. Over the weeks I will post random and not so random thoughts that relate to life and its progression.

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