Friday, October 19, 2018

Stop Making Sense

Dear Non-Sense,

I took a beautiful trip in a darkened, velvet seated time machine last Friday.  I stopped by my 16th year and saw this lovely old film again with some new friends.  As luck would have it, one of these fine folks sent me this fabulous film.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Lucky 13.

Dear Who-Ever,

This is it, she's here, and I wonder if she is my Woman?  The Woman I hoped Wonder Woman would be, a face for feminism in the 21st. century.  There ought to be legions of faces of feminism, of course, and there will be, one day.  Note her garb, and although you can't see them, she wears sensible work boots that mean business.  She dresses for adventure.  I hope you do too.

Last night, I saw her on the big screen, and I am happy to report that although there were only about a dozen viewers, one young woman was dressed exactly like this Dr. Who.  I felt keenly the bonds of sisterhood. 

See how they haven't made the mistake of dressing her as a sex object?*  I send whoever was responsible my deepest thanks.  True, she looks like a wasp and she's blonde and very pretty, and that isn't asking much of me as a viewer, but the character of the doctor has the card-carrying power of the sci fi alien- always a visitor; and never fully aware of canons like Western Feminine Beauty, so there will be opportunities (I hope) to examine our expectations and conventions through this stranger's eyes and ways.

As an example, I have been fretting about how much she looks like a bank teller since last year, but when I watched her be The Doctor last night, my assumptions of her appearance were subverted, and I am pretty sure that I Approve.  Now, anyone who watches any of these shows knows that time will tell, because we are made aware of the character's complexity over many episodes and narratives.  Which is really the glory of television:  meeting in time, across seasons and years, to listen to some adventures of characters we have the chance to get to know well.

*  Don't get me wrong, of course I want my cake and eat it too; if this 13th Doctor doesn't have or allude to many amorous encounters of the 'man in every port of the cosmos' kind, I will be greatly miffed.  Try this for a song for today, and note the de Chirico set.

Monday, October 8, 2018

I can't give it away.

Dear Patience,
I have re-assembled some journal pages on some large water color sheets that were my grandmother's.  The paper is quite lovely in itself, with wave-warped edges and a pale gold glow of foxing from storage.  A few years ago, I cut some of the sheets into cards that I mailed out; hopefully I sent one to you.  I took a sheet and painted a field of lupine and owl's clover in the center of it in vibrant watercolors.  The last six were made into images like you see on the left in the photo above.  Little cuts and scraps of words, pasted down and into water color pools and puddles.  I suppose it was a bit like constructing a fake streambed in a suburban yard, or maybe a Japanese rock garden.
My plan now for these six large paper pieces is going to be harder to complete:  I'd like them framed up impeccably, with linen and museum board and lots of space.  Then they must be hung in the office of psychiatrist in Memphis, Tennessee, where patients will ponder them while they question their own relevance, and it will quietly dawn on them:  Oh, yes, of course, I just need to re-order my life- it's all in the placement and emphasis.
I don't know any psychiatrists in Memphis, so that's an issue right there.  Ten years ago I painted a very large canvas with bubbling lilac and taupe ovals- the painting really simmered with happiness.  I knew it should be hung in the Zuni CafĂ©, because I had been there and felt it.  I wrote to the restaurant and told them I would give them the painting free of charge, because I was convinced of it's belonging there.  They did not reply at all.  Did they dislike the painting, or mistrust my motivations?  A reverence for the restaurant, it seems, was not enough.  What then, is enough? 


Wednesday, October 3, 2018




Dear Other Readers,
It was a joy to behold this writing as object, as artefact, after holding the reading of it in high revere for many decades.  I loved it's suchness, and you will too; may it visit a library near you.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

An exhortation.

Dear Activists,

I need to you to run out and paper the place (all places, every place) with this bill:

The full provenance is not detailed in this copy;  Corita Kent is the true progenitor of this marvelous and deeply useful list of exhortations.  You can get more copies here.  Sister Mary Corita is a master of the serigraph.  See her work here.

See you out on the streets!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Be seated.



Saturday, September 22, 2018

When it's equinox time in old New Jersey, we'll be a peach of a pear.

Dear Weathered,

What of these phenomena:  Why are crumbling buildings the most beautiful?  Why are people the most appealing when they are clothed against a bit of cold? 

Autumnal thoughts, to be sure, but what is it about a hat for the cold that is more aesthetically pleasing than a hat for the sun?

An example:  Read this picture with me.

Yes, they are traveling, they have bags, and coats, and boots.  They are headed 'up' a dirt road.  They have turned, to look back at us, mid stride.  Are they hurrying?  There is no place that the road seems to end.  Where are they going, then?  The picture is split, diagonally, into a dark and a light half.  The line that the two values meeting makes is intersected by the left figure- the figures are also dressed darkly, and they balance the shadowed mystery of the untamed woods on the left half of the image.  The origami shapes of their coats make two upward pointing arrows.  They have also turned towards each other slightly, in turning to us.  They are surprised?  Impatient for us to catch up?  Annoyed at the interruption?  It's a fairly neutral expression that we can read a lot of different narratives onto.  Are they headed out, or returning to home?

Imagine, now, that they are wearing shorts, tank tops, flip-flops; sunlight pours down on the dusty heat of the road.  It's just not as good, no matter how much we might enjoy ogling bare skin.  Wearing a coat says you are going somewhere, doesn't it?   It says you mean to do business with the caprices of nature, with the bodily dangers of the world.

For the few people left in the auditorium, after all the folks who feel that things just are, and that meaning isn't relevant to their puny lives; yes, isn't it grand to play these kinds of parlor games with the cultural artifacts of humanity?  Why this album cover in particular, you ask?  Because I happen, at this moment in time, to have two of these records, and one is out of the cabinet, awaiting a new home.  Perhaps you would like a copy of this fine album?  Let me know, by tying a message to a dove's leg- I'll send it to you next week by bike carrier, or parachute drop.