Saturday, December 24, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This image is quite distracting from the one that follows it, so I thought I'd write a little bit about it to help to put some distance between the two. This is simply a window display of some mannequins in underwear, but somehow I find it charming. The female torso in the purple undergarments at center-right seems to be touching the back of the main-central male who's wearing a shirt but no pants - she seems to be supporting him, and in a way, isn't that always the way life is? ;) To the left we have a woman who's wearing stockings, but also a tie... and to the far right the male has his wallet out with several bills showing. Hmm.... ? So I'm not sure what the person that put this display together intended, but you can certainly read a story into it if you want to; and that's art to a certain extent, giving the viewer or reader enough of a story that they're taken in, but also leaving them enough room for them to add something of their own experience into the mix.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Precision packets of life lessons

Somewhere around 1987 I came across a writer by the name of Raymond Carver. I'd never heard of him, but the book was published by Vintage, and I trusted them. I had a habit of going to the bookstore and just trying something. That led me to Bowles' "The Sheltering Sky", Amis' "London Fields", and Bukowski's "War All The Time" to name a few.

I'd read James Joyce in high school and he'd become my favorite author at the time. I was also very fond of Salinger and Hemingway and Steinbeck, but Joyce spoke to me (maybe partly because I'm Irish, but also maybe because I'm not truly Irish, etc. - 'exile', and so on). Amongst my friends, Joyce was a chore. But who can't understand and identify with the stories in "Dubliners", how they're just so real, if they just gave them a chance... How "Araby" touches the heart and reminds us of our youth. Or how "Two Gallants" - 'touches' - us in another way. And then there was "Ulysses": rich, complex, and filled with ancient myth. Each and every sentence was another road to go down. And then it got, well, "earthy", or shall we just say shitty. This was real life.

Then there was Raymond Carver, and he knew real life as well. His last name, Carver, couldn't have been more apropriate. Although Joyce knew life, he knew it in a different way. Carver was the antithesis of Joyce. He didn't describe the blue light on the floor of the room at dawn, or the feeling of climbing down the crooked stairs (with the one stone that you always bumped your elbow on), or the cold damp air as you went out to milk the cow, he simply slaughtered it and cut it down to the bone. He could say in a single page what some people spend a lifetime learning. Yet it all was fluid. It seemed so common and normal that I almost didn't notice it. And that's the way life is. You don't notice that quick turn on the icy road until you're just upon it - and that's the way his stories were. That's what they were about. The turning around to realize what you've just missed. That twist in life. That little piece that you didn't see because you were too busy inside of yourself. The baker. He wrote that one several times. What was it called? ... I can't remember. There's a little Hitchcock in there. Great stuff.

So here's the thing: girth or precision? Or girth and precision??? Or is it depth versus focus? (Or is it focus versus depth - a little Joycean joke). Why do people think "Moby Dick" is hard to read? Because it's long? It was a miniseries before television existed; it's easy. Sure it's allegorical, but was't "Shogun"... wasn't "Roots"? Same thing. People read those!

Perhaps all of this is about the dumbing down of the American public, except that Joyce remains "Irish" and all of these authors are still great reads - it's just that no one reads anymore. Carver as well; and now he has even more of his work coming to the big screen in "Everything Must Go" with Will Ferrel. Robert Altman did a great job with "Short Cuts", but he was just using the material to make a film. He didn't do the writing justice.

I hope Raymond Carver one day gets his due. If you can include the lyrics to "Suzanne" by Leonard Cohen in The Norton Anthology of Poetry, then Raymond Carver deserves just as much if not more.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's OK to be wrong. Admit it.
Be honest. Be sincere.
That's integrity, and integrity has value.
You are not lazy, irresponsible, or dim-witted
Just because you were wrong about something.
Accept it, and learn from it. That's being positive.
Do not try to hide it, do not try to lie
- we all know you're wrong -
And now we know you're a liar.
But you've been lied to. You've been taught to believe that
"The way to succeed in life is to never make mistakes".
I can accept that and forgive you, so
Don't insult me by believing that I can't see through you.
Don't insult me by acting like I'm an idiot when I admit to you
That I was wrong. And whatever you do,
Don't try to blame it on
Someone else.
That's why people dislike you,
Not because you were wrong.

Friday, February 25, 2011

What I was going for with this one was the color and light that you find in the middle of the night when you awaken during a thunder storm - that 'blue-black', and I think I found it. It wasn't easy though. It took a lot of trying, and I guess part of the reason for that was that was that it was done in my kitchen during a fairly standard day. It was a little overcast, but it certainly wasn't rainy. I felt the balance was good, and I love the texture; and I was hoping it would suggest a little bit of a story. I was thinking of a guy in prison who'd come to some kind of awareness and was just sitting there upright in his bunk at 2 or 3 am, just taking it all in. His lips and his right eye are in balance (as well as his nose), and then along with his ear and the little bit of brightness to the left it all comes together within the blackness. I find it perfectly balanced, and quite atmospheric. It's really quite simple, but I think it works on many levels.
In the garden
Under moonlight
The earth makes more noise
Than you might think

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

You'll have to click on this one to see the detail. Hidden in the middle of it are a few mannequin heads with wigs. It reminds me of the photorealistic paintings of Richard Estes. Not surprisingly, this is in Manhattan as well.

I love the colors; but what I really like about it beyond the semi-hidden faces in the reflection of the building across the street is the way the angles of the window frame pull your eye upward, making you want to look up and see the rest of the building in the reflection - but you can't. And that brings you back to what you can see, and to a certain extent, that's what it's like being on the street in New York. You're in the heart of it and you can only see so much from your street level perspective; but then it doesn't matter because there's so much detail there anyway. I imagine it similar in a way to the labyrinth of Minos.