Sealed with a Kiss..

Hello there,

I have once again seen the clip showing the culling of the harp seals on the Sky News system, it is on a loop system and is being repeated every few minutes. It shows men battering the seals across the head using ruddy great clubs. These men ( ahem ) well I suppose I should call them that , my parents brought me up with good manners and to speak about people nicely giving them their place, I will call them that though it vexes me so much to call them men .

It is a totally abhorrent job and it makes me sick to hear the men complaining about how dangerous and difficult their jobs are.... what the hay are they talking about ? the fact that they might slip and fall on the ice? or maybe they are thinking about the seals turning on them and sucking them to death ??

Believe me, I am not a vegan or even a veggie but good God in heaven, surely if they have to do the job of culling the seals why can't they do it humanely, there are so many of the poor beasts who have actually still been alive as they were dragged on to the boats. This means that they suffer pain, the men refuse to shoot them. This would ensure that they are dead before getting hauled onboard . This would at least mean that the seals would suffer as little pain as possible and the reason for the refusal ? the skin would show the mark of the shot ..... I know the shot I would like to see, a photograph of one of the male humans on the ice with a seal at his side posing and holding a ruddy great rifle in his flipper.

Dear God, what have we come to, between these characters and the cruel acts which hens have to suffer by being used as 'battery hens' . We should be ashamed of ourselves letting animals suffer in our name and supposedly to feed us as cheaply as possible.


Love to All Kate xxx.

Technology arggghhhh...


Oh Help,

I have just spent over an hour trying to join up with a set of bloggers on one of my favourite sites and am even more mixed up than usual, why are things made sooo difficult - I just wanted to join, didn't want to indulge in terrorism or anything like that, trouble was when I got to the last wee bit - I read in the instructions - only 3 steps to go. I put in me blog name URL (and all that computer blog info) the system then told me that I didn't exist ... that my name was already taken huh ??? Now, " I know I am here - I have lots of blogs to me name, and a paper which states - quite clearly that My Blog Log is fine and set up it shows the blog name as being SHAMBLES MANOR along with me display name etc .... so what is the problem" . The thing is that when I pressed HELP I got a list of thingys to type into me whatdyacallit, most of which I didn't have a scoobie about and then hit the dooflick and Robert was to be my uncle - ARGGH....

*Muffled Clanking sounds coming from the balcony of my head and noises of marbles banging against each other* - Uh Oh... think I have solved it, I entered my nickname into the joining form - what a wally !! Oh why is it so complicated ? Lord I'll have to start again now - Oh Fiddle!! should have called meself Calamity Kate not lunatic Kate....

Cheers, Kate xxx.

PS... Never mind engaging brain before opening mouth, I should try to engage brain before logging in...

Notes on Valéry's Aesthetics

[Vermeer - Young Woman with a Water Pitcher]

I feel like I've been mulling over the same thoughts for a long while now, turning them over in my head and under the tip of my pen. What are the implications of thinking of art as process -- as making? What does it mean to move away from the static, metaphysical Ideals which classically characterize our understanding of creativity and creation? What do we lose in this process of re-figuring our aesthetics? What sort of aesthetics has as its core the idea of art as mutable, subjective, chaotic, arbitrary and yet necessary?

Obviously my readings of Valéry have prompted most of these questions, especially his essays 'Aesthetics,' and 'The Creation of Art.' I'm not really sure where I'm going with all of this but I want to copy out some of my reading notes and some of the most provocative passages to see if anything else comes to light.

I've already begun
some writing on all of this, focusing on the problems Valéry points to, notably that the system of aesthetics he was reacting to was too entangled with metaphysics and Platonic Ideals to see that it had lost touch with its subject.

One of the central and recurring ideas is that artistic creation is inconceivable in terms of reason and ideals. The making process involves 'a host of accidents,' a series of arbitrary phenomena 'which introduce unforeseen and indeterminate elements into the drama of creation.' This is perhaps something much more familiar to the creators of art than those who study them. It's easy to observe a finished artwork and see it as timeless, necessary, inevitable -- or to read a poem and have no idea of the myriad of choices that resulted in the final few lines of purity or beauty. [Museums and galleries only reinforce this erroneous approach, imposing that pseudo-religious atmosphere of elevation -- the hushed voices, put-on faces, the papery sound of referencing, of learning. People change when they're in museums -- either becoming earnest and erudite to the point of farce, or frivolous and mocking to the point of pretension].

Valéry says of the artist:


whether he likes it or not, he is absolutely unable to free himself from a sense of the arbitrary. He progresses from the arbitrary to a certain necessity.


He progresses from disorder through disorder to some eventual sense of inevitability and order -- wherein the feeling of creation is found. He requires both 'the moment of contrast' and the 'moment of resolution.'

The problem, again, is that the philosopher -- the metaphysician -- wishes to impose a dialectic on something which slips and slides and refuses linguistic expression. How are we supposed to philosophize about some phenomena which is outside of discourse itself?

For the metaphysician discourse is an end, while for the man who wishes to act, it is only a means.

This impossibility is unbearable and so it is circumvented -- an Ideal is constructed, it is placed alongside Truth and Virtue on a lofty shelf far beyond the reach of any human being and art becomes a long history of missed marks, the occasional surprise, and a strange gallery filled with Masterpieces and Geniuses that require headsets and canned voices to explain them.

We may as well admit, gentlemen, that none of us is immune to such temptation, that all of us frequently slide from the personal to the universal, fascinated by promises of the dialectical demon. The seducer beguiles us with the hope that everything will reduce itself to categoric terms and so achieve completion, that everything will culminate in the Word. But we must answer the demon with this simple observation: the effect of the Beautiful upon a man is to make him mute.


So that's the surprise! But then why are we seized by such an aimless desire to talk about what moves us? What exactly happens when we say we are moved by something beautiful? Do we merely babble when we should instead remain silent, recognizing that there are no words by which our experience could be conveyed, captured, communicated?

if we try to describe our immediate impressions of what has just taken place in our sensibility, we shall find that we cannot avoid contradiction. The event employs us to use such scandalous expressions as the necessity of the arbitrary or necessity by way of the arbitrary.


We are arrested and we are moved. I always come back to Hans Castorp, 'my handsome bourgeois with the little moist spot,' -- but he knew this, he knew the feeling of being rendered speechless and yet needing to babble, to speak, incoherent as it may be, about the Beauty and the wonder he was able to glimpse. He also knew the desire to possess more, understand more, to respond, wholly, light for light, silence for silence.

Finally [for tonight], Valéry describes the nascent feelings in the experience of the beautiful:

We feel on the one hand that the source or object of our will is so appropriate to us that we cannot conceive of its being otherwise. Even in certain cases of supreme contentment we feel that by some profound process we are being transformed into the man whose general sensibility is capable of such an extreme or fullness of delight.

We feel no less strongly, as thought by another sense, that the phenomenon which is inducing and developing his state in us, which is inflicting its invisible power on us might not have been, or even that it should not have been, that it belongs to the realm of the improbable. Our enjoyment or joy has the force of fact, yet the existence and formation of the means, the instrument, that has engendered these feelings strike us as accidental, the result of a great stroke of luck, a gratuitous gift of fortune.

There is more to come, for we must hear how all this 'necessary and arbitrary' concludes -- also, what is it in us that responds to art, that wants to return creation for creativity? How is Proust's Recherche so special [it seems to be a consummate example of 'the necessity of the arbitrary']? How can we understand the living quality of an artwork? -- as something which has no finality but can be taken up throughout time, in different hands, changed, informed, improved by continued interactions. What is Pierre Menard's Quixote?

Notes on Valéry's Aesthetics

[Vermeer - Young Woman with a Water Pitcher]

I feel like I've been mulling over the same thoughts for a long while now, turning them over in my head and under the tip of my pen. What are the implications of thinking of art as process -- as making? What does it mean to move away from the static, metaphysical Ideals which classically characterize our understanding of creativity and creation? What do we lose in this process of re-figuring our aesthetics? What sort of aesthetics has as its core the idea of art as mutable, subjective, chaotic, arbitrary and yet necessary?

Obviously my readings of Valéry have prompted most of these questions, especially his essays 'Aesthetics,' and 'The Creation of Art.' I'm not really sure where I'm going with all of this but I want to copy out some of my reading notes and some of the most provocative passages to see if anything else comes to light.

I've already begun
some writing on all of this, focusing on the problems Valéry points to, notably that the system of aesthetics he was reacting to was too entangled with metaphysics and Platonic Ideals to see that it had lost touch with its subject.

One of the central and recurring ideas is that artistic creation is inconceivable in terms of reason and ideals. The making process involves 'a host of accidents,' a series of arbitrary phenomena 'which introduce unforeseen and indeterminate elements into the drama of creation.' This is perhaps something much more familiar to the creators of art than those who study them. It's easy to observe a finished artwork and see it as timeless, necessary, inevitable -- or to read a poem and have no idea of the myriad of choices that resulted in the final few lines of purity or beauty. [Museums and galleries only reinforce this erroneous approach, imposing that pseudo-religious atmosphere of elevation -- the hushed voices, put-on faces, the papery sound of referencing, of learning. People change when they're in museums -- either becoming earnest and erudite to the point of farce, or frivolous and mocking to the point of pretension].

Valéry says of the artist:


whether he likes it or not, he is absolutely unable to free himself from a sense of the arbitrary. He progresses from the arbitrary to a certain necessity.


He progresses from disorder through disorder to some eventual sense of inevitability and order -- wherein the feeling of creation is found. He requires both 'the moment of contrast' and the 'moment of resolution.'

The problem, again, is that the philosopher -- the metaphysician -- wishes to impose a dialectic on something which slips and slides and refuses linguistic expression. How are we supposed to philosophize about some phenomena which is outside of discourse itself?

For the metaphysician discourse is an end, while for the man who wishes to act, it is only a means.

This impossibility is unbearable and so it is circumvented -- an Ideal is constructed, it is placed alongside Truth and Virtue on a lofty shelf far beyond the reach of any human being and art becomes a long history of missed marks, the occasional surprise, and a strange gallery filled with Masterpieces and Geniuses that require headsets and canned voices to explain them.

We may as well admit, gentlemen, that none of us is immune to such temptation, that all of us frequently slide from the personal to the universal, fascinated by promises of the dialectical demon. The seducer beguiles us with the hope that everything will reduce itself to categoric terms and so achieve completion, that everything will culminate in the Word. But we must answer the demon with this simple observation: the effect of the Beautiful upon a man is to make him mute.


So that's the surprise! But then why are we seized by such an aimless desire to talk about what moves us? What exactly happens when we say we are moved by something beautiful? Do we merely babble when we should instead remain silent, recognizing that there are no words by which our experience could be conveyed, captured, communicated?

if we try to describe our immediate impressions of what has just taken place in our sensibility, we shall find that we cannot avoid contradiction. The event employs us to use such scandalous expressions as the necessity of the arbitrary or necessity by way of the arbitrary.


We are arrested and we are moved. I always come back to Hans Castorp, 'my handsome bourgeois with the little moist spot,' -- but he knew this, he knew the feeling of being rendered speechless and yet needing to babble, to speak, incoherent as it may be, about the Beauty and the wonder he was able to glimpse. He also knew the desire to possess more, understand more, to respond, wholly, light for light, silence for silence.

Finally [for tonight], Valéry describes the nascent feelings in the experience of the beautiful:

We feel on the one hand that the source or object of our will is so appropriate to us that we cannot conceive of its being otherwise. Even in certain cases of supreme contentment we feel that by some profound process we are being transformed into the man whose general sensibility is capable of such an extreme or fullness of delight.

We feel no less strongly, as thought by another sense, that the phenomenon which is inducing and developing his state in us, which is inflicting its invisible power on us might not have been, or even that it should not have been, that it belongs to the realm of the improbable. Our enjoyment or joy has the force of fact, yet the existence and formation of the means, the instrument, that has engendered these feelings strike us as accidental, the result of a great stroke of luck, a gratuitous gift of fortune.

There is more to come, for we must hear how all this 'necessary and arbitrary' concludes -- also, what is it in us that responds to art, that wants to return creation for creativity? How is Proust's Recherche so special [it seems to be a consummate example of 'the necessity of the arbitrary']? How can we understand the living quality of an artwork? -- as something which has no finality but can be taken up throughout time, in different hands, changed, informed, improved by continued interactions. What is Pierre Menard's Quixote?

Preliminary: Socratic

[Cat - Ptolemaic period Egypt]

Valéry's Socrates [These excerpts are all taken from Eupalinos, the dialogue on architecture]:


I know even better, by my very experience, that our souls can, in the very heart of time, make for themselves sanctuaries impenetrable to duration, eternal in their inner selves, but transient with regard to nature; where they at last are what they know; where they desire what they are; where they feel themselves to be created by what they love, and render back to it light for light and silence for silence, giving themselves and receiving themselves again without borrowing aught from the stuff the world is made of, nor from the Hours. They are then like those sparkling calms, circumscribed by tempests, which shift from place to place on the seas. What are we during these abysses? They imply the life they suspend ....

But these marvels, these spells of contemplation, these ecstasies do not illuminate for me our strange problem of beauty. I am unable to connect these supreme states of the soul with the presence of a body or of some object which brings them into being.


And on language, specifically the 'face' or countenance of the third, highest sort of word he says:

how am I to figure it? .... It would have to be some inhuman countenance, with features severe and subtle as those which the Egyptians, it is said, were able to give the faces of their gods.

[Phaedrus]: And truly said. Craft, deep enigmas, an almost cruel precision, an implacable and half-bestial cunning, all the signs of feline watchfulness and of a fierce spirituality are visible in the images of those stern deities. The skillfully proportionate blend of acuteness and coldness produces in the soul a peculiar sense of uneasiness and disquietude. And these monsters of silence and lucidity, infinitely calm, infinitely alert, rigid and seemingly endowed with imminence, or with a suppleness about to be, have the semblance of Intelligence herself, in the guise of beast and animal -- impenetrable -- all-penetrating.

Such a glut of language used to describe itself.

Preliminary: Socratic

[Cat - Ptolemaic period Egypt]

Valéry's Socrates [These excerpts are all taken from Eupalinos, the dialogue on architecture]:


I know even better, by my very experience, that our souls can, in the very heart of time, make for themselves sanctuaries impenetrable to duration, eternal in their inner selves, but transient with regard to nature; where they at last are what they know; where they desire what they are; where they feel themselves to be created by what they love, and render back to it light for light and silence for silence, giving themselves and receiving themselves again without borrowing aught from the stuff the world is made of, nor from the Hours. They are then like those sparkling calms, circumscribed by tempests, which shift from place to place on the seas. What are we during these abysses? They imply the life they suspend ....

But these marvels, these spells of contemplation, these ecstasies do not illuminate for me our strange problem of beauty. I am unable to connect these supreme states of the soul with the presence of a body or of some object which brings them into being.


And on language, specifically the 'face' or countenance of the third, highest sort of word he says:

how am I to figure it? .... It would have to be some inhuman countenance, with features severe and subtle as those which the Egyptians, it is said, were able to give the faces of their gods.

[Phaedrus]: And truly said. Craft, deep enigmas, an almost cruel precision, an implacable and half-bestial cunning, all the signs of feline watchfulness and of a fierce spirituality are visible in the images of those stern deities. The skillfully proportionate blend of acuteness and coldness produces in the soul a peculiar sense of uneasiness and disquietude. And these monsters of silence and lucidity, infinitely calm, infinitely alert, rigid and seemingly endowed with imminence, or with a suppleness about to be, have the semblance of Intelligence herself, in the guise of beast and animal -- impenetrable -- all-penetrating.

Such a glut of language used to describe itself.

Easter time...


Happy Easter ,

It is normal at this time of year to look forward to new life in all it's versions - people and nature waking up and starting to look forward to blue skies and a new life ahead. Well, we do normally, but - we don't usually get it ! This morning when I looked out I had the most wonderful surprise - there was a huge yellow ball of sunshine in the sky and everything looked so much brighter and more colourful. We in this part of the world would normally see an all pervading grey and gloomy sky above with globules of wet drips falling earthwards. It really fills me with hope for the future and desperation to get organized and grab my sketchpad and camera to capture some images of this bright new world.

So after breakfast I shall get me sheepskin, cords and bunnet on and go and search out sights to capture . Well, it is Scotland isn't it? and I wouldn't want to get frostbite, now would I ?
By the way, if you click on the piccie the water gently laps the shore - lovely......

Hope you all have an enjoyable holiday this Eastertime, Love Kate xxx.

All things converge

[Rembrandt - The Anatomy Lecture]


But from time to time. From time to time. What tenderness in these little words, what savagery.
--
From Beckett's Molloy


I was studying Books X and XI in Augustine's Confessions tonight, reading his inquiry into the mysteries held in the one phrase: "In the beginning God created the heavens and earth." He wonders about time, about how we can speak of past, present and future as existing when they have no duration or real existence at all. He eventually realizes that time, if anything, is a mental construct, it is individual and subjective. It is merely the mind's way of fusing memory, experience and expectation. We create time in order to deal with our world, to deal with change and motion and duration.

As I followed his inquiry, some part of my mind was moving between the words I was currently engaging with and other ideas of time which have been recently encountered. Alan Lightman's book Einstein's Dreams, which I finished yesterday, deals entirely with time, imagining worlds without time, with discontinuous time, with sclerotic time, with subjective time -- worlds where time is fluid and not contained, where people spill over from one time into the next, wake up to find themselves crouching in a hedge, trying to hide their anachronism.

There are also the tubercular notions of time, as I've recently found in Barrett's novels, and previously in Magic Mountain. Poor Hans is always at the mercy of time -- from his first ascent to the mountain to the nosebleed that transports him back to the schoolyard of his childhood:

Time and space were abrogated—so intensely, so totally, that one might have thought a lifeless body lay there on the bench beside the torrent, while the real Hans Castorp was moving about in an earlier time, in different surroundings, confronted by a situation that, for all its simplicity, he found both fraught with risk and filled with intoxication.


Intoxication -- the heady feeling of finding oneself outside time for a moment --of feeling in control instead of controlled. In some of Lightman's worlds the people feel so constrained by their sort of time that they never leave their beds, never do a thing, so content are they to let time flow on inexorably. And then there's Molloy -- I stumbled upon him randomly this evening, copying out some passages which have long been collecting dust on my nightstand. I open the book to a marked passage and immediately I'm confronted with the above passage: What tenderness in these little words, what savagery.

It's amazing -- the sense of annihilation. I was sitting outside earlier this evening, it was cold despite the daffodils and budding trees. The stars were bright in the sky and it was quiet. I stared up at the sky, thinking of time, of moments, even of Lucretius' rain of matter cascading through time. I sat there, eventually closed my eyes, and began to remember what it was like to feel myself spread out -- to let my mind play tricks with time.

I had forgotten about making space, about creating silence. It's been some time now, but I believe Whitehead, in talking about the bloom of life, the growth of actuality, talks about the necessity of space. Creativity must work in the blank spaces of potentiality for any novel thing to be. It's so hard to find blank spaces, to find some emptiness to just dwell in -- I remember sitting in Central Park, in the northern corner on a cold day watching the leaves and the birds and wondering where one ended and the other began. I remember the light of that day, cold and clear like water, I remember the hard, gravely stone of the bench I was sitting on, and I do not remember what I was reading but I remember that it made me think of Rembrandt's doctors as they peered lasciviously into the secrets of man's anatomy.

Time stretched in those moments, but it all ended when voices and bodies intruded into the place and time I had boxed off for myself. I remember that as I walked back to my apartment that day, taking a shortcut behind the botanical gardens, I slipped on some wet leaves and tore my glove.

From time to time.

All things converge

[Rembrandt - The Anatomy Lecture]


But from time to time. From time to time. What tenderness in these little words, what savagery.
--
From Beckett's Molloy


I was studying Books X and XI in Augustine's Confessions tonight, reading his inquiry into the mysteries held in the one phrase: "In the beginning God created the heavens and earth." He wonders about time, about how we can speak of past, present and future as existing when they have no duration or real existence at all. He eventually realizes that time, if anything, is a mental construct, it is individual and subjective. It is merely the mind's way of fusing memory, experience and expectation. We create time in order to deal with our world, to deal with change and motion and duration.

As I followed his inquiry, some part of my mind was moving between the words I was currently engaging with and other ideas of time which have been recently encountered. Alan Lightman's book Einstein's Dreams, which I finished yesterday, deals entirely with time, imagining worlds without time, with discontinuous time, with sclerotic time, with subjective time -- worlds where time is fluid and not contained, where people spill over from one time into the next, wake up to find themselves crouching in a hedge, trying to hide their anachronism.

There are also the tubercular notions of time, as I've recently found in Barrett's novels, and previously in Magic Mountain. Poor Hans is always at the mercy of time -- from his first ascent to the mountain to the nosebleed that transports him back to the schoolyard of his childhood:

Time and space were abrogated—so intensely, so totally, that one might have thought a lifeless body lay there on the bench beside the torrent, while the real Hans Castorp was moving about in an earlier time, in different surroundings, confronted by a situation that, for all its simplicity, he found both fraught with risk and filled with intoxication.


Intoxication -- the heady feeling of finding oneself outside time for a moment --of feeling in control instead of controlled. In some of Lightman's worlds the people feel so constrained by their sort of time that they never leave their beds, never do a thing, so content are they to let time flow on inexorably. And then there's Molloy -- I stumbled upon him randomly this evening, copying out some passages which have long been collecting dust on my nightstand. I open the book to a marked passage and immediately I'm confronted with the above passage: What tenderness in these little words, what savagery.

It's amazing -- the sense of annihilation. I was sitting outside earlier this evening, it was cold despite the daffodils and budding trees. The stars were bright in the sky and it was quiet. I stared up at the sky, thinking of time, of moments, even of Lucretius' rain of matter cascading through time. I sat there, eventually closed my eyes, and began to remember what it was like to feel myself spread out -- to let my mind play tricks with time.

I had forgotten about making space, about creating silence. It's been some time now, but I believe Whitehead, in talking about the bloom of life, the growth of actuality, talks about the necessity of space. Creativity must work in the blank spaces of potentiality for any novel thing to be. It's so hard to find blank spaces, to find some emptiness to just dwell in -- I remember sitting in Central Park, in the northern corner on a cold day watching the leaves and the birds and wondering where one ended and the other began. I remember the light of that day, cold and clear like water, I remember the hard, gravely stone of the bench I was sitting on, and I do not remember what I was reading but I remember that it made me think of Rembrandt's doctors as they peered lasciviously into the secrets of man's anatomy.

Time stretched in those moments, but it all ended when voices and bodies intruded into the place and time I had boxed off for myself. I remember that as I walked back to my apartment that day, taking a shortcut behind the botanical gardens, I slipped on some wet leaves and tore my glove.

From time to time.

Teenage Memories..


Hi Folks

I have just read Grumpyoldwoman's post about the days of "Youth Fellowship" and "Youth Club" and Oh my what memories that post carried back to me... Grumps, you are dead right in what you said about teenagers being interested in totally different things. It was a much more innocent age and I do feel sorry for the kids nowadays. I know! I sound like an ancient moron there again I am - ancient that is... I used to go to one of these very clubs in Glasgow and met my first hubbie there, my first impression of him was - what a 'twat' and in these days that meant 'twit' . He was trying to look sooo cool in his winklepickers and skin tight trousers hehe.. and was cursing (in the Church - oooer) - He said 'bugger it' - I thought 'well he's very rude I don't want anything to do with 'him' looking down me very 'uptight and proper' nose at him. I did change my mind when he asked me to dance at the interval though, it turned out that he was the drummer for the group that was playing that night at the Youth Club. That was the start of a 23 year love affair .... and two children, till he met his next true love ! Heigh Ho, that's life. Blimey these days the kids see someone they like, the following week they are living together, a couple of months later they are expecting an addition to their little group and when that wee person is keeping them up at night for a couple of months they decide to split up and start again with someone else and the circle starts again. What a waste ! How sad...... I wonder what the world will be like when 'that' wee person grows up ?? Grumps, I have a feeling that the majority of the teenagers today (not all though), are going to miss out in growing up after just being a child, they should be enjoying childhood for as long as is possible before they meet the joys and the worries of adulthood. Let's hope that the children who are the future win a Life worthy of them and that they enjoy it with 'all' it's wonders .
The funny thing is I can remember my Mum telling me that she had a wonderful time growing up and she had done many things and had lots to do going out enjoying herself with her friends and she used to say to me 'you hardly go out and live like we did ' ...... This was during the Second World War - and I thought 'how could you' !! But she swore that life was really great and there was plenty of things to do - Just shows you....

Think I'd better close now and stop my remembrances for a while, flippen Nora you would think I lived in the past - I don't really.


Cheers Kate xxx.





Explanatory

deniseannsimon leaves

[Denise Simon]


I know that most of the words I've posted this week have been someone else's, but I feel like I'm in a state of saturation. Maybe it has something to do with the start of spring, but I've felt very polarized lately [is that even a legitimate descriptor?] Inundated yet dry. I keep collecting so much! --clothing, art, woodblocks, craft ideas, fictional pursuits, academic options, green things-- it's like I'm soaking it all in, absorbing the world around me -- a world which often feels like too much, too fast, too varied -- and, for the moment I'm letting everything just accumulate.

It's like the spring rains coming down fast into our streams and rivers, stirring up the sediment which has lain thick for so many months, muddying the water, obscuring the light -- but temporarily. Waters will run clean and pure again, green will emerge from layers of leaves and detritus, and growth and life will return.

I know spring is close when the mornings smell like worms and the evenings sound like frogs.

Explanatory

deniseannsimon leaves

[Denise Simon]


I know that most of the words I've posted this week have been someone else's, but I feel like I'm in a state of saturation. Maybe it has something to do with the start of spring, but I've felt very polarized lately [is that even a legitimate descriptor?] Inundated yet dry. I keep collecting so much! --clothing, art, woodblocks, craft ideas, fictional pursuits, academic options, green things-- it's like I'm soaking it all in, absorbing the world around me -- a world which often feels like too much, too fast, too varied -- and, for the moment I'm letting everything just accumulate.

It's like the spring rains coming down fast into our streams and rivers, stirring up the sediment which has lain thick for so many months, muddying the water, obscuring the light -- but temporarily. Waters will run clean and pure again, green will emerge from layers of leaves and detritus, and growth and life will return.

I know spring is close when the mornings smell like worms and the evenings sound like frogs.

Sclerotic v. Organic

SIL7-158-01

[Celestial Map Showing Various Constellations: Elijah Hinsdale Burritt Atlas designed to illustrate the geography of the heavens … 1835]

[from Alan Lightman - Einstein's Dreams]

24 APRIL 1905

In this world, there are two times. There is mechanical time and there is body time. The first is as rigid and metallic as a massive pendulum of iron that swings back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. The second squirms and wriggles like a bluefish in a bay. The first is unyielding, predetermined. The second makes up its mind as it goes along.

Many are convinced that mechanical time does not exist. When they pass the giant clock on the Kramgasse they do not see it; nor do they hear its chimes while sending packages on Postgasse or strolling between flowers in the Rosengarten. They wear watches on their wrists, but only as ornaments or as courtesies to those who would give timepieces as gifts. They do not keep clocks in their houses. Instead, they listen to their heartbeats. they feel the rhythms of their moods and desires. Such people eat when they are hungry, go to their jobs at the millinery or the chemist's whenever they wake from their sleep, make love all hours of the day. Such people laugh at the thought of mechanical time. They know that time moves in fits and starts. They know that time struggles forward with a weight on its back when they are rushing an injured child to the hospital or bearing the gaze of a neighbor wronged. And they know too that time darts across the field of vision when they are eating well with friends or receiving praise or lying in the arms of a secret lover.

Then there are those who think that their bodies don't exist. They live by mechanical time. They rise at seven o'clock in the morning. They eat their lunch at noon and their supper at six. They arrive at their appointments on time, precisely by the clock. They make love between eight and ten at night. They work forty hours a week, read the Sunday paper on Sunday, play chess on Tuesday nights. When their stomach growls, they look at their watch to see if it is time to eat. When they begin to lose themselves in a concert, they look at the clock above the stage to see when it will be time to go home. They know that the body is not a thing of wild magic, but a collection of chemicals, tissues, and nerve impulses. Thoughts are no more than electrical surges in the brain. Sexual arousal is no more than a flow of chemicals to certain nerve endings. Sadness no more than a bit of acid transfixed in the cerebellum. In short, the body is a machine, subject to the same laws of electricity and mechanics as an electron or clock. As such, the body must be addressed in the language of physics. And if the body speaks, it is the speaking of only so many levers and forces. The body is a thing to be ordered, not obeyed.

Taking the night air along the river Aare, one sees evidence for two worlds in one. A boatman gauges his position in the dark by counting seconds drifted in the water's current. "One, three meters. Two, six meters. Three, nine meters." His voice cuts through the black in clean and certain syllables. Beneath a lamppost on the Nydegg Bridge, two brothers who have not seen each other for a year stand and drink and laugh. The bell of St. Vincent's Cathedral sings ten times. In seconds, lights in the apartments lining Schifflaube wink out, in a perfect mechanized response, like the deductions of Euclid's geometry. Lying on the riverbank, two lovers look up lazily, awakened from a timeless sleep by the distant church bells, surprised to find that night has come. Where the two times meet, desperation. Where the two times go their separate ways, contentment. For, miraculously, a barrister, a nurse, a baker can make a world in either time, but not in both times. Each time is true, but the truths are not the same.

Sclerotic v. Organic

SIL7-158-01

[Celestial Map Showing Various Constellations: Elijah Hinsdale Burritt Atlas designed to illustrate the geography of the heavens … 1835]

[from Alan Lightman - Einstein's Dreams]

24 APRIL 1905

In this world, there are two times. There is mechanical time and there is body time. The first is as rigid and metallic as a massive pendulum of iron that swings back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. The second squirms and wriggles like a bluefish in a bay. The first is unyielding, predetermined. The second makes up its mind as it goes along.

Many are convinced that mechanical time does not exist. When they pass the giant clock on the Kramgasse they do not see it; nor do they hear its chimes while sending packages on Postgasse or strolling between flowers in the Rosengarten. They wear watches on their wrists, but only as ornaments or as courtesies to those who would give timepieces as gifts. They do not keep clocks in their houses. Instead, they listen to their heartbeats. they feel the rhythms of their moods and desires. Such people eat when they are hungry, go to their jobs at the millinery or the chemist's whenever they wake from their sleep, make love all hours of the day. Such people laugh at the thought of mechanical time. They know that time moves in fits and starts. They know that time struggles forward with a weight on its back when they are rushing an injured child to the hospital or bearing the gaze of a neighbor wronged. And they know too that time darts across the field of vision when they are eating well with friends or receiving praise or lying in the arms of a secret lover.

Then there are those who think that their bodies don't exist. They live by mechanical time. They rise at seven o'clock in the morning. They eat their lunch at noon and their supper at six. They arrive at their appointments on time, precisely by the clock. They make love between eight and ten at night. They work forty hours a week, read the Sunday paper on Sunday, play chess on Tuesday nights. When their stomach growls, they look at their watch to see if it is time to eat. When they begin to lose themselves in a concert, they look at the clock above the stage to see when it will be time to go home. They know that the body is not a thing of wild magic, but a collection of chemicals, tissues, and nerve impulses. Thoughts are no more than electrical surges in the brain. Sexual arousal is no more than a flow of chemicals to certain nerve endings. Sadness no more than a bit of acid transfixed in the cerebellum. In short, the body is a machine, subject to the same laws of electricity and mechanics as an electron or clock. As such, the body must be addressed in the language of physics. And if the body speaks, it is the speaking of only so many levers and forces. The body is a thing to be ordered, not obeyed.

Taking the night air along the river Aare, one sees evidence for two worlds in one. A boatman gauges his position in the dark by counting seconds drifted in the water's current. "One, three meters. Two, six meters. Three, nine meters." His voice cuts through the black in clean and certain syllables. Beneath a lamppost on the Nydegg Bridge, two brothers who have not seen each other for a year stand and drink and laugh. The bell of St. Vincent's Cathedral sings ten times. In seconds, lights in the apartments lining Schifflaube wink out, in a perfect mechanized response, like the deductions of Euclid's geometry. Lying on the riverbank, two lovers look up lazily, awakened from a timeless sleep by the distant church bells, surprised to find that night has come. Where the two times meet, desperation. Where the two times go their separate ways, contentment. For, miraculously, a barrister, a nurse, a baker can make a world in either time, but not in both times. Each time is true, but the truths are not the same.

Desired

[Eduard von MartensLand and Freshwater Mollusca]

Italo Calvino - Invisible Cities:

When a man rides a long time through wild regions he feels the desire for a city. Finally he comes to Isidora, a city where the buildings have spiral staircases encrusted with spiral seashells, where perfect telescopes and violins are made, where the foreigner hesitating between two women always encounters a third, where cockfights degenerate into bloody brawls among the bettors. He was thinking of all these things when he desired a city. Isidora, therefore, is the city of his dreams: with one difference. The dreamed-of city contained him as a young man; he arrives at Isidora in his old age. In the square there is a wall where the old men sit and watch the young go by; he is seated in a row with them. Desires are already memories.

[Pierre Menard to the narrator]: Jorge Luis Borges - Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote

'Thinking, analyzing, inventing (he also wrote to me) are not anomalous acts; they are the normal respiration of the intelligence. To glorify the occasional performance of that function, to hoard ancient and alien thoughts, to recall with incredulous stupor that the doctor universalis thought, is to confess our laziness or our barbarity. Every man should be capable of all ideas and I understand that in the future this will be the case.'

Desired

[Eduard von MartensLand and Freshwater Mollusca]

Italo Calvino - Invisible Cities:

When a man rides a long time through wild regions he feels the desire for a city. Finally he comes to Isidora, a city where the buildings have spiral staircases encrusted with spiral seashells, where perfect telescopes and violins are made, where the foreigner hesitating between two women always encounters a third, where cockfights degenerate into bloody brawls among the bettors. He was thinking of all these things when he desired a city. Isidora, therefore, is the city of his dreams: with one difference. The dreamed-of city contained him as a young man; he arrives at Isidora in his old age. In the square there is a wall where the old men sit and watch the young go by; he is seated in a row with them. Desires are already memories.

[Pierre Menard to the narrator]: Jorge Luis Borges - Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote

'Thinking, analyzing, inventing (he also wrote to me) are not anomalous acts; they are the normal respiration of the intelligence. To glorify the occasional performance of that function, to hoard ancient and alien thoughts, to recall with incredulous stupor that the doctor universalis thought, is to confess our laziness or our barbarity. Every man should be capable of all ideas and I understand that in the future this will be the case.'

In time

[detail from Henry G. Abbott's The watch factories of America, past and present. A complete history of watchmaking in America, from 1809 to 1888 inclusive, 1888]

I've been immersed in fiction -- breathing the air of tall pines, dreaming of Polish forests where wild bison nibble buttercups, feeling my nose alternate between frostbitten and sunburnt, finding myself, surprisingly, back in a sanatorium, blanket-wrapped and resting on my cure porch -- I discovered the writing of Andrea Barrett.

I've read Servants of the Map, Ship Fever, and The Air We Breathe and my favorite stories thus far have been "Two Rivers" and "The Cure," and my favorite characters are Nora, Miriam and Grace. I've traced out my own genealogical chart -- trying to untangle the generations, continents, and histories which intertwine and grow faint as characters are separated by time and place.

I've written before about the special sort of time in Magic Mountain -- about how time becomes a tangible thing, it becomes uncontrollable, inconsistent, and maddening. [We used a lovely phrase to describe this: the 'short-while-y-ness' or 'long-while-y-ness' of a long span of time]. Barrett addresses that same problem in her novel The Air We Breathe. Irene, the X-ray technician is speaking to the patients at Tamarack State Sanatorium about Einstein's work:

This man, she said, had changed our conception of time and shown that what had once been thought to be absolute was really relative. What could be more important? Here at Tamarack State, where time passed so slowly that is sometimes seemed to stop entirely, but outside, she said -- outside, where men in trenches were dying daily -- clocks were ticking relentlessly and time was speeding down a giant hole.

We could feel this, she said -- that time did not flow at the same speed for all of us, nor did it flow consistently -- but until Einstein formulated his theory of relativity no one had articulated what that meant.

I wrote the following paragraphs about 2 years ago, in response to the problem of time in Magic Mountain.

To live within rules, like the rules of a sanatorium lifestyle, means to live within boundaries or constraints, or within a defined and inelastic space. If this space is never compromised, broken or changed, you grow accustomed to the defining boundaries and ceases to question their presence. You actually alter your own behaviors to better fit into the defined area, developing habits or adaptations to the space. These habits are the attempt of the individual to fill in the area prescribed by inelastic rules or boundaries.

While filling up the area within the boundaries or guidelines, your habits, as a result of their perpetual nature, will create a sense of monotony or emptiness. While they seem to fill space, they are only filling that space with additional empty space, or squaring the space which is empty. The habits’ lack of meaning or substance makes the area which they are meant to fill only resoundingly more empty.

What follows is the knowledge that the habits you've developed, with the intention of creating an occupation, have only resulted in an increased or intensified feeling of emptiness. There is a sense of futility that accompanies this knowledge, a realization that even the longest stretches of time or space will never be satisfactorily filled and are thus contracted. Since those long spaces of time are incapable of being filled or lived within, they must be empty, and in being empty, they become fleeting spaces of time, as a lived experience, they are contracted to a momentary unit of time.

The acceptance of the ‘short-while-y-ness’ of these long stretches of time is an acceptance of the contracted nature of time. It is also an acceptance of the fact that your efforts to fill time have been futile; they have resulted only in time remaining empty yet increasing its pace. You've lost the ability to live within time and are simply being swept along time’s swift-moving course.

Once you realize you've lost some or all of your lived experience of time or your ability to live within time, you become apathetic. How else could you feel after accepting the futility of trying to impose a life that has weight and meaning on the elusive, pneumatic, and quickly-passing course of time? What is the purpose of making such a vain and wasted effort?

You realize that while you may be alive, you're not necessarily living. And then comes the terrifying and dizzying feeling of utter hopelessness.

People commonly fall into the trap of believing that monotony and emptiness, or the space which is filled by habit, are interminable and have a lengthening effect on time. They think that boredom, or long-while-y-ness, is the result of the stretching of time caused by the lack of something to fill it. This is, in fact, only true for short periods of time. We can only experience boredom or long-while-y-ness fleetingly, before the expanse of time jumps ahead and we are lost to its speed. In other words, boredom is relinquished and time is allowed to gallop ahead while we are passively pulled along.

I have also been reading Valery's Eupalinos, a wonderful dialogue between the shades of Socrates and Phaedrus on the topic of art and beauty -- I keep meaning to write about Valery, but I keep reading more, and in doing so, postponing my writing ...

In time

[detail from Henry G. Abbott's The watch factories of America, past and present. A complete history of watchmaking in America, from 1809 to 1888 inclusive, 1888]

I've been immersed in fiction -- breathing the air of tall pines, dreaming of Polish forests where wild bison nibble buttercups, feeling my nose alternate between frostbitten and sunburnt, finding myself, surprisingly, back in a sanatorium, blanket-wrapped and resting on my cure porch -- I discovered the writing of Andrea Barrett.

I've read Servants of the Map, Ship Fever, and The Air We Breathe and my favorite stories thus far have been "Two Rivers" and "The Cure," and my favorite characters are Nora, Miriam and Grace. I've traced out my own genealogical chart -- trying to untangle the generations, continents, and histories which intertwine and grow faint as characters are separated by time and place.

I've written before about the special sort of time in Magic Mountain -- about how time becomes a tangible thing, it becomes uncontrollable, inconsistent, and maddening. [We used a lovely phrase to describe this: the 'short-while-y-ness' or 'long-while-y-ness' of a long span of time]. Barrett addresses that same problem in her novel The Air We Breathe. Irene, the X-ray technician is speaking to the patients at Tamarack State Sanatorium about Einstein's work:

This man, she said, had changed our conception of time and shown that what had once been thought to be absolute was really relative. What could be more important? Here at Tamarack State, where time passed so slowly that is sometimes seemed to stop entirely, but outside, she said -- outside, where men in trenches were dying daily -- clocks were ticking relentlessly and time was speeding down a giant hole.

We could feel this, she said -- that time did not flow at the same speed for all of us, nor did it flow consistently -- but until Einstein formulated his theory of relativity no one had articulated what that meant.

I wrote the following paragraphs about 2 years ago, in response to the problem of time in Magic Mountain.

To live within rules, like the rules of a sanatorium lifestyle, means to live within boundaries or constraints, or within a defined and inelastic space. If this space is never compromised, broken or changed, you grow accustomed to the defining boundaries and ceases to question their presence. You actually alter your own behaviors to better fit into the defined area, developing habits or adaptations to the space. These habits are the attempt of the individual to fill in the area prescribed by inelastic rules or boundaries.

While filling up the area within the boundaries or guidelines, your habits, as a result of their perpetual nature, will create a sense of monotony or emptiness. While they seem to fill space, they are only filling that space with additional empty space, or squaring the space which is empty. The habits’ lack of meaning or substance makes the area which they are meant to fill only resoundingly more empty.

What follows is the knowledge that the habits you've developed, with the intention of creating an occupation, have only resulted in an increased or intensified feeling of emptiness. There is a sense of futility that accompanies this knowledge, a realization that even the longest stretches of time or space will never be satisfactorily filled and are thus contracted. Since those long spaces of time are incapable of being filled or lived within, they must be empty, and in being empty, they become fleeting spaces of time, as a lived experience, they are contracted to a momentary unit of time.

The acceptance of the ‘short-while-y-ness’ of these long stretches of time is an acceptance of the contracted nature of time. It is also an acceptance of the fact that your efforts to fill time have been futile; they have resulted only in time remaining empty yet increasing its pace. You've lost the ability to live within time and are simply being swept along time’s swift-moving course.

Once you realize you've lost some or all of your lived experience of time or your ability to live within time, you become apathetic. How else could you feel after accepting the futility of trying to impose a life that has weight and meaning on the elusive, pneumatic, and quickly-passing course of time? What is the purpose of making such a vain and wasted effort?

You realize that while you may be alive, you're not necessarily living. And then comes the terrifying and dizzying feeling of utter hopelessness.

People commonly fall into the trap of believing that monotony and emptiness, or the space which is filled by habit, are interminable and have a lengthening effect on time. They think that boredom, or long-while-y-ness, is the result of the stretching of time caused by the lack of something to fill it. This is, in fact, only true for short periods of time. We can only experience boredom or long-while-y-ness fleetingly, before the expanse of time jumps ahead and we are lost to its speed. In other words, boredom is relinquished and time is allowed to gallop ahead while we are passively pulled along.

I have also been reading Valery's Eupalinos, a wonderful dialogue between the shades of Socrates and Phaedrus on the topic of art and beauty -- I keep meaning to write about Valery, but I keep reading more, and in doing so, postponing my writing ...

Cute Kids...


Hello again folks,

Aren't grandchildren wonderful, gorgeous, clever and cute ! I'm a doting Grandmother and see all my grandchildren as being priceless gems and due to the fact that I'm not totally responsible for them all of the time I can see them with different eyes than if I were their parent.
This is when you will need a sick bowl probably - I'm going to 'blow' about mine (one of them in particular at the moment) because he is 'such a wee gem' and cute as a barrelload of monkeys. I look after him on a Wednesday, his other Gran also has him during the week and the other few days he goes to a childminder. His photograph was taken and entered in a local newspaper competition to find the cutest Kid in the town he got First place in the under three's group. So now there is a very large canvas-type photo-picture to be hung up at his home which was the First Prize .
There are probably loads of Grans, Grannies, Grandmas, Nans and Nanas who also think their children's children are the most beautiful, kindest, nicest natured . (but I really 'know' mine are the best - hehe). Anyway, these wee characters fairly come out with some really funny insights about the world they inhabit.....
Lou is a right wee actor and poser and is usually a happy wee boy, he is one of the gentlest of creatures with an inbuilt sense of 'what is right' and actually is the identical image of his Dad in temperament as well as looks and according to the way he is growing up he will be as easy to love as his Dad was and is. He seems to be one of these children whom you would swear had 'been here before' - and who therefore exhibits wisdom way beyond his age. He is always asking what was it like when the world was in black and white , and when he feel happy he cuddles up and tells you - like he did the other week - I'm happy today Nana, when he said that I thought for a few seconds and asked if he was not always happy? He just looked at me seriously and said Yes, but I'm 'really happy' today ! for a two and a half year old that's something unusual.
There is something very special about being a grandparent to a child .
Lots of Love Kate xxx.




Collections

06

[all images are Gregory Blackstock ]


I've been gleaning lately, selecting images, words, ideas and moments and storing them for some as-yet-unforseen occasion. I send myself e-mails full of links, image files and little scribblish notes -- reminders and signposts to help me keep the panels of my life connected.

The idea of a panelled life seems like a good one to me -- too often I slip into forgetfulness, losing a train of thought, passing from one moment of being into the next. It can be a jolt sometimes, to start the apperceptive process again and realize that at some point there was a shift, an unnoticed transformation, transmigration.

I found myself waiting in line for an espresso today, thinking of ferns, of how my aunt described the forests in the Pacific Northwest as vast tall trees and a carpet of ferns. I was thinking of how that would smell, and of the hush and softness -- and about little colonies of moss and lichen -- and then, abruptly, I thought about how Molly Bloom says the word metempsychosis [met him pike hoses] and about late arrivals -- about the character in Andrea Barrett's story 'Servants of the Map' who arrives at botany at the (in his opinion, old) age of 28. About Gregory Blackstock and his collections, and so on.

09


I keep drawing Penrose tiles, and sewing them. Last night my hand cramped up from sewing for so long -- my own fault for choosing to sew on stiff fabric which feels more like cardboard then felt.

I don't sit quietly anymore -- I feel a strange sense of shame if my mind, hands, or mouth is not active. Almost as if I were trying to keep myself from falling or sinking into nothingness -- the same sort of blank numbness that kept me so quiet for half a year. Not to disparage my current activities, they have their merit, they are all essays -- they are me trying new things, searching for something, working things out. Sometimes I sit down at my cold, cramped desk and I wait and waver as I try to decide what to write. I know my failings -- the lacunas in my knowledge and my schooling -- I know that when write something out it often sounds like someone else -- but I suppose I keep writing/talking/trying in the hopes that it will work itself out -- that through sheer practice, some form or stability will emerge.

I've returned to an idea that used to appear here a lot -- Vinteuil's little phrase, a musical scrap that haunts the narrator in Proust's Recherche. For Hans, in Magic Mountain, it was Der Lindenbaum which moved him to flights of metaphorical verbosity [in some of the most fascinating and elusive passages in that novel]; for me, right now, it's the Concerto in E Minor, composed by Preisner for La Double Vie de Veronique [see my thoughts on that film here].

Efforts will be made this weekend -- to come to a good wrapping-up place in Valery and to write out what he has meant for me -- to sew more, to keep producing rectangles of felt with shapes, tiles, patterns on them, abstract or figurative or cartoonish -- to begin preparing for class again, returning to Augustine's Confessions.

Collections

06

[all images are Gregory Blackstock ]


I've been gleaning lately, selecting images, words, ideas and moments and storing them for some as-yet-unforseen occasion. I send myself e-mails full of links, image files and little scribblish notes -- reminders and signposts to help me keep the panels of my life connected.

The idea of a panelled life seems like a good one to me -- too often I slip into forgetfulness, losing a train of thought, passing from one moment of being into the next. It can be a jolt sometimes, to start the apperceptive process again and realize that at some point there was a shift, an unnoticed transformation, transmigration.

I found myself waiting in line for an espresso today, thinking of ferns, of how my aunt described the forests in the Pacific Northwest as vast tall trees and a carpet of ferns. I was thinking of how that would smell, and of the hush and softness -- and about little colonies of moss and lichen -- and then, abruptly, I thought about how Molly Bloom says the word metempsychosis [met him pike hoses] and about late arrivals -- about the character in Andrea Barrett's story 'Servants of the Map' who arrives at botany at the (in his opinion, old) age of 28. About Gregory Blackstock and his collections, and so on.

09


I keep drawing Penrose tiles, and sewing them. Last night my hand cramped up from sewing for so long -- my own fault for choosing to sew on stiff fabric which feels more like cardboard then felt.

I don't sit quietly anymore -- I feel a strange sense of shame if my mind, hands, or mouth is not active. Almost as if I were trying to keep myself from falling or sinking into nothingness -- the same sort of blank numbness that kept me so quiet for half a year. Not to disparage my current activities, they have their merit, they are all essays -- they are me trying new things, searching for something, working things out. Sometimes I sit down at my cold, cramped desk and I wait and waver as I try to decide what to write. I know my failings -- the lacunas in my knowledge and my schooling -- I know that when write something out it often sounds like someone else -- but I suppose I keep writing/talking/trying in the hopes that it will work itself out -- that through sheer practice, some form or stability will emerge.

I've returned to an idea that used to appear here a lot -- Vinteuil's little phrase, a musical scrap that haunts the narrator in Proust's Recherche. For Hans, in Magic Mountain, it was Der Lindenbaum which moved him to flights of metaphorical verbosity [in some of the most fascinating and elusive passages in that novel]; for me, right now, it's the Concerto in E Minor, composed by Preisner for La Double Vie de Veronique [see my thoughts on that film here].

Efforts will be made this weekend -- to come to a good wrapping-up place in Valery and to write out what he has meant for me -- to sew more, to keep producing rectangles of felt with shapes, tiles, patterns on them, abstract or figurative or cartoonish -- to begin preparing for class again, returning to Augustine's Confessions.

Bloggers Book for War Child Charity.

Hello Folks,

Well , I've done it again, I couldn't organise a menage (as they say in this part of the world).

It is just sooo typical , I was intending to send in a couple of blogs from my 'Manor' and have missed the date - which was 9th March - OOOOh ... I'm so angry and disappointed with myself.

<< The Two Kate Barrs- Note ciggie in hand !

The name of the book is to be 'You're Not the Only One' - well I will console myself with the knowledge that I can't be the only one who was daft enough not to check out when the latest date for blogs to be received was 9th March, there are probably a number of people in this position, surely I can't be the only 'Numpty' !

Blimey, you would think from the foregoing that I thought I had a chance of getting something of mine included believe me I didn't think I had a snowball's chance in H*ll of getting a look-in but I thought perhaps I could get one of my 'blethers' seen if not accepted.

I even had a couple of my blogs selected too, the one about my Mum talking to the mice and getting rid of them and the other one regarding the long fought altercation with my Nan about deciding whether to let her wash my curly locks on hairwash night. I have included a wee photo of my Nan in this post and would ask you to make the comparison of the image shown with someone of 58 years old now - haven't styles changed and people got a lot younger looking !
I loved the very bones of her then and always will...



Cheers to All, Kate xxx. (Numpty).

Triptych



[White Heron - Soami - From the Freer Gallery]

[sometimes the interrelations present themselves]

Mallarme : ['Weary of Bitter Rest']

Weary of bitter rest where my failure to act
insults a fame for which I once fled from the dear
childhood of rose woods thriving under nature's sheer
blue, and still wearier seven times of my grim pact
to carve out nightly some new grave in the terrain
that lies penurious and cold within my brain,
a pitiless gravedigger of sterility --
what shall I tell the Dawn, as roses visit me,
O Dreams, when the immense cemetary imposes
unity on the void holes, fearing its livid roses? --
I want to leave the ravenous Art of cruel lands
and, smiling at the antiquated reprimands
cast at me by the past, genius, my every friend,
even my lamp -- although it knows my agonies --
to imitate the limpid-souled refined Chinese
who finds unalloyed rapture as he paints the end
of a flower on moon-ravished snow,
some unfamiliar flower whose scent he used to know
in childhood, and which still perfumes his crystalline
life, grafting itself on the soul's blue filigree.
And, because death is such, with the sole reverie
of the sage, I shall choose serenely to design
a youthful landscape idly on the cups again.
A slender line of azure blue, pale and precise,
would be a lake in skies of naked porcelain,
a lucid crescent lost behind white cloud proceeds
to steep its placid horn into the water's ice,
not far from three great emerald eyelashes, the reeds.

Valery: from Reflections on Art

Goncourt tells the story of a Japanese painter on a visit to Paris who gave a demonstration of his working methods for a few art lovers. After preparing his implements, he took a sponge and moistened his paper, which was stretched on a frame; then he tossed a drop of India ink on the wet paper. When the drop had spread, he rolled some newspaper into a ball and made a fire to dry the paper. When it was dry, he moistened it again, in another corner, and made a second spot, etc. He's a faker, said some of the onlookers. But when he had finished his drying and tossing of India ink, he went back to his taut paper and put in, here and there, two or three fine brush strokes. The work appeared: bird with bristling plumage. Not a single operation had gone amiss; the whole thing had been done with a meticulous order, proving that he had done it hundreds of times to achieve this miracle of skill. That man made the execution of a work of art itself a work of art. We can thus imagine a painter or sculptor working rhythmically, in a kind of dance. Execution after all is a kind of miming. If all the movements that went into a picture could be reconstituted, the picture could be explained as a series of co-ordinated acts; the same series could then be repeated or reproduced, and the artist would be comparable to an actor who plas the same role over and over.

Triptych



[White Heron - Soami - From the Freer Gallery]

[sometimes the interrelations present themselves]

Mallarme : ['Weary of Bitter Rest']

Weary of bitter rest where my failure to act
insults a fame for which I once fled from the dear
childhood of rose woods thriving under nature's sheer
blue, and still wearier seven times of my grim pact
to carve out nightly some new grave in the terrain
that lies penurious and cold within my brain,
a pitiless gravedigger of sterility --
what shall I tell the Dawn, as roses visit me,
O Dreams, when the immense cemetary imposes
unity on the void holes, fearing its livid roses? --
I want to leave the ravenous Art of cruel lands
and, smiling at the antiquated reprimands
cast at me by the past, genius, my every friend,
even my lamp -- although it knows my agonies --
to imitate the limpid-souled refined Chinese
who finds unalloyed rapture as he paints the end
of a flower on moon-ravished snow,
some unfamiliar flower whose scent he used to know
in childhood, and which still perfumes his crystalline
life, grafting itself on the soul's blue filigree.
And, because death is such, with the sole reverie
of the sage, I shall choose serenely to design
a youthful landscape idly on the cups again.
A slender line of azure blue, pale and precise,
would be a lake in skies of naked porcelain,
a lucid crescent lost behind white cloud proceeds
to steep its placid horn into the water's ice,
not far from three great emerald eyelashes, the reeds.

Valery: from Reflections on Art

Goncourt tells the story of a Japanese painter on a visit to Paris who gave a demonstration of his working methods for a few art lovers. After preparing his implements, he took a sponge and moistened his paper, which was stretched on a frame; then he tossed a drop of India ink on the wet paper. When the drop had spread, he rolled some newspaper into a ball and made a fire to dry the paper. When it was dry, he moistened it again, in another corner, and made a second spot, etc. He's a faker, said some of the onlookers. But when he had finished his drying and tossing of India ink, he went back to his taut paper and put in, here and there, two or three fine brush strokes. The work appeared: bird with bristling plumage. Not a single operation had gone amiss; the whole thing had been done with a meticulous order, proving that he had done it hundreds of times to achieve this miracle of skill. That man made the execution of a work of art itself a work of art. We can thus imagine a painter or sculptor working rhythmically, in a kind of dance. Execution after all is a kind of miming. If all the movements that went into a picture could be reconstituted, the picture could be explained as a series of co-ordinated acts; the same series could then be repeated or reproduced, and the artist would be comparable to an actor who plas the same role over and over.

Currently ...

I cannot stop listening to:

Iron & Wine - Resurrection Fern


The National - Mistaken For Strangers


I'm working on Valery still, and have been thinking a lot about how his discourse informs my understanding of Mann's Magic Mountain, Musil's Man Without Qualities, and Borges' Pierre Menard.

And a wonderful Public Service Announcement I just found at thenonist: http://www.thenonist.com/downloads/thenonist_blog_depression.pdf

Currently ...

I cannot stop listening to:

Iron & Wine - Resurrection Fern


The National - Mistaken For Strangers


I'm working on Valery still, and have been thinking a lot about how his discourse informs my understanding of Mann's Magic Mountain, Musil's Man Without Qualities, and Borges' Pierre Menard.

And a wonderful Public Service Announcement I just found at thenonist: http://www.thenonist.com/downloads/thenonist_blog_depression.pdf

Problematic

d019

[Julie Morstad]

In her 1971 essay, Linda Nochlin posed the question "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" As may be expected, this question is more a chance to provoke an inquiry than a serious query. The implied answer indicates the severity of the situation: "There have been no great women artists because women are incapable of greatness."

Nochlin goes on to show that the above answer is clearly unsatisfactory, and that the feminist attempt at answering her question by searching out flower painters and the occasional bright female artist from the back-log of history only aggravates the issue. If we elevate a woman who happened to paint to the status of 'great artist,' we 'tacitly reinforce [the question's] negative implications.'

Nochlin points to a problem which has been concerning me in my work on Gilson and Valery, namely that our conception of art in general is flawed. She says that feminists and the general public share,

the naive idea that art is direct, personal expression of individual emotional experience, a translation of personal life into visual terms. Art is almost never that, great art never is. The making of art involves a self-consistent language of form, more or less dependent upon, or free from, given temporally defined conventions, schemata, or systems of notation, which have to be learned or worked out, either through teaching, apprenticeship, or a long period of individual experimentation.


The problem lies in our conception of art, and, more specifically in who the artist is and how he or she creates. If artistic creation is misunderstood, our original question is born out of an erroneous context. The terms 'Great' and 'Genius' [with requisite capitals] reinforce the notion of the artist as some supernatural being who possesses powers of imitation and can, without much personal effort, 'create Being out of nothing.' It is a fairy tale that is supported by the hundreds of art historical monographs which Nochlin condemns. She sees the male-dominated 'institution' of art history as only contributing to the longevity of our erroneous understanding of art and artistic creation. Instead of asking the 'crucial question of the conditions generally productive of great art,' we produce 'semi-religious' tracts elevating 'Great' male artists to a quasi-sainthood. She says:

To encourage a dispassionate, impersonal, sociological, and institutionally oriented approach would reveal the entire romantic, elitist, individual-glorifying, and monograph-producing substructure upon which the profession of art history is based, and which has only been recently called into question by a group of younger dissidents.


This way of thinking accepts the notion of the great artist as a given and relegates the social context in which the artist worked to the role of a 'secondary influence.' Nochlin sees the true problem as an inability on the part of the scholars and writers to recognize the influence that education, institutions, and social pressures played in the definition of art, artists, and the artworks that were produced.

The question "Why have there been no great women artists?" has led us to the conclusion, so far, that art is not a free, autonomous activity of a super-endowed individual, "influenced" by previous artists, and more vaguely and superficially, by "social forces," but, rather, that the total situation of art making, both in terms of the development of the art maker and in the nature and quality of the work of art itself, occur in a social situation, are integral elements of this social structure, and are mediated and determined by specific and definable social institutions, be they art academies, systems of patronage, mythologies of the divine creator, artist as he-man or social outcast.

Nochlin shows how women were most affected by these constraints; they could not be admitted to the academies until as late as 1893, they were not allowed to view or study the nude form, male or female, and they were socially guided to limit their art to the place of an 'accomplishment,' instead devoting their energies and attentions to the welfare of others.

She calls for women to confront the true issue and to use their unique place as an outsider to ask the important questions of art:

women must conceive of themselves as potentially, if not actually, equal subjects, and must be willing to look the facts of their situation full in the face, without self-pity, or cop-outs; at the same time they must view their situation with that high degree of emotional and intellectual commitment necessary to create a world in which equal achievement will be not only made possible but actively encouraged by social institutions.


I'm much more interested in this conclusion -- what does it mean for anyone, outsider or not, to turn a critical eye on the presumptions of their chosen field of study? What does it mean to examine our notions of art and artistic creation? I've already started to work in that last question, mostly realizing the restrictions of a metaphysical approach to art. Nochlin uses John Stuart Mill to speak of how dangerous it is to accept 'what is' as 'natural.' This raises some very important -- and new -- questions for me -- mostly about the effort of teaching and education in general.