Mid-Summer Snippets

FRIDAY, 20 JULY 2018

“I KNOW IT HAPPENS TO EVERYBODY, BUT IT’D NEVER HAPPENED TO ME,” HE SAID. “I KNOW PEOPLE’S MOTHERS HAVE DIED, BUT THIS WAS MINE.”

OSCAR ISAAC, NEW YORK TIMES. 6 JULY 2017.

Isn’t that the process of growing up? Realizing that everything that has ever happened to you has happened before to someone else. What we need to remember, as adults, is that all children, as they grow up, are discovering life all for the first time. Their pain is bright and new and unlike anything they have ever felt before. We must remember that for all the repetition in the sum total of human experience, each individual encounters each of these forgone conclusions as a revelation, something awesome – in both its terror and its glory.

WEDNESDAY, 18 JULY 2018

I ate dinner at home.

Before I left, a little while before, Blueberry had either found or killed (or, at the very least, maimed) a rather large beetle. Not quite a stag beetle – I don’t think we have those in this part of the country – but a 1.5 inch long, glossy black beetle.

She was curious about it and kept trying to eat it, but I got the impression that, legs up, it was too spiky or shocking for her to be able to fit it in her mouth.

She proceeded to scrabble at it, pushing the beetle’s invisible black body along the mess of flat stones which constitutes a walkway, along the edge of the deck, from the gate to the porch door, in that part of the garden.

She would pounce, sniff, taste, rear back, push— pounce, sniff, taste, rear back, push— again and again. Her white paws and startled reaction, the direction of her fixed gaze, the only things to give any indication of where her immobilized prey had ended up.

She must have scraped the body – head-thorax-abdomen – of that poor creature across ten inches or a foot, in a clatter of rough claws on slate, and the imagined rasp of carapace on stone.

Eventually, some significant damage must have been done. She leaned down, her blunt, curious snout pressing against stone and dirt, before lifting up her head.

Pitbull lips flapping, I could hear a sharp crunch-crunch-crunch. Satisfied, she trotted away in to the dark of the yard.


Retroactively published 22 Jan 2019

2018.04.10:

Over the weekend, I visited the RISD Art Books Fair with a friend.

The first question is what is an “art book fair” – are they books about art? Is the library selling off old bits of its collection? Are they books that constitute art? None of the above?

The answer, as always, is complicated. Over all the event leaned into the notion of “books as art” with a healthy dose of “art fair” holding the whole thing together. Representatives from a variety of organizations of creatives were in attendance. Most of the stalls were RISD affiliated, showcasing the work of RISD students, past and present.

My friend and I spent a solid chunk of time pouring over the table half-covered with little, 2 cm in diameter buttons, each with a colorful background and a handwritten statement on the front. “No thank you” read one, “pseudonym” read another, “kind of a drag” read one that I bought, “solid blood” read one my friend bought. There was no method or reasoning to the text that we could discern, but nor did we care to look for one. It was time well spent swimming through the vague thoughts forms of the subconscious.

I picked up two little chapbooks by a graphic design student from the Kansas City Art Institute.

Selecting art books, like buying other kinds of art, is an exercise in self-discovery. It is never clear why you prefer one thing over another, why you want this work of art and not that one. Nevertheless, the feeling is always concrete, always strong. There is no rationalizing it, no secret formula to understanding it; art one brings home becomes a housemate, a companion. So it is also with art books. They call out to us, and we pick them up, and when we bring them home, we find ourselves sitting there, leafing through, curious, always trying to look with new eyes.

Knowing a piece of art can only happen with time. The thing which originally drew us to it is almost immediately papered over, hidden by every subsequent detail we find which pleases us. We put ourselves in dialogue with the piece by accident; simply by spending time with it, little details are revealed, “Oh, look at that little shape there” and “Oh, that shade of blue reminds me of the first house I remember us living in” and “Oh, how melancholy”. We are revealed as much as the art is revealed as much as the artist reveals. Indirect communication and accidental resonances take over.


Retroactively published 22 Jan 2019