Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Art's Time and Place

When we used to live in Atlanta, Rob had to regularly go out of town for work. Often when he was gone, I would perform radical surgery on something in the yard. Once I climbed up the evergreen in the sloped front yard and started hacking at branches with a saw. I only got a few bruises when I fell.

Now we live in Charlottesville and while the yard still needs plenty of work, I am older and less prone to spontaneous tree pruning. And the saw is a little dull. So the next best thing to occupy my restless self is moving art around. We have so many nail holes in the walls of this house, we probably will have to hang new drywall if we ever want to sell.

Of course, this new habit may be due to the fact we owned an art gallery for three years (the image above is from our gallery) - but wherever it comes from, I like the results. You need to look at different work at different times. Your mood affects what your eyes see. And with winter coming on, I want to be able to see our pieces that reflect the natural world. In the summer, when the natural world is all around, I want artifice, surrealism, weirdness. What I want to see from my couch simply varies with the seasons. Some people are probably more constant (and boring), but I am not.

I think this principle applies in a way to reading as well. Justin Cronin's new book The Passage has been sitting on my bedside table as I have gone through three other books. It's not the right time to tackle his huge adventure story. I've been in the throws of revising my own book, and I want to read books that I can analyze. I want to read The Passage when I can lose myself in it totally and completely, not when I am reading to make my own work better.

Think about where you are pick the art you need to soothe or enliven your soul as the case my be. In other words, it may not be a bad book, just a bad time.

Monday, November 15, 2010

So True

From Michael Chabon: "[F]ailure instructs the writer. Every novel, in the moments before we begin to write it, is potentially the greatest, the most beautiful or thrilling ever written … Our greatest duty as artists and as humans is to pay attention to our failures, to break them down, study the tapes, conduct the postmortem, pore over the findings; to learn from our mistakes."

Reporting for duty!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

72 Words About 72 Hours in So Cal

Relentless sunshine
Ocean swimming. Brrr.
Friends who are happy
1967 light blue Corvette
Kelp and sharks look alike
Surfers make me feel so uncool.
Fish tacos and beer in a dark bar on a sunny day
“Another beautiful day in San Diego”
Borders on everything and nothing
So Cal is action. No Cal is thought.
The soul knows what it wants, but what does it need?

(The photo is from Manhattan Beach)