24 October 2016

“What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.” 

― Vincent van Gogh

23 October 2016

Garrison, NY
Looking out of the Barn

"It was one of those sumptuous days when the world is full of autumn muskiness and tangy, crisp perfection: vivid blue sky, deep green fields, leaves in a thousand luminous hues. It is a truly astounding sight when every tree in a landscape becomes individual, when each winding back highway and plump hillside is suddenly and infinitely splashed with every sharp shade that nature can bestow - flaming scarlet, lustrous gold, throbbing vermilion, fiery orange."

 - Bill Bryson

20 October 2016

There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life.
— Federico Fellini 

17 October 2016

"Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It’s all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand. Everything is a self-portrait. Everything is a diary.

— Chuck Palahniuk

09 October 2016

John Berger on Twombly.
A writer continually struggles for clarity against the language he's using or, more accurately, against the common usage of that language. He doesn't see language with the readability and clarity of something printed out. He sees it, rather as a terrain full of illegibilities, hidden paths, impasses, surprises, and obscurities. Its maps is not a dictionary but the whole of literature and perhaps everything ever said. Its obscurities, its lost senses, its self-effacement come about for many reasons - because of the way words modify each other, write themselves over each other, cancel one another out, because the unsaid always counts for as much, or more, than the said, and because language can never cover what it signifies. Language is always an abbreviation.
It was Proust who once remarked that all true poetry consists of words written in a foreign language. Every one of us is born with a mother tongue. Yet poetry is motherless.
I'll try to make what I'm saying simpler. From time to time I exchange letters and drawings with a Spanish friend. I do not (unhappily) speak Spanish, I know a few words, and I can use a dictionary. Often in the letters I receive there are quotations in Spanish from poets - Borges, Juarroz, Neruda, Lorca. And I reply with other quotations of poems in Spanish, which I have sought out. The letters are hand-written and, as I carefully trace the letters of strange words in what is to me a foreign tongue, I have the sense, as at no other time, of walking in the furrows of a poem, across the terrain of poetry.
Cy Twombly's paintings are for me landscapes of this foreign and yet familiar terrain. Some of them appear to be laid out under a blinding noon sun, others have been found by touch at night. In neither case can any dictionary of words be referred to, for the light does not allow it. Here in these mysterious paintings we have to rely on upon other accuracies: accuracies of tact, of longing, of loss, of expectation.
I know of no other visual Western artist who has created an oeuvre that visualizes with living colors the silent space that exists between and around words. Cy Twombly is the painterly master of verbal silence.

08 October 2016

There are spirits that come back to us
when we have grown into another age
we recognize them just as they leave us
we remember them when we cannot hear them
some of them come from the bodies of birds
some arrive unnoticed like forgetting
they do not recall earlier lives
and there are distant voices still hoping to find us

W.S. Merwin, “Voices Over Water,” 

07 October 2016

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.
An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.
Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.

C.K. Chesteron

06 October 2016

"Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity. The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of today) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that. Thus he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also."

 - G. K. Chesterton

03 October 2016

There are questions that I no longer ask
and others that I have not asked for a long time
that I return to and dust off and discover
that I'm smiling and the question
has always been me and that it is
no question at all but that it means
different things at the same time
yes I am old now and I am the child
I remember what are called the old days and there is
no one to ask how they became the old days
and if I ask myself there is no answer
so this is old and what I have become
and the answer is something I would come to
later when I was old but this morning
is not old and I am the morning
in which the autumn leaves have no question
as the breeze passes through them and is gone
 - W. S. Merwin

21 December 2014

 James Burnham's Ten Laws

  1. Everybody knows everything.
  2. Who says A must say B.
  3. Just as good, isn't.
  4. You cannot invest in retrospect.
  5. Wherever there is prohibition there's a bootlegger.
  6. In every project there's a Schlamm.
  7. You can't divorce yourself.
  8. Every member must pay his dues.
  9. No excuse, sir.
  10. If there's no alternative, there's no problem.

08 December 2014

"We suffer from a repression of the sublime."

—  Roberto Assagioli, Psychosynthesis

But Van the Man never does.