William Butler Yeats was born on June 13, 1865, and died on January 28, 1939. Another of our favorites has a June birthday: Egon Schiele, born June 12, 1890, and died October 31, 1918. Egon died from the flu pandemic just two days after his wife and baby. Willy died in a small attic room with both his wife and mistress at his side. Could there be more of a contrast in life and times?
And then of course one an artist (Schiele) and the other a poet and writer. Yet who knows what heights Schiele might have reached had he lived. He too wrote a bit of poetry and letters. Both consider what it is that makes an artist, and what it is that is in the special makings of things that make some reach for the Heavens (whatever that means) and others content to be earthbound.
Egon Schiele: Self Portrait with Physalis, 1912
Both saw Beauty and Terror in everything in the world. The gift to us is that they tried so valiantly to share it with us, sometimes succeeding, if we but eyes to see. Imagine.
The problem with living in the now and with releasing the past (meditation, blank state and all that) is being a Reader. Reader, Writer, either—both. There it is in front of you, those dates, those times, those revolutions, those disappointments. Those misunderstandings. Those uglinesses and judgments (of self). And of course those flights when living inches off the ground, and equally the longing for them.
To say nothing of seeing again the raising of the flag of protest and reaching for the wine bottle. Or vodka when all of it is considered.
We found that if you don’t kneel to sacred cows you’ll be wiped out by them. We also found out the joke’s on us. That is, when it ends and you look around and no one’s there. There’s no one left standing as everyone grew up at the same time as they got older and then they became middle America.
Terrible is an adjective that has become so limited by its use in the negative when it should not be so. Think of a terrible love, think of a belief of terrible strength. Think Terrible Glory! No, it should not be limited to the anthem of negativity. The same with awful—as in an Awful Beauty.
The saddest thing about growing up is losing the dragons and angels and goldfish and secondary teeth without pay.
Certain expressions are so lovely that it’s a pleasure to work them in. To put a fine point on it we could say somethings are worth repeating even though we could become a walking cliche of ourselves in the process.
I personally wish people would stop saying they will give me a free gift for something. Number one and most egregious, that’s redundant. A gift is free by its very nature. Number two, we all know (or should) that it’s not free. The price is built into the cost of the item.
Those giants of passion, of terrible knowledge or ability, so caught in the web of their visions, never stop. Never quit. Never say “my work is over.” Einstein was working out an equation on his deathbed, and so died. Schiele was making a drawing of his wife Edith Schiele on the day she died, October 28, 1918. He passed away three days later.
But isn’t it also glorious that there are those whose work is finished when it is finished? That there are those whose work in factories builds our cars, as well the butchers who carve our meat, the drivers who bring the buses through our streets—all of value. All of need. All of it to be mastered and answered the same: to what purpose am I?
I don’t believe in lists yet I read them. They are so artificial and usually quite disappointing. Number one is never quite number one, is it? Summaries are usually quite ho-hum, and wishes can be ever so trite. So here, at the end of the year we’ve just spent spraining our ankles or getting cancer or buying new cars or crashing old ones or cheering on our winning teams (go Packers!) or breaking records or being ridiculously healthy, here, let’s ramble away at what the thoughts bring forth. In no order what-so-ever, nothing of import or destination, just round-about the mind, inside and out. And even this, this end-of-year? Such an dreary artifact of man’s lack of imagination. Bi-peds March On! (with Hall of the Mountain King playing in the background)
It puzzles me how little we remember our own histories, those of our families, our selves, and those of our country. Not long ago, when we practiced medicine on the poor, the indigent, the “feeble minded,” absolute horrors were perpetrated. At teaching hospitals as practice for medical residents, sterilizations were performed on the handicapped—constitutionally legal—as they were unfit to continue “their kind.” This was in the 1920s-30s, in the U.S. In the South it was such a widespread practice that it had a euphemism: a “Mississippi appendectomy.”
We seem to think that things unseen are not occurring. Has not the racism and white supremacy which has resurfaced awakened us to the facts of our inhumane behavior as a species?
Perhaps we need to be aware of what we contain within ourselves before we seek to submerge and stifle our festered ugliness.
I don’t believe we can overcome Trump and what he represents until we understand, understand, that we elected him.
Is there such a thing as a governing philosophy that can be enacted to represent the Will of the People? It doesn’t appear as if there is one in the world today that works. Is there an answer in any?: Socialism, Humanism, Democracy, Republic, Communism, Marxism. Any?
Of course then we return to, what do we mean by “works”? What is that? Something that represents the majority of a people? Something that creates and enforces laws that “make things work.” What then about the subjugation of women, blacks, coloreds, jews, gays, children, handicaps, et.al.?
Are there answers? Certainly not from my mind. Do we not need to create a whole new government? Who could do such a thing? It might be possible, it just might be. Who then can stand on such a mountain top? What group of people?
I am so eternally thankful to the Church and Religion for giving us such great music as came from those true believers who sought to honor God through their creations. Think Bach! Think Beethoven! Mozart! Would they have created as much, as beautiful, as they did without such belief? We can never know.
I don’t believe in goals. Goals corrupt, drive guilt, cause obsessions. Zen saying: Do without doing and all gets done. A challenging state of mind to achieve.
Oftentimes when ordering something from the internet or selecting an item, it would be so much easier through elimination. For example, I don’t want anything in purple or black, so don’t show me those colors. I don’t know of the other colors which I’d choose, so show me the rest available.
My mother loved ladies’ fans but never said so. She had a small collection of equally small fans, some prettier than others, but nothing to exclaim about. They would lie on an end-table here or there. I think it’s sad that no one ever bought her a large, hand-held, beautiful and artistic fan. In the world I grew up within, that was not the sort of thing that was noticed, that was done.
We didn’t talk about things much in any case, certainly not feelings.
SNOW! Yes. Maybe. Please oh please let it snow so that we can settle all snug and warm in our places and watch the blessing. With lights. Lots of little white lights all over, draped and pleasing to the eye.
David Foster Wallace used to stock up on PopTarts and live on them when deep in the throes of writing. Some folk are aghast at such unhealthy approaches to the basic building blocks of bi-ped health. Huh, I say. And piffle. For heaven’s sakes, when in such zones of creativity one wants to eat quickly and necessarily without much ado. Easy. Quick. This is why there are such things as junk foods and sweets.
I just stocked up on PopTarts.
I think I may have worn myself out on anti-Catholic tirades and reflections on childhood. It’s reached the point of so-what. The institution itself is corrupt and evil. It’s just too bad there are good people entrapped within those walls and more to the point, that the institution itself is honored and respected amongst governments and other high-level organizations.
How is it we have come to honor religions and religious institutions anyway? In doing so we protect and affirm. We make valid the most debasing sins of greedy and morally-ugly men and women.
We do a terrible injustice to the animals we capture and investigate, even when we are kind to them. Especially the most intelligent among them. Consider the octopus. How can we keep them in aquariums when they had an ocean to roam? When they appear to think, at least to learn? When they want our company (when they are captive) and don’t want us to leave? What is this loneliness we leave them to? How can we run experiments on them? How dare we! What giant shits we are.
At what price knowledge? Learning?
I shall not say how many books I read in 2019.
What ever happened to shall? shan’t? Are they used anymore?
When “whom” is used in conversation it is often used incorrectly. And enunciated very clearly, with emphasis.
This is another Egon Schiele painting which I just discovered. It struck me as different from his usual so that I didn’t recognize who it was until I saw the credit. Then it’s “of course, of course.” And yet different, yes?
Egon Schiele—Seated women with bent knee, 1917. (Although Egon was an apprentice of Gustav Klimt he took a different approach with his art; he was quite controversial at his time for his nudes.)
In April 1912 he had been arrested for seducing a young girl below the age of consent. When the police came to his studio to place him under arrest, they seized more than a hundred drawings which they considered pornographic. Schiele was imprisoned while awaiting his trial. When his case was brought before a judge, the charges of seduction and abduction were dropped, but the artist was found guilty of exhibiting erotic drawings in a place accessible to children. In court, the judge burned one of the offending drawings over a candle flame. The twenty-one days he had already spent in custody were taken into account, and he was sentenced to a further three days’ imprisonment. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egon_Schiele Controversial doesn’t seem to quite cover it, does it?
Schiele is now obtaining a renewed appreciation. Egon was always venerated by connoisseurs who valued the line, placement, form, and the shear edginess of his artistic expression. Today he is gathering a much wider appeal. In fact, he is discussed by an art critic in a current Sundance series on T.V.
And as a sidenote, nudes in the artworld and public world have always been at odds it seems. I wonder, might it be interesting to know how many artists have not done nudes? Excluding of course, those practicing the landscape, floral, and the like expressions of art.