Francis Terry reflects on sketching with his father, Quinlan ...
For me this is the point of sketching. It forces you to go slowly and see things which take time to notice. So my advice to the students of Notre Dame is to buy a hard backed sketch book with good paper and go to some old and obscure European town. You could choose the florid baroque of Southern Germany or perhaps the Moorish work of Andalucia and come home with your sketch books filled with work by unknown architects. Make sure you find time to track down the best restaurants and always remember to buy your ink on arrival.
Every society seems to use stories for the education of the heart. Each story is a store of ripened knowledge in the oldest barns of human culture. Myths, ripened in October, are the apples of the mind, carefully laid out to preserve their meanings. In the soft darkness of the strorehouses, close your ordinary eyes to the ordinary world and open your extraordinary eyes to the extraordinary world, best illuminated by the grandparent voice in the autumn years telling tales in the dark, the dark of the evening and the fertile dark of the mind. These, in potent story-warmth, the subconscious breathes in the texture, significance, and meaning of the story like quietness steeped in the smell of apples. Jay Griffiths, from Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape
I believe the earth exists, and in each minim mote of its dust the holy glow of thy candle. Thou unknown I know, thou spirit, giver, lover of making, of the wrought letter, wrought flower, iron, deed, dream. Dust of the earth, help thou my unbelief. Drift gray become gold, in the beam of vision. I believe with doubt. I doubt and interrupt my doubt with belief. Be, beloved, threatened world. Each minim mote. Not the poisonous luminescence forced out of its privacy, The sacred lock of its cell broken. No, the ordinary glow of common dust in ancient sunlight. Be, that I may believe. Amen. Denise Levertov
... makes being here worthwhile. Cultural Offering provides an excellent reminder from Sir Roger, as well as a piece of Mozart's that, for my money, is the most beautiful music ever written ... HERE. Thank you, Kurt.
We are citizens of a republic made of shared ideals forged in a new world to replace the tribal enmities that tormented the old one. Even in times of political turmoil such as these, we share that awesome heritage and the responsibility to embrace it. Whether we think each other right or wrong in our views on the issues of the day, we owe each other our respect, as long as our character merits respect, and as long as we share, for all our differences, for all the rancorous debates that enliven and sometimes demean our politics, a mutual devotion to the ideals our nation was conceived to uphold, that all are created equal, and liberty and equal justice are the natural rights of all. Those rights inhabit the human heart, and from there, though they may be assailed, they can never be wrenched. I want to urge Americans, for as long as I can, to remember that this shared devotion to human rights is our truest heritage and our most important loyalty.
While I have the gravest doubts about the durability of any of my writing, few can beat me at the graceful dance of knife, fork, and spoon across the plate or the capacity to make a pickle last as long as sandwich. Jim Harrison
In 1977, sculptor David Nash cleared an area of land near his home in Wales where he trained a circle of 22 ash trees to grow in a vortex-like shape for an artwork titled Ash Dome. Almost 40 years later, the trees still grow today. CONNECT
Writer Jim Harrison, 42, newly successful, and wintering in Palm Beach, still was quite ready for a sudden return to the honky-tonk of Key West. He was looking for the old bad flash . . . walking home drunk on certain dark new moon spring nights when the music mixes with the smell of flowers and garbage and you get the feeling that the very next second might be the most important of your life. The lesson he'd learned over 12 years of fishing and carousing there was that the shrimper with the knife on Caroline Street and the mystery lady with the loose dark hair turning north off Southard can either kill you or cure you. Neither one will just pass by.
Harrison, whose new collection of novellas, "Legends of the Fall," has been hailed as work that might save traditional American outdoor toughness from the Hemingway blight of sentimentality, made the trip down in a Porsche Turbo 928. At the wheel was another Key West alumnus, Jimmy Buffett, the singer who turned the island into Margaritaville and then moved to Aspen. The Rolling Stones were on the tape deck and between them was plenty of drink and appetizers. They were telling stories about the old days and averaging 80 miles an hour on the Florida Turnpike. Word of their coming was out around the Chart Room and the Full Moon Saloon and the old friends were gathering.
These included Dink Bruce, son of Toby Bruce -- Hemingway's caretaker, factotum and drinking buddy from the '30s -- crusty old charterboat captain Bob Hall, who's in charge of Harrison's new $20,000 sportfisherman Revenge (named after the most violent of the novellas, which paid for it), an interchangeable flock of slinky dark barmaids, a knifemaker from northern Michigan where Harrison owns a small farm, various journalists, editors and publishers eager to make contact with this pair of living legends.
Nobody was disappointed. By 1 a.m., Harrison and Buffett, man and minstrel, were buying drinks fro everyone at two big tables in the Full Moon Saloon. The Porsche was sitting outside cooling off, but they were picking up speed. You understand that the Full Moon Saloon is the plastic unassuming roadhouse kind of place that tourists and the New York set now taking over Key West can't stand. If one walked in now, he'd se a raucous cluster of riffraff presided over by a short, powerful gat-toothed man with a Pancho Villa mustache, wandering walleye, and Apache chief facial structure. pThe tourist would do a quick U-turn, pretending to have forgotten something, never knowing how close he'd come to rubbing shoulders with a man that even the staid London Sunday Times allows has "immortality in him." And he probably wouldn't care . . . because Harrison's particular immoral qualities can be as violent, romantic and beyond the constraints of 9-to-5 civilization as a wicked two-day binge.
Jim Harrison sat there spinning tales at the Full Moon, unconnected stories joined together by a run of beer bottles and long-lost buddies: The time he caught a striped marlin on a fly rod in the Humboldt Current off Peru; why he loves hyenas and hates Erica Jong; the time his partner in Key West marginalia, novelist Tom McGuane, got hold of a Dupont Blaster's Manual and developed an exploding softball; the agony (including projectile vomiting and two days in a hot bath) of getting truly groined; and, he claims, the night he watched Bruce Jay Friedman throw Norman Mailer over a taxicab outside Elaine's. He and Buffett have interlocking riffs, like jazz musicians, looking at one another to signal takeover. Key West Sonata. On past closing time, into other locales, past sunrise, and Harrison found himself out in the street with a little bit of what he'd come for ...
Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration's shove or society's kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It's all about paying attention. It's all about taking in as much of what's out there as you can, and not letting the excuses and the dreariness of some of the obligations you'll soon be incurring narrow your lives. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.
Alfred Brendel, one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century, is also a great writer. You can often detect a good-natured smirk behind his words, but right there with it is a genuinely humane seriousness. His writing, always engaging, strikes a balance between solemn reflection and undeniable wit. A perfect example of this balance can be found in his 1985 essay “A Mozart Player Gives Himself Advice,” in which Brendel urges the reader to reject the idea of Mozart as sugar sweet and precious. He writes that “the cute Mozart, the perfumed Mozart, the permanently ecstatic Mozart, the ‘touch-me-not’ Mozart, the sentimentally bloated Mozart must all be avoided.” Brendel doesn’t dawdle in getting to the point, and when he does, the point is sharp. Now retired from the concert stage, Brendel, 87, has written extensively throughout his life on his approach to interpretation and performance for publications such as The New York Review of Books and The Musical Times. He’s also published many books on music, most notably Musical Thoughts and Afterthoughts and Music Sounded Out. The essays and lectures of each of those books (plus several previously uncollected works) are gathered in Music, Sense, and Nonsense: Collected Essays and Lectures, now being released in paperback.
"The strength of a man’s virtue should not be measured by his special exertions but by his habitual acts.” Blaise Pascal
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"Barring love I'll take my life in large doses alone--rivers, forests, fish, grouse, mountains. Dogs."
TAO TE CHING, Lao Tzu
The Lone Boat, North Woods Club, Adirondacks, 1892
"There are those who love to get dirty and fix things. They drink coffee at dawn, beer after work. And those who stay clean, just appreciate things. At breakfast they have milk and juice at night. There are those who do both, they drink tea.”
"Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one's own understanding without another's guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one's own mind without another's guidance. Dare to know! Sapere aude. 'Have the courage to use your own understanding,' is therefore the motto of the enlightenment."
"Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every conceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing."
"Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained."
"Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours."
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
"You see George, you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?"
Spitzweg, The Bookworm, 1850
"Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.” Fernando Pessoa
"Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes)."
"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. But this business, alas, is fatal to the placid moods and fine other-worldliness of the poet."
"I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea."
"We all come from our own little planets. That's why we're all different. That's what makes life interesting."
"We're just dancing in the rain ..."
"If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you."
"It is hard to go on living without some hope of encountering the extraordinary."
I'm reading ...
Unlikely General: "Mad" Anthony Wayne and the Battle for America
"I have stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; Garlands from window to window; Golden chains from star to star ... And I dance."
"When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”