Monday, May 25, 2015

Art, Artists, and Patrons Of..

I don't consider myself an artist...I write, I make my house pretty, I used to craft lovely pots on a wheel and burn them into something lasting. Now I craft tiny people, and the days that pass us by.

               "To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts."
                                                                    ~            ~Henry David Thoreau

True enough, but it doesn't make me an artist, not really. 

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I believe in art. I believe that "beauty will save the world," that it has saved the world, in fact, because Christ is Beauty, and Beauty is Christ. And so I believe that both art and the artists who create it are worthy of my support. 

Like all of us, I'm limited. Limited financially as I try to spend within our means to feed and clothe and nourish our family; limited spatially in that I have one room, 24 feet in diameter..about 75 feet totally of wall space, most of which is covered in tall dressers, bookcases, cupboards, and especially Icons.

Most importantly, though, I'm limited by my own judgment. I support artists. Co-creators of beauty. I determinedly pass over artistes - 'throwbacks to the disease of Shellyism' (in the words of Kathleen Norris ), or stagnating 'talents' who have never developed a voice of their own.  That last category which gives me pause though. I want to support them. I want to help them find a voice, a style, a medium that truly speaks for them. But I don't have the time or the money. I can't really be a 'patron of arts' so much as I can just be a tiny signpost on the path the artist has to walk. Saying softly - and I hope gently - "not this way.." or else "almost"; and most importantly, with Rilke, reminding them to:

“Keep growing quietly and seriously throughout your whole development; you cannot disturb it more rudely than by looking outward and expecting from outside replies to questions that only your inmost feeling in your most hushed hour can perhaps answer.” 

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With my small resources, I'll buy a beautiful, handcrafted bookshelf here, a vivid painting of trees against an October sky there, textured photographs and well-lettered altar cards..Art and crafts by those whose voice is strong, or growing well within them. I'll nourish them with words and actions, at the same time nourishing my own family with the beauty they've created.

Society needs artists, just as society needs prophets..and both are rare, shy creatures in our culture. It's a dangerous calling. It's dangerous to have any calling, "the ideology of our time is that we can live an uncalled life, one not referred to any purpose beyond one's self."(Walter Brueggeman)..and our society hopes that in encouraging such a life, everyone will be essentially the same, and the prophet, the artist, the 'necessary other' will recede into distant memory. But it is a calling, and not everyone who desires it is called.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Very Inspiring!

I'm most inspiring when quiet, I suppose...

My much-beloved Christie sent me an award! Thank you!

I have to talk about myself a bit now (7 things you may or may not know):

     1. Generally I dream in black and white..or grey..but with bursts of color - red or green - in one or two places only. And I never have nightmares anymore.

     2. My second child, Ilya Birch was born last month. Growing him has been part of my distraction from blogging. Like his sister, Ilya was born in the caul and in water. Unlike his sister, he was born in daylight, and took a surprising 8 hours to be born. Yarrow was there to greet him and they act as though they've know each other forever.

     3. I'm currently a redhead. Bright, bright red, with black tips..but soon I think I'll be a blond again. Or maybe not. My favorite hair color is black.

     4. My favorite everything color is black. Black is where I'm happiest, most comfortable, and someday, if I'm very, very lucky, I'll get a baby with black hair that stays black. 

     5. I think Joss Whedon is the Best Director Ever. I adore everything I've seen of his and I'm kind of an addict when it comes to Firefly..and Buffy. And his Much Ado About Nothing is pretty much the best movie adaptation of Shakespeare ever made. I love him almost as much as I love Rainer Maria Rilke..and that's saying a lot.

     6. If I could only read one book for the rest of my would be the Bible (as read aloud by my husband, who really captures the story-telling aspects). But if we discount the'd be Rilke's Book of Hours. I need that book to feel normal - but in a good way.

     7. I love reading self-help books I disagree with, or badly written fiction, or badly written self-help books I disagree with. Right now I'm reading 'Love & Respect: the love she desires, the respect he desperately needs". I can't help wondering why all the wives in the book sound like monsters and why the husbands can't just 'desire' respect, why they have to 'desperately need' it, which sounds so...pathetic. I also wonder why the wives don't want to be respected, just loved..I don't think these books are written for me at all.

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And now I'm supposed to nominate others...but really, I'm best at talking about myself, not others, so I'll keep this short:

Jenna, dear, please! Your blog is inspiring because you're beautiful and honest and back again trying to write with too many commitments in life.

Loretta..I can't wait to see how your life grows back in the States. I miss seeing you, chica!

Little brother, you inspire me because you try and you dream and you hope. Keep seeking, you're a blessing to know.

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And now that I've begun again, maybe this will be the year for consistency. If you're reading this, you've been incredibly patient with me. Blessings on you and yours in this long-awaited spring!

The Book Club Returns...


It's been forever, hasn't it?

I got distracted by life, had a baby, and weathered our roughest winter yet in the yurt. We're getting back into things slowly, purging out the distractions, and focusing on the good. And Our little book club is good! It gets me thinking and writing, and conversing just a bit more than I otherwise would.

Jenna's post is here: Go check it out. She has some lovely thoughts, and you can catch up on her life as well (and in more detail).

Especially interesting to me, we get to talk a bit more about divination (something Rowling doesn't really seem to respect, though there are moments in the books..). Jenna can happily anticipate having fewer "curiously clarifying" dreams when I send her the sleep pillow I've almost made (bad timing keeps delaying it)..though my hope is that it brings restfully-prophetic dreams, not the terrifying ones! But mugwort it sometimes difficult to control. (Don't worry though, Jenna, it's been blessed!)

Trelawney is a delightful fraud for the most part though, and I think Dumbledore is depriving his students by keeping her as a teacher..a guest, or a 'resident reader' would be acceptable, but a teacher?! I'm reminded of too many from my own public education..

I'm also reminded of a woman I met at a bar, a friendly, modern-day worshipper of Diane who asked why I was afraid to use magic, then 'felt my energy' and wondered why I didn't feel afraid after all...we talked for hours, but she had no interest in God-magic that comes with limitations, and goddesses tend to bore me.

I wonder if part of the issue, in Harry's world as well as ours, is that (moral issues aside) most people who can read the future don't because, as Firenze mentions a few times, they can so easily be misread or mis-applied. Or because it's generally just plain intrusive.

With Rowling's other treatment of magic though, I tend to assume it's more that divination isn't objective enough. It can't be turned into an A+B=C formula, as most of her magic appears to be. But maybe that's part of her point, too...maybe Trelawney's merely a reminder that attempting to make a formula from a mystery is impossible and makes those that attempt it look ridiculous. Actually, I like that last assumption best. Let's go with that! 

I also wonder if, as Laura mentioned in the comments on Jenna's post, a plain-old slap is more insulting in the wizarding world because of it's 'lowly' connotations, that divination might be seen in a similar light among certain wizards because it's a gift not limited to wizards, and apparently not any more common among them than it is among non-magical folks? 

What do you think? 

And welcome back after all this time!