Saturday, February 19, 2011

My dearest Branwell, missing you very much, wish I could kidnap you and erase that pillar - it's painted over you, you're hidden behind it - so that I could see your beautiful shining face and hear your voice. My list of demands? Words and kisses, yours and yours. And I'll give kisses in return.

Such a fierce wind since yesterday evening, all day long and now too. The porch chimes violently clang and do a wild tarantelle. Things are cozy up in the aerie and I'm feeling on top of things. I did a big food shopping and there were various marked down items, such as chicken drumsticks and kirby cucumbers. So I made a big pan of chicken paprikash, and after it was all stewed I took the meat off the bone so that the sauce - onion, paprika, stock, carrot, yogurt - is easier to eat once it's spooned onto noodles, which I've already cooked. And I made - of all things - pickles, slicing the cucumbers, salting and letting them sit for a couple of hours, rinsing and draining them, and pouring a boiled vinegar & water concoction with garlic cloves and dill seed over the top. They're in the fridge now, and will take a couple of days to taste like pickles, but it's a great easy recipe - the chips once ready are crisp, flavorful, and delicious. Plus I baked cookies (chocolate chip) and made a big pot of penne pasta with a turkey sausage, tomato, and broccoli-rabe sauce to pack for lunches, D's and - for tomorrow - mine too. I'm planning to drive to Williamstown to the art museum there, to catch an exhibit on Dürer before it ends in March, plus whatever other exhibits are going on there. I've been feeling a little intellectually starved, and I feel that my blogging may be suffering for it, a bit (ah, but always the kisses, there, everything's okay). I am reading, still, a fascinating study of the painter Pierre Bonnard, but I don't have much to say about it at the moment, just that I had never thought about painting from the creative-process standpoint - he viewed sketching as intuitive, and the color added later as more a function of reason. Which apparently was contrary to the "formal school." But I get it. Blogging, or writing for me is like that - just try to set it down as quickly as possible first, without sweating it too much. Then go back over it, edit, add shadings as, or if, they occur to me. I'm enjoying the study, it's very well-written and astute, and Bonnard and his circle and his world - well, he comes off as a man, a human being with a drive to create in the way he did - in other words, he isn't deified and mythologized and Made To Be an Untouchable Genius. No - he's a man of his time, of his world, of his place, with that special gift to be able to set it down, in the way he did. These days ("these days" being my wise middle age) I greatly appreciate demystifications of artists, such as with so much that I have learned from various sources over the last couple of years of Emily Dickinson, who has become for me (perhaps for you too) a vibrant, complex, multi-faceted personage - not an untouchable weird muse, on the contrary - very, very human.

It is very freeing to simply think of one's self as alive on this planet at this moment in time, and see - best as one can, according to one's abilities - to make the most of it, to perhaps record it, to perhaps capture a fleeting instant. The here and now are important.

It's funny when I was in T'town the wife and I talked in the van while she drove me to the train station for my return home. And I did like her, she strikes me as quite conflicted herself. And she expressed horror about today's "culture," insalubrious influences on her children, and the impulse is to try to cut it all off - but one can't, and one shouldn't. I don't think I succeeded but I tried to tell her that there's more to Today's Culture than is on Clear Channel. I told her (as we stood on the windswept concrete station platform anxiously regarding LED signs about train arrivals) that I am very glad now - now, in my, not exactly dotage, but you know what I mean - to have an appreciation for the Rolling Stones, and Neil Young, and - well, I could go on and on with a list. And she looked a little shocked that I was naming these groups and artists.

So one wants to protect one's children from "bad" influences - but - I don't know - don't throw out the baby with the bathwater? Because there are so many important voices, musical and other these days, creating, emoting, expressing - just of this very moment. I personally - for myself that is - don't believe that it's a good thing to cut one's self off from the ever-evolving flow of creation of art, as the march of time on this planet goes forth.

Which is why I also verily believe that surely, in a suburban Catholic parish, something way more dynamic, passionate, life and God-affirming than an almost unbelievably stale "folk" mass - those horrible musicless intonations - needs to happen. Where is the J.S. Bach of T'town? My God, I was standing right next to the girls' choir, and all I could hear was the guitar wielding nun belting her way through utterly uninspiring lyrics. The choir Was Not Into It.

God Intended for Creativity. I am quite sure of it. Otherwise he wouldn't have bestowed these gifts.


Darling, where was I?

And always more kisses for you, my dearest Branwell.

XOXO your Emily

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