Saturday, October 19, 2013

thoughts at the end of fire season

Epitaph: still looking.

            He didn't want a career, he wanted a life.

   How can you find yourself if you aren't lost?

                             The opposite of every truth is another truth.

She was a pop tart. 

         I hope I've written enough in favor of what I don't believe.

                          Can you remember what remembering was like?

I don't mind repeating what I've never heard.

            One wave makes an ocean.

                         After it fell, the stone didn't love the ground so much.

   He liked the fact he'd created God in his own image.

                                        Too much remembering leaves out a lot.

           If your language is new, you'll have to teach it.

                             Basically, I'm not into drawing attention to myself, except when I'm absent.

                                Don't be distracted by 'reasons.'

             She's more fun than money.

                                          He wanted something new, but could only think in terms of the old.

                                 Only a plagiarist knows a good thing when he sees it.

      If only space weren't so crowded.

                 He was a solution looking for a problem.

                               By mixing categories he came up with a grey area.

  Being patient and being passive aren't the same thing.

            He'd better lose, or he'll be a different man tomorrow!

summer singles 2013:

Friday, October 18, 2013

how did i become a couch-potato?

i swear to heaven i didn't plan it, and i'm embarassed by it, even as i pack up to move again. yes, we did move thirty times by the time i was out of high school. and ending my 50th lookout season  means i've moved a hundred times, just on that account. i'm sure i've moved at least two hundred times, if not more. so what's the beef?

my last real trip: amsterdam and paris, spring, 2001. then 911. and soon after my travel partner berta gardner died.  also i stopped writing and took up the outrageously expensive task of photography. ah, all that precious and useless equipment rotting in my storage space! as they say, after the show's over all you've got is the pictures.

and now i picture myself fat and old, sipping a cold beer and watching old movies on television. no, it's not that bad, yet. i have been watching films of people who accomplished something in the world. for example, just finished one on edward curtis, the famed photographer of american indians. of course, he's criticized for staging scenes, yet outside his twenty volumes of portraits he took a lot of street-type, informal, and delightfully natural photos i'd never seen before tonight.

and i watched THE DESERT OF FORBIDDEN ART, about the russian collector who set up a museum of state-repressed art during the soviet period. wheeling and dealing with personal contacts to collect 44,000 pieces of art, which he put in a building out the sands of Uzbekistan. hopefully this film will allow them to be preserved somewhere, when locusts come. a very heartening story.

okay, let's see, i've kept travelling on my couch. THE STORY OF WALLY, a painting by egon schiele stolen by a nazi and how the family finally received it's due, fifty years later. lots of scenes in old vienna. alas, it tarnished my view of the town where i'd had good experiences in the past. and i shuddered through HAND HELD, the story of a photographer who discovers children in thousands of steel cribs, after the fall of the Romanian dictator, deprived of every bit of loving care. the photographer's drawn into setting up a foundation to help and twenty years later we see healthy kids in a local olympic games.

now, have i justified myself? these stories took me all over the world. and all summer i kept debating: should i go on the road again? have i really become a creepy stay-at-home? i have to answer yes. when it came right down to it, i realized one night i wanted to sit at a desk, write, read, fool around with photos on the computer, and generally preserve my concentration. immediately, i began searching for a new place and thankfully found a cottage right in the middle of a student ghetto. i've changed my life without leaving town. yes, very embarrassing, but let me quote franz kafka:  

           You do not need to leave your room.Remain sitting at your table
         and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quite still and solitary.
         The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no 
         choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

posted single shots from the summer:

Hand Held:

Portrait of Wally:

The Desert of Forbidden Art:

Coming to Light: the Edward S. Curtis Story:


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

altruism versus the common good

well, here i am again, wondering how i can save the world before i shuffle off it. my friend jim feels it's a hopeless cause. digging our own graves, imitating the dinosaurs, ultimately unable to deal with the very climate changes we've caused.

in the immense what am i to do? i think, if i can make someone's life better, that's enough. i send money to my sister, expose people to museums, ancient artifacts, faces in the clouds. ultimately, i feel it all depends on imagination. is that what i'm best at?

of course, i'd like to be woody allen. last night i watched his latest 'jasmine' and i came home disappointed. i wanted the heroine to be saved, changed, uplifted. alas, she ends up on a park bench in san francisco, talking to herself, mulling over everything that's gone wrong: her husband's affairs and suicide.

the best scene in the movie probably where she's telling her two young boys what cracked her up. they sit wild-eyed with amazement. here the older generation certainly passing along a lesson, even as she says, 'remember, wealth brings responsibility', insisting they devoted a lot of the money they stole to charity.

and this morning i have to admit, there's a moral to the story. she insists all the way through she didn't know about her husband's double-dealings. actually, she looked the other way, for in the end in fit of jealousy, she turns him into the FBI. when she finds her estranged son, he says 'i know all about that phone call.' ultimately, that call caused his father's death by hanging.

earlier she tells her sister and friends, 'hanging doesn't choke you, it snaps your neck.' kate blanchett reiterates this statement two or three times, making it grim to contemplate. here, without question, is a haunted women who basically deserves what she gets.

what has this to do with me? i keep thinking, 'i should help orphans.' yes, my sister was an orphan so i'm helping one, but is that enough? i keep thinking of the wonderful photographer Tina Modotti who gave up her art to abscond to russia from mexico in order to promote a cause. it led to her sad ending, and her photographs have done more than all the speeches and washing dishes.

here i am in the middle of change, about to come down off the mountain like zarathustra. what am i to do now? he eventually ran back up that slope as quick as he could. nietzsche or woody allen or changing diapers. it's a tough choice.