Posts Tagged ‘choices’


Let’s not tell Smiling Typewriter about this…..

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Actually, the music I’m hearing right now is from Trout Fishing in America:


“All roads lead to my house
Even those I’ve never known!
And when I turn out of my driveway
I’m just
Taking the scenic route home!”

The viburnum blossoms were shimmering along the mountain roadways as we headed back to Elsinore earlier this week. When I looked out into the garden today, yes, ours were blooming too:  the fragrant Korean one in the front yard, and the lace-cap hydrangea-like native in the shady area.  Near to that was the fringe tree, which has settled in nicely, and below both were mountain phlox.  I got a few sage and other ornamentals into the big planter retrieved from the old family homestead, and I’m trying not to think about the heavy metal gravesite gate my grandfather had retrieved from the family plot, set up on a hillside, and then, well, I don’t think we’re going to move it ever again, whether or not any of our folks remain on that mountain.  Maybe it will be a mystery for other people’s children and grandchildren to wonder about?  Why have an elaborate gate near a giant, useless radar dish?  What does the name on the gate mean?  Where where they from? How on earth did it get here?

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So there were five, and three immediately got homes when it came time for them to stop living under our back steps.  The two gingers are being fostered, and I am sure they will be fine, because the amount of adorable they generated was quite impressive, and hand-tamed kittens are typically easier placements than adult cats.  I’ll check with the rescue to find out how they fare.

In the meantime, though, here is our new kitty:

Oh, hai...  Can you make the grass move again, so I can kill it some more?

Oh, hai… Can you make the grass move again, so I can kill it some more?

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Years ago, a friend of mine was trying to make a casual reference to his wife, who he loved dearly, and I knew from the church fellowship we were all attending at the time. The phrase he was trying to avoid was “the little woman”, but then it was immediately clear that saying “the big woman” wouldn’t do either, and so what he ended up with was the awkward and funny [even to her] “woman of moderate size”….

So here, in a somewhat similarly awkward vein, is someone trying to decide if poetry is a lively art, a hobby, a craft, or, by a particular definition, a “minor art”: a craft whose audience is mostly other practitioners of that art…..

Poetry in the twenty-first century is like pottery, woodworking, or the making of carrot carnations. Sophisticated verse was never a major art, and having lost even a small non-practitioner audience, it has lost its status as a minor art. At hobbyist conventions, celebrated practitioners of a craft address an audience made up of other practitioners of the craft, who will then go home and work at the art themselves. Poetry has more residual cultural prestige than carrot carnation making and other hobbies, but that is only because most of the poet-hobbyists are professors with MFAs, while there are no professors of table-setting.From Poesey to Carrot Carnations

I suppose he is talking about “pottery” in the sense of the craft practiced in studio art programs, and “woodworking” in some sense that is similarly rarified — but if you walk around fine craft shows, there seem to be quite a few non-practitioners who come to admire, gawp, collect, and natter. The audiences for these items still do include outsiders: There are people who love a beautifully-sculpted chair arm whether or not they’ve ever picked out a spokeshave from the Veritas or Lie Nielsen. There are degree programs in interior design. There are blogs featuring elaborate tablescapes and business models based around floral sculptures made of fruits and vegetables.

The population of people who talk about politics may be larger [that’s Mr. Lind’s main audience and source of income], and it may be that these days you can get more notariety [or more dates] if you perform in that arena rather than in poetry. But I don’t think the system of political pundits talking about/at/with each other is any less insular [and potentially prone to omphaloskepsis] than specialized communities of discourse in other segments of life or art.  I remember my piano teacher, who traveled around the world on the basis of her skills, telling me once that she had started reading business magazines [Forbes, Fortune, etc.] to see if the world of finance was any less ‘silly’ than the music world….and she came to the conclusion that it wasn’t. If the inhabitants of humanities departments get more mileage [tenure, grants, etc.] by making pronouncements about pop culture than about poetry, that’s not just a “sense of cultural responsibility” owed to one genre over another — it’s just a human desire to be wherever the action is….

Until, with typical human perversity, it becomes more interesting/authentic/hip to be running off in some other, probably opposite, direction. I believe that’s what the Smart Set aims for in its articles most of the time, anyway: a provocatvie contrarianism that reifies the status quo of some earlier time.

And yes, that was a rubbish previous sentence.  Time to get some sleep!

Music: “She’s Actual Size, but She Seems a Lot Bigger to Me”, They Might Be Giants

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Let’s call things what they are.

Saving-spade---gardening2Let’s imagine how things could be….

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Kill your darlings, bury your hopes; trust that what comes next is better than what is now….

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Several years ago, a hunter killed a moose for food, then brought the skull and antler rack out of the woods to a carver. And then owls happened:

Please note: this image belongs to Shane, whom I do not know personally.  This is only here to direct you to his work!

short-eared-parliament-760.jpg_1Go here to see the development of the “Short-eared Parliament“sculpture.

It’s a long scroll backwards to the beginning of this project, but it’s worth looking through, both for the slow and steady progress and for the cataloguing of artistic choices as the project moves forward.

And OWLS, of course.  Yay, owls!

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It’s been exhausting watching the mantra of “stockholder value” gnaw the life out of companies and communities over the years. Profitable plants closed just to show that cost-cutting was “serious”, groups of experts and specialized equipment dismantled because quick returns are ‘easier’ if you just gut and devour a start-up every few months.  If the only goal is to make money for shareholders, does it matter what you do to enrich them?  Why bother with products, or employee care, or safety, or keeping your forecasts pegged to something that improves the lives of people other than the CEO, the lobbyists, and the Accounting Department? Centuries worth of intellectual and cultural capital sacrificed for a botched civilization….bottom line.

I don’t know if this model will be better in the long run, but this crazy idea of making good products and having happy, loyal customers sounds like a valuable change….


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