I came home about an hour ago. I reheated some of the chicken kabinett that I made for evening supper this past Sunday. It was meant for linguini, but I am having it now as a stew and it is still quite good (if I do say so myself). And now I have a bit of time in my evening to relate some of the things going on in my head for the past few days.
I've been reading the fifth edition of a book that Melvin Rader titled 'A Modern Book of Esthetics'. It is a compilation of articles written by several thinkers including Wilde, Véron, Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Freud, Dewey, Marx, and Santayana. The amazing thing is that what I've read so far hasn't changed my mind much regarding the visual arts. However, the morass that catches my ear and my reader's eye has come under closer scrutiny. In fact the other night I spent a good part of my commute just flipping through the frequencies trying to find something new to evaluate or else something familiar and trustworthy. I'm beginning to notice more and more the distinction between the inovator and the imitator. The latter is the one who takes the ideas of others and rehashes them to fit into the mold of what the other has already accomplished. However the inovator will work within a genre or medium to communicate something unique. For example the inovative poet can write within the framework of the sestina without blithely echoing every other poet that wrote for that form. The inovator can work within the limits of a genre or medium to communicate something truly unique and gripping. Maybe even convicting.
Viewing literature and art together through what I've read has also spotlighted how art and blogging are somewhat simmilar. We cannot fully define either. Is art only 'les beaux-arts' or does it include the doodle of a kindergartener? Is litereature only epic or can it also be something as common as a memo? Though we cannot fully define art most people are apt to describe it: a communication of the human psyche (its desires, emotions, conflicts, and/or hopes) through a chanel dependent on the artist. The most successful of art is that which communicates most clearly and directly the thought that the artist intended to transmit. This brings us to the next question: what did the artist want to say?
The best of art is not limited to landscapes of thatched cottages and pink streams. Art can communicate hate. It can compel the viewer to conjur memories of sadness or melancholy. It can well up thoughts of joy as well as body numbing terror. And so blogging, like art has the capacity for communicating a multitude of emotions or ideas — all of which can be considered good and appropriate. Trying to commnuicate all of these emotions with cottages and streams alone would not only prove impractical, but often inapropriate.
In a class I took my sophomore year at school I had to analyze the composition of a painting. My lack of decision making speed landed me what I thought to be a downer of a painting by José Antolíne called 'St. Michael the Archangel Overcoming Satan' in which a scary looking winged creature swinging a sword around tramples a grotesque gargoyl of a man to the ground while baby faces look on in morbid fascination. Disturbing? Very. And I had to stare at it for almost twenty hours over several weeks in order to finish the project. But the message of the painting is somewhat mixed. While the subject matter is pretty gruesome, the emotion of the piece is triumphant. Satan is overcome with much force by an angel. There is struggle and tension (even Michael's footing is precarious). But the viewer senses a degree of ecpathy because such a struggle with evil resonates with every human psyche.
And so in art as well as in every other form of communication there are appropriate times for sillyness as well as mourning. There are times for building up certain ideas or personalities as well as tearing down the misconceptions and evil forces of our past. There is a time and purpose for everything — including communications of every sort — under the sun. So if you've got something to say then say it, but say it well!
I don't intend for this to become a manifesto for blogging or for art; these are only some things that I've reconsidered on the last few days that describe these things which differ in definition from person to person. Today we know that blogging is big. It is varied (the other night I came across a blog set up by some spamming company on blogger for the purpose of accumulating spam comments!). And many of us are not sure how to classify or properly use this relatively new technology. But I think that it fits well with what Tolstoy said about art:
"The chief peculiarity of this feeling is that the recipient of a truly artistic impression is so united to the artist that he feels as if the work were his own and not some one else's—as if what it expresses were just what he had long been wishing to express. A real work of art destroys in the consciousness of the recipient the separation between himself and all whose minds recieve this work of art. In this freeing of our personality from its separation and isolation, in this uniting of it with others, lies the chief characteristic and the great attractive force of art."
-Leo Tolstoy, 'The Commuinication of Emotion'
Today (September 19th) is national Talk Like a Pirate Day. Prepare and act accordingly or y'all'll walk the plank! ARRR!
Ok, ok. I'm not obsessive (about many things) but you HAVE to go and get the red bean ice cream. I'll be all right now. They're closed.
Gwen and I ran out to the awards reception for the Upstate Visual Arts council (congrats to the Slatterys, Michelle Berg, and Kevin Isgett!). The show contained a surprising mix as far as quality goes, but there were a bunch of really great pieces!
It was after the art showing that we ran back to O-Cha's to get some of the ice cream. It is really good stuff. If you are in the area and you haven't visited Greenville's first tea bar then you simply must block out a couple hours of the evening and go. Bring four bucks and your friend/good book/laptop and have fun. Tell them 'Gwen sent me' and you'll probably get a pleasant chuckle from the management.
I've been to O-Cha's for breakfast and now I am here again after lunch to listen to the bag piper in the Coffee Street Square and watch Helios do his thing in the sky. It is another awesome end-of-the-summer day out here.
Go get yaself some bubble tea.
This is just blog psychology getting the better of me. I have a blog therefore I feel responsible to keep people reading. The behavioral reward of comments taunts me (since we all know that comments are the measure of a man).
I am in Port City Java right now with Dailey talking business and setting up jabber acounts. I can now 'chat' with friends in Korea for free and it is great. I am so thankful for caramel flavoured coffee!
So much has been going on with figuring out what to do with the business and how we're going to move out of G-Vegas as soon as possible. The work flow has been very consistent over the last month. I'm still a full-time ThreeKings designer (by the grace of God!).
I absolutely love my newest CD. I especially enjoy 'For the Love of God' because I got to hear the back story from the concert last fall at Presbyterian College. I think I really enjoy Andrew's work because it is very honest and personal; you know that he's drawing his inspiration from life as opposed to the editorial committee.
I'm hoping to go down to the gulf to help out with whatever need is greatest while I'm there. Dailey is putting together a team through Operation Renewed Hope. If you are interest in joining us then please email him through his contact address (through the link on his name above). I am amazed at the level of distruction that our country has sustained. I'm not quite sure how to communicate what I'm thinking or feeling so I will save that all for a later post.
I've been meditating on Romans 2:21-23 lately. I wonder whether any of us are capable of being teachers in our own depravity. But just within this hour I've seen God use broken vessels to hold gallons of mercy across 7,000 miles. I am so gratefful that God binds us with His grace and uses us in spite of our sins.
Be well, all!