Sunday, November 16, 2008

"The clean granite of reality"

I have always deeply admired artists and the courage it takes to live your passion and share it with the world. That's why I posted on the topic of "'Wearable' paper art" recently. I so longed in my younger years to be able to express myself through a visual medium. I've always been drawn to photography; my grandmother (born in the late 1800s) was a photographer. She called it a hobby. But I know if she had lived in a different time (if women had allowed themselves such pursuits), she would have rivaled Ansel Adams.

Ansel's one of my favorites. He was gifted visually, verbally and musically. If we are lucky, we are good at one, maybe two. But Ansel was GREAT at all three. His picture "Moon over Half Dome" in Yosemite was among a myriad of others he had taken of Half Dome over the course of many months, across seasons and weather. It was a difficult location to get to, the hike was long and steep; it's hard from the photograph to get a sense of the scale, but that rock feature is enormous. It stands nearly 1 mile above the valley floor. Something about the rock possessed him. He struggled to get the image 'right.' He wrote (c 1937) what the experience of photographing the stone had given him:

" A strange thing happened to me today. I saw a big thundercloud move down over Half Dome, and it was so clear and so brilliant that it made me see many of the things that were drifting around inside of me; things that relate to those who are loved and those who are real friends.

For the first time, I know what love is; what friends are.

Love is a seeking for a way of life; the way that cannot be followed alone; the resonance of spiritual and physical things. Children are not only flesh and blood-- children may be ideas, thoughts, emotions. The person of the one who is loved is a form composed of a myriad mirrors reflecting and illuminating the powers and thoughts and emotions that are within you, and flashing another kind of light from within. No words or deeds may encompass it.

Friendship is another form of love-- more passive perhaps, but full of the transmitting and acceptances of things like thunderclouds and grass and the clean granite of reality.

Art is both love and friendship. It is not charity, which is the giving of things. It is more than kindness, which is the giving of self. It is both the taking and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light the inner folds of the awareness of spirit. It is a recreation on another plane of the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and men, and all of the interrelations of these."

I am grateful for this infinitesimal spot I have staked out here on the web, which as a virtual place has nothing solid about it (no granite here). I have boxes of stories, poems, the start of three novels, and now, on my laptop, I have three screenplays. I doubt if anyone but me shall ever read them. The same mish-mosh is true of this blog. It's a pretty good snapshot of the million things on my mind that make no sense, have no pattern. I try to make sense by writing it down (sorry if I've lost you).

Words are so personal and words surround us constantly in our daily lives. Talking to someone face-to-face is one thing. On the phone, visual cues are missing, but we can still hear someone's tone and inflection. Writing on a computer screen and reading what someone else has written on a computer screen (or on a printed page) is bereft of all external cues. All that is present are the words. The audience is always a 'fiction' according to Walter Ong. In the case of a blog, (or any online text) so is the author.

Thanks to all who visit and post here. It's strange to think that my fingers touch a keyboard to create symbols and words for the thoughts in my mind and with the push of a button, there they go (all boiled down to a series of ones and zeros; after all, what is 'real' anyway?) out for anyone to happen upon. But the words you are reading right now are no longer just my words, they belong to you, too.

Happy Sunday all.


Don Smith November 17, 2008 at 12:52 PM  

Oh so not fair! Outta gas, no cash, and I can not go there! Oh so not fair.


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