these are the timesdirty beloved


Right after Stephen King got that tempest in a teapot rolling I needed something to read and there was nothing new in the house but Ken Follett John Grisham and Clive Cussler. So I did pretty much what he was saying to do, I read some best-selling 'non-serious' literary authors. But that's for later. What I did last week was read in spurts and back and forth Kathryn Davis' The Girl Who Trod On A Loaf, and Robertson Davies' The Lyre of Orpheus. Both of whom are serious literary authors.
Both books are about an opera, in production by amateurs. Both books have a primary character of northern european extraction and sapphic proclivities. Both books have an intelligent everyman narrator, though Davies' alternates between first and third person and Davis' stays in the first. Both books are widely, complexly set and driven; and the plotlines of both are tapestries of philosphy and metaphysical speculation. I read often in snatches late at night these days, picking up a likely volume and reading til my eyes close. One night Davis, another Davies. Sometimes both in the same night. So of course I conflated them. Now I have to concentrate to separate them. Which means they're truly mixed deeper in where real art works its magic. And that would be the main distinction I'd make. Magic, competent or incompetent. Successful spells and fuddled attempts. Follett's Jackdaws concerns an heroic but little recognized branch of the French Resistance and its English allies, a hero of which was profiled here some time ago. He writes a gripping story. Grisham's a decent man, and that's not faint praise, decency is a rare enough virtue now, and he writes from a stance of decency, moral defense of the decent. I'm not going to pick at what it is in their work that's not enough or too much. But there it is. We're not talking about them as men, as human, we're talking about them as magi, as architects. The ranking isn't according to their worth personally, it's the value of their contribution to something higher than mere public appetite for entertainment.
There's room in the world for all of us, writers and readers and those who do neither, but the thing King didn't seem to want to address is the consuming attack on serious art the present complicitly allows; it's analogous to the assault on wilderness. Things are valued for their commercial potential and exploited or abandoned on those terms.
So the Academy's right to chastise the popular, at this point, not solely because it's popular, but because it creates the illusion, by producing millions of physical books, that there is a concomitant proliferation of actual literary art.
Magic is like technology. It works or it doesn't. The magic of great storytelling is not a consumer-determined choice. It is there or it is partially there or it is not there at all. Choice has nothing to do with it. Chocolate and vanilla has nothing to do with it.
The sun is out or the sun is not out, whether you're happy about that is another thing entirely.
The magic I'm talking about is not tricks and deception, it's the subtle outfitting of the inexperienced, giving knowledge without the gift being seen. Folk-tales, fairy tales, it's easy to disassemble some of the parts and see some of what's there. But the best literature is thrown out ahead of where we are as a whole, what we know about ourselves, as a species, as an organism, as the sum of our best, and worst, parts. What we are at this moment is inconceivably complex and vast, and the best literature does more than just reflect that, it equips us for the journey through.
Stephen King wants popular literature to be acknowledged by serious professional and accredited lettrists, but he wants it to be honored for something it hasn't done well or completely. It has not worked its magic.

from The Holy Piby:


In his parlor he shall see a rooster treading in the moon and the bees on the roses in Venus.

The laborers in Mars, strike-breakers on earth and my daughter in college in Jupiter.

Robert Athlyi Rogers

Robert Athlyi Rogers and Marcus Garvey

early Rastafarian Leaders

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Untitled (3)
Ilkka Halso
Galerie Anhava

link path gmtplus9


Bugs and Such
Jennifer Angus


"...a scourge with which Charles V is said to have scourged himself, a hat band of snake bones...."

The Tradescant Collection
The Ashmolean Museum
Oxford University

Stonehenge 1936
The Allen Air Photograph Archive
Reserve Collections
The Ashmolean Museum

Enki and Ninhursaja

Pure are the cities -- and you are the ones to whom they are allotted. Pure is Dilmun land. Pure is Sumer -- and you are the ones to whom it is allotted. Pure is Dilmun land. Pure is Dilmun land. Virginal is Dilmun land. Virginal is Dilmun land. Pristine is Dilmun land.

He laid her down all alone in Dilmun, and the place where Enki had lain down with his spouse, that place was still virginal, that place was still pristine. He laid her down all alone in Dilmun, and the place where Enki had lain down with Ninsikila, that place was virginal, that place was pristine.

In Dilmun the raven was not yet cawing, the partridge not cackling. The lion did not slay, the wolf was not carrying off lambs, the dog had not been taught to make kids curl up, the pig had not learned that grain was to be eaten.

When a widow has spread malt on the roof, the birds did not yet eat that malt up there. The pigeon then did not tuck the head under its wing.

No eye-diseases said there: "I am the eye disease." No headache said there: "I am the headache." No old woman belonging to it said there: "I am an old woman." No old man belonging to it said there: "I am an old man." No maiden in her unwashed state ...... in the city. No man dredging a river said there: "It is getting dark." No herald made the rounds in his border district.

No singer sang an elulam there. No wailings were wailed in the city's outskirts there.

Ninsikila said to her father Enki: "You have given a city. You have given a city. What does your giving avail me? You have given a city, Dilmun. You have given a city. What does your giving avail me?

The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature
The Oriental Institute
University of Oxford

"He read a lot. His income went up and down and was never reliable. His reputation went up and down and was also unreliable. He avoided the film industry entirely. Productions of his work caused him to despair, but he kept writing. He gave up heavy drinking early on and was mostly abstemious, disciplined; he exercised. He wrote his plays in longhand. He took his time. He followed the news; he was politically brave. He wrote of the self and also of the world. He wrote for the stage and also for publication. He was theatrical; he was dialectical. He cultivated a public image; a small crowd of remarkable people intersected with the largely antisocial playwright: Emma Goldman, John Reed, Robert Edmond Jones, Paul Robeson, George Jean Nathan, Sean O’Casey, Hart Crane..

Elephant Man - Nah Fuck No Pum Pum[jk]


"Watson did not start out to becomes a writer. He was a high-school actor who married the summer of his junior year in high school."

Brad Watson whose
The Heaven of Mercury
gets my vote for best title, is also up for most poetic marriage between young human and brief time period.

Whiskey River's Year End Clearance
All Quotes Half Off

Time and Space

...wax pears. And the astronauts are losing heart,
the heady lisp of auricle and ventricle
fading to a whisper, as muscles shrink to infants' hearts,
or the plum-shaped nubs of swans.
Atrophy, from time in space, even as the space in time
contracts. And how much safer it was —
ascension — at some earlier contraction...

Linda Bierds
Poetry Daily Dec.30.03


The reason why the RIAA comes off as a gang of ignorant thugs is because, well, how do I put this --
they are.

Music is a sacrament. This has been true for thousands of years of human history, save the last 100 or so. I'm sure it was not Edison's purpose to debase such an important aspect of our collective liturgy, but what would one expect when something that was once ephemeral and could only be experienced at the behest of other humans is reduced to a commodity on a shelf.

-Todd Rundgren Oct.22.03

Rundgren at home

maestro Thomas Mapfumo
He is expected to fire broadsides at President Mugabe and his regime through songs that were banned from the airwaves by Information minister Jonathan Moyo. Mapfumo is now based in the United States.
Mapfumo left the country for the US in 2001 after alleged harassment by state agents. Mapfumo is tipped to win the Zima Lifetime Achievement award for his consistent fight for democracy, justice and human rights since the days of the liberation struggle.

In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday, the veteran musician said the struggle for liberty was reaching a climax for Zimbabweans and he would play his role as an artist.

"I am still a musician who sings a message reflecting the lives of people," he said. "We must not be misled into believing that things are better or will miraculously change," said Mapfumo.

Itai Dzamara/AllAfrica Dec.19.03
link Rootster

"As the collages' narratives are inspired by real situations, the visual forms of the collages, though playful and childlike in appearance, are informed by a thorough understanding of figure and gesture. Though appealingly dream-like, the unique animation, poignancy, and realistic resonance of these works enables them to function as tools for imaginative learning and growth in the real world."

the paper moon
Ida Pearle makes good art

Slow Wave
Jesse Reklaw
Recorder of Dreams
Jesse Reklaw is a master of dialog
link achewood

expression is the need of my soul
i was once a vers libre bard
but i died and my soul went into the body of a cockroach
it has given me a new outlook upon life
i see things from the under side now....

Today in Literature

Le Roi de Coeur c'est mort
"...a very warm, considerate and self-effacing man who took his work very seriously. He was not interested in being a celebrity, he just cared about the art of acting - he was interested in quality."

" 'That that that is is that that is not is not that that that is not is not that that is is is not that so.' "
at Language Log



tiny grow


Kepler's Inaccurate Punch Bowl

If you are the problem, pack you bags.

..." Then he coughed and nothing else was said.
Thomas Barefoot #621
Last Statement
Executed Offenders
Texas USA

Andrice Arp

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