Thursday, 9 March 2017 22:16
songofcopper: (pensées mauves)
True and no word of a lie: this evening I enjoyed the novel experience of cleaning quince jelly out of a suitcase.

It’s satisfying when life hands you unsolicited surrealism.


A Sketch in Mauve*

Whom will you let me be?

What shape shall thine eye impose upon my form?

Shall I be mocked unless I lie?

The questions insisted on by cowardice! How loud they are. How rudely they trample the delicate truths that mass up softly in private.

Who are you, really? Is ‘the real you’ the one that zombies on calmly, making no fuss? The mild, the boring, present-absent you who is paid by the hour? Or is ‘the real you’ the inward voice, furtively enjoyed and treasured - silk-underwear-of-the-soul?

Delicate truths mass up softly indeed, and they hide thorns. Reach deep into snow, retreat bleeding, bewildered.

Snow falls regardless. The heart’s gauche, and lights up when it ‘shouldn’t’.

How can I not offend you today? I have asked and asked that question, and it remains unanswerable. This is the tax on shyness, the crick of sensitivity.

Could I but ask, How may I astound you? How might I trespass? Oh, could I but ask, and not mind the answer!

Let me then ask, How shall you surprise me?

Expecting the unexpected: this is the beginning of thankfulness.

The lesson of my life has been: Fate made me strange that I might be kind withal.

{*not news, and not without self-mockery }


I redid the shop board today:

chalkboard illustration of a planet, stars and alien spaceship - explore a galaxy of stories

chalkboard illustration of a clockface with extra hands, spirals and arrows - time travel is possible with books

Yes folks, no TARDIS required! :-)
songofcopper: (Cosmériffick)
This afternoon I’ve been doing a little art experiment. (I have no formal skill in this area, so any success - define the latter as you will - is largely down to serendipity or Divine intervention!!)


Recently I acquired some kyogi - these are wafer-thin sheets of pine wood, traditionally used in Japan for serving food.

Writing on kyogi )

Anyway, whimsical penmanship aside, seeing the wood grain pattern on the kyogi reminded me of those Edvard Munch woodblock prints called ‘Towards the Forest’ - obsessive iterations of the same image, produced and reproduced, the texture of the wood being called into service as part of the composition.

Brooding menace )

Recently, I’ve been enjoying discovering various artists who are new to me: they fall into several categories.

Archetypal Artists )

Aside from meeting these extraordinary artworks, I’ve also been finding much enjoyment in many of the things that have inspired them. Some of these are long-standing loves, some newer.

Gleeful Gloom, in painting, word and photograph )

All around, so many proofs of possibility: at some point, looking at other people’s genius-born meisterwerks ceases to be off-putting, because you know full well you can’t emulate or equal them. There is no tension then - you can’t feel intimidated by the foregone conclusion of your own lack of skill. Somehow it becomes possible to just have a go, without worrying about the outcome.


Crepuscular Encounter )

Now that I know this works, perhaps I’ll make other things - time will tell. Anyway - clearly I’m no kind of skilled artist, but it is inevitable that buoyed in the tidal wake of those blessed with great artistry there will always be happy accidental amateurs bobbing about. What can I say else but ‘come on in - the water’s lovely’.

Oxford Baggage

Thursday, 5 December 2013 17:31
songofcopper: (fred)
"Whither shall I wander?" ponders Cosmé, looking down upon the World (as per usual). "It's a straight toss-up twixt Oxford (Exeter College, I think - some accommodating swain will invite me in for tea, scones and wistful gazing) and Paris (that café where the torch-singer competes nightly with feuding Surrealists throwing food in fits of fury…). Nineteen-thirty-three, indeed."


Nineteen-Thirty-Three )
songofcopper: (neg)
Question: Must we automatically despise people for the wrongs they do? (You must, as always, supply your own value for 'wrongs'.)

On a related note, in referring to my own acts, I can no longer think of 'right' and 'wrong': only 'correct' and 'incorrect'. I find this makes useful contemplation much easier.

Further: people do like to say that if you're not supposed to do something, this makes it more attractive. But that is only true when there is some sort of circumscription - some proscription - for you to kick across. For example: no non-religious person is truly capable of blasphemy - and blasphemy, for a non-religious person, holds zero allure. Myself, I will not wear or use any religious symbol. I just will not. First, because they are not meaningful to me. Second, because offending against orthodoxy would itself be meaningless for me - it would be a completely pointless expression of... what? Poor manners? Thirdly, there can be no thrill in it. Nothing I could do with a crucifix could be anything other than... lame, and insincere.

I saw a young man in town today with 'Day of the Dead' iconography tattooed up his arms. Unwise of me perhaps to adjudge him un-Mexican in the extreme, based only on his appearance, but he did look terribly English, and those sugar skulls are excessively fashionable these days. I had to wonder whether he'd chosen the device for spiritual (anthropological?) reasons, or just because it looked nice. We have a phrase for that nowadays - 'cultural appropriation'. Fair enough. Personally I don't want to cluelessly ape the symbols of a culture I have not experienced. But then again, what cultural devices have I, that could be appropriated by others? It's disturbing to realise that you have nothing of the kind - no sacrilege is possible, no defilement.

No line there for another to cross, and no currency in crossing another's. Where, then, does desire originate? And how can I feel in the presence of another's trespass?

How very curious it is: with very few exceptions, the figures who interest me the most tend to be trespassers*. This, despite my own complete and utter harmlessness. I can even be somewhat clairvoyant here: being drawn to persons who appear fairly socially acceptable - admirable, even - at first scrutiny, but whose inner life is later revealed to plumb depths that would enrage, disgust or shock most nice folks. It should be pretty clear to you that I am not most nice folks. Well, I'm nice. But... I can condemn an act, but find it very hard indeed to condemn a whole human being.

Context-free, is what I often am. I have no home-context in which to situate my reckonings - no ground zero. In all things I'm a pair of scales that insists on balancing. The Devil's Advocate - or just on the fence? Except... there is no fence!

Often we 'go with the majority' rather than following Instinct. Context-free: at this point in the Lifelong Trek I don't find it helpful or comfortable to judge my actions based on how many people agree with me or would do the same as me - or how many would condemn me. Correct and incorrect are not to be arbitrated by others. Context-free.

Moral questions - ack. I must abstain from parsing them, being unequipped to do so. My only correct response to anything is to strive to be sincere and to be self-defined. I forget this occasionally, and want others' approval, forgetting that perhaps the onus is just as much on them to earn mine.


Today in the bookshop we were presented with a slim volume of verse (listen to me, 'a slim volume of verse'... stock phrases au-go-go!!) - translated from the Japanese, into German. I once passed a GCSE in German (I got a 'B') which enables me to pronounce it beautifully, whilst understanding something in the order of every ninth word. I stood there, making the correct mouth-noises, whilst my two friends - the one my Anglo-Saxonist colleague, the other our pop-culture-expert regular - tilted at translation, indulging in flights of lateral guesswork. If I do say so myself, it sounded very well, my recitation; but other than divining the poet's interest in cranes and cherry-blossom (to which the pen-and-ink illustrations conspired to clue us in), the meaning remained elusive. I rather prefer it that way, for once in my life.


Coda: I voted today, in the local elections; and the only honest (...honest!) choice was... the Green Party. I can't imagine they'll get in, despite my (...ha!) illustrious patronage. Once again I prove HARMLESS, and leave no mark behind me.


[*Post-scriptum: Case in point: I posted this on Facebook earlier:

"Did ya ever get the paranoid feeling that Salvador Dalí was following you...? I've been reading his novel, 'Hidden Faces' (no, no, his navel! His Magnificent Octopus! ...Baldrick must've been a surrealist!) and his 'Secret Life of Salvador Dalí'. The navel-octopus is pretty good; the 'Secret Life' (an autobiog - an autofiction?) is where it's at, though - it's just as you'd imagine it would be, only more coherent/clever/readable. Anyway, I turned up to the bookshop today to be confronted with the sight of Himself staring out from the cover of some exhibition catalogue, whilst beside it sat a general book on surrealism. Then some donations came in - a book about Ms. Gala's progress through the ranks (Eluard, Ernst, Dalí), and a huge book of colour reproductions of Dalí paintings. I suggest: The man loved notice so much he can still feel us looking at him! Even posthumously, he queues up to be admired, drawn to where the eyes are! May madness: mind your shadow, and don't leave your watch on the windowsill in the sun. :-)"

As Max Bialystock said, 'They find me... how do they find me?!' Well... sometimes, Clive, I find them.]

Salvador Volatile

Tuesday, 2 April 2013 15:06
songofcopper: (Dalí)
Today I finished reading Norman Douglas's 'South Wind', and I am very sorry indeed to say goodbye to it! It is definitely one of those stories I wish I could have written, and there are not too many of those. The place (the isle of Nepenthe, which is sort of Capri in disguise) and the people, too, will stay with me. Mr Keith, you can show me your cannas (the scented or the unscented ones) any time, you dear man. :-) (Mr Keith could not, I think, join the ranks of 'fictional characters the Emy could marry' - really there is only Professor Fen, or perhaps Charlie Mortdecai - but he goes straight to the top of the list marked 'Potential Wicked Uncles'.)

The natural sequel to this would be 'Vestal Fire' by Compton Mackenzie - published ten years later, treating on more expatriate adventures on that shore. I do very much want to read that, but not yet, I think. Here I will perhaps invoke a prandial metaphor - "time for a palate-cleanser, a sorbet" - but you know what, 'South Wind' is a sorbet, a dainty delicacy. Ah me, yes, 'herbaceous in character' (that phrase again - I seem to want to say it daily!).

Well, anyway, what I mean is, you can't follow a sorbet with more sorbet, so I'm thinking it is time for something carnivorous. Funeral Baked Meats - om nom nom! ;-) Now, it is hard for me to enjoy anything without finding it slightly ridiculous, and when someone manages to be floridly carnivorous they had better be ridiculous too, or really, what's the point? With the above in mind, I've plotted out a route straight into a Black Forest filled with Venus Flytraps. (Yeehaw, have at it, Dr Freud!!)

Libertines taking Liberties in Libraries )


songofcopper: (Default)

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This journal is not a private diary, it is more like an occasional, imaginary column. Therefore, much of it is on public display. However, if you want to read my occasional attempts at creative writing, my Caution Elf tells me I should only show that stuff to my friends. You know what to do. :-)

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